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I fought against Nazis with the Soviets, now I flee Putin’s war’
BBC News Published on May 11, 2022
A man who once fought alongside the Soviet Army against the Nazis has said he has now fled his home in Ukraine to escape Russian troops. When Arkady Perchenko was 11 years old he fought alongside the Soviets, as part of the local resistance against the Nazis in World
War Two. But now at the age of 92, he was forced to leave his home in Ukraine to escape from Russian forces. From safety in Israel, Arkady has been talking to the BBC about his view of both wars

From video subtitles:
I heard that the shells were flying and immediately realised that this was a war. Even though they said it wouldn’t happen”.

At 92 years old, Arkady had to flee his home in Ukraine.

“Sirens wailed at night. And shells flew like this and like that, and so much burning… bombs. It was so scary”.

It’s the second time he’s had to run from war. As a young Jewish boy, he became separated from his family… while escaping from the Nazis in World War Two.

“They were shooting all the Jews. They were receiving bonuses for each one found. There was a cellar. I lived there for a month. The Germans went there twice, but did not find me.”

At the age of 11, he joined the local resistance…
“I had the same automatic weapon as everyone else. On my shoulders I had a bag with mines and grenades just in case. I participated with the grown-ups in these operations.”

He never imagined he would be running from the Russians, leaving eight decades of his life behind.

“I didn’t have time to take anything with me. I left in slippers. It was six in the morning. I closed the apartment, turned off the lights and that’s it.”

He’s safe now at his daughter’s house in Israel.

But he’s angry that Russia claims to be fighting Nazis again.

“Ukraine is a quiet and peaceful country. There are no fascists [t]here. It’s vice versa.”

For him, 9 May – when Russia marks its victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two
has always been a difficult day. This year, it’s a tragedy.

“The parade is always festive. How can it be done when everything is on fire and burning all around?”

And his message to the Russians….

“I have no words.