NEW YORK — Rabbi Avraham Wolf, the leader of one of Odessa’s two main Jewish communities, is preparing for a possible war on a communal scale. Rabbi Wolf has purchased enough sugar, macaroni and tin cans to maintain his community for an entire year, according to a New York Times report. Additionally, he has hired 20 Israeli security guards to prevent looting and disorder in the event of war.

The Rabbi has mapped all of the bomb shelter in the town and has enough buses to evacuate 3,000 people from the city which is situated on the Black Sea.

Rabbi Wolf says that “with G-d’s help there won’t be a war but we don’t have the right to be complacent.”

Most Ukrainians are not preparing for war despite the 190,000 Russian troops massed on their Eastern border. Yet many Jewish communities and in particular Odessa, where Jews suffered repeated pogroms at the beginning of the 20th century and were almost annihilated in the Holocaust, are making preparations for worst case scenarios.

Rabbi Rafael Kruskal, the director of the orphanages and Jewish schools in Odessa, told the times that “the Odessa community underwent great trauma.” Rabi Kruskal is also hiring Israeli guards to secure buses in the event of evacuation.

For many older Ukraine Jews the spectre of war reminds them of the only too familiar memory of Jews being murdered in mass graves in the Ukraine. Svetlana Liscizina, an 80-year-old member of the community says that “I try not to watch television because they show all of those bodies from Donetzk and everywhere and now they show how they are bombing the Ukraine, I try to quell my inner fears.” Liscizina is concerned that her family will be torn apart as occurred in World War 2 when her grandfather and aunt were murdered at Babi Yar near Kyiv. She is also worried that her grandson, Denil, who is 18, will be conscripted to the army.

Even though antisemitism is rare in Odessa, some Jews fear that in the chaos of war it could break out. Semyon Abramowitz, chief curator at the Holocaust Museum in Odessa says that “this worries me more than anything else.” Abramowitz said that he is taking first aid courses and learning how to shoot a gun.

As reported by Vos Iz Neias