Israeli-Canadian Hockey Star Shares Dramatic Escape from Ukraine
Israeli-Canadian hockey player Eliezer Sherbatov detailed his harrowing experience fleeing Ukraine on Instagram and in an emotional interview with Canada’s The Sports Network.
Sherbatov, a longtime captain of Israel’s national hockey team, made headlines in 2020 when he joined a Polish team that plays in Oswiecim, or in English, Auschwitz, the town where the Auschwitz concentration camp is located. He has played for HC Mariupol in the Ukrainian Hockey League since last summer, and his team was staying in a hotel in Druzhkivka, Ukraine, when Russia’s invasion began Feb. 24.
Sherbatov spent the next five days traveling through Ukraine by train, ultimately reaching Lviv, where he connected with the Israeli consulate.
Sherbatov, who was born in Rehovot, Israel, joined a busload of refugees that crossed into Warsaw, Poland. The 30-year-old credits the Israeli consulate and volunteers with getting him out, calling them “amazing people, amazing organization.”
He was made de facto head of the bus, he told TSN.
“They got us on a bus with kids and elderly people,” he said. “They made me responsible
for that bus because nobody at the consulate was coming with us because they had to wait for others. They made me responsible for those 17 people and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, to be responsible for 17 people when it’s a matter of life and death.”
Sherbatov made it home to Montreal on March 1 — where his wife and two young children were waiting. He had not yet met his son, who was born while he was playing in Mariupol.
“When I got home to my family, it’s emotions. It’s crying,” he told the Canadian network. “I met my son for the first time, and I thought I would never see them. I thought I would never see my family.”
— Jacob Gurvis
Keira Knightley to Voice German-Jewish Painter Charlotte Salomon, Who Died in Auschwitz, for Animated Film
Keira Knightley is lending her voice to an animated film on the story of Charlotte Salomon, a German-Jewish painter who produced hundreds of works in hiding during World War II before being deported to Auschwitz.
“Charlotte,” set for release in theaters on April 22, follows Salomon from her early years growing up in Berlin, her aspirations to become a great artist and her escape to the south of France where she lived until her deportation and death.
While in hiding with her family, she painted approximately 800 works, which became an autobiographical series titled “Life? or Theater?: A Song-play.” Amsterdam’s Jewish Historical Museum showcased them all in a 2018 exhibition, which it has kept online in digital form. (The museum previously showed many of them in 1981 as well.)
The works were inspired by her own life, which was full of tragedy before the Holocaust — several family members had committed suicide. In hiding, her grandfather turned predatorial, and she poisoned him, admitting the deed in a 35-page letter.
“Only by doing something mad can I hope to stay sane,” says an animated Salomon, voiced by the two-time Academy Award nominee Knightley, in a released clip from the film.
Her paintings were saved by family members who survived the war.
The film also stars Academy Award winner Jim Broadbent, Academy Award nominee Brenda Blethyn, Sam Claflin, Eddie Marsan, the late Helen McCrory, Academy Award nominee Sophie Okonedo and Mark Strong.
— Caleb Guedes-Reed