Nelya Kravtsova was born in Kiev, Ukraine in 1937. She was four years old when the Germans invaded the Soviet Union and occupied the city. With her father away at the front, Nelya’s mother, along with her uncle and his family chose to flee the city for an area of the country the Germans had not yet reached. The remainder of her extended family refused to leave.
Nelya and her mother lived in overcrowded conditions with inadequate access to food and sanitation.
In 1943, when Kiev was liberated Nelya’s mother learned that every member of her family who had stayed had been killed at Babi Yar.
In May 1945 Nelya and her mother returned to Kiev. There they found the city in ruins but rebuilt their lives. Nelya finished school, earned her degree, and married.
Nelya and her family left Ukraine when the Soviet Union collapsed and immigrated to the United States. “I’m an Optimist,” she says “I don’t know what depression is. I always hope.”Learn more about Nelya Kratsova