Holocaust survivor refugee stranded in Poland after fleeing Kharkiv

'The Jewish community has been moved' by the case, said president Marie van der Zyl


The Board of Deputies has criticised the “slow” pace of the UK’s refugee response as it highlighted the case of an elderly Holocaust survivor stranded in Poland amid visa delays. 

According to a report in the Telegraph, 90 year-old Kateryna Razumenko has family in the UK and is now living in a Jewish community centre outside the Polish capital, having fled Ukraine.

She reportedly does not own a passport and expects an update on whether her application can be processed in a week's time amid lengthy delays.  

Ms. Razumenko fled Kharkiv - Ukraine’s second-largest city after it came under heavy shelling - travelling with her daughter, Larysa, and their cat, Solomon, according to the newspaper. 

The JC understands the Home Office has escalated Ms Razumenko's case and is in touch with the family to support them in making a visa application.

In a letter to Home Secretary Priti Patel on Wednesday, Board of Deputies president Marie van der Zyl said, “The Jewish community has been moved in particular by a case of a 90-year-old Holocaust and Holodomor survivor, who is currently living in makeshift accommodation in Poland, but whose granddaughter in London is desperately trying to bring her over to ensure that she has the care and support she needs.”

The umbrella group has been in touch with the survivor’s family. 

Elsewhere, Ms van der Zyl also criticised the speed of the UK’s refugee response to the Russian crisis.  

“We strongly welcome the family sponsorship programme, the intention to establish a humanitarian sponsorship pathway and your leadership in this matter. 

“Unfortunately, the current process appears to be far too slow,” she wrote. 

The UK’s family visa scheme - which was expanded to include more Ukrainians following backlash - allows those fleeing the conflict to join family members settled in the UK. 

Another scheme, which has not yet come into effect, is set to enable individuals, charities, businesses and community groups to sponsor Ukrainians with no family ties to the UK.

In her letter, Ms Van der Zyl said, “This is a fast-moving situation and I am sure that both the Government and civil servants are working around the clock to ensure that the United Kingdom plays its role in accepting and supporting refugees.

“Nevertheless, there are inevitable delays in the process, leading to refugees being stranded and vulnerable to lack of shelter and malnutrition as well as the dangers of war.”

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