"We are not heroes"

I'm going back to Kyiv today.

Not because I feel safe there.

i have to go back

My friend wants to volunteer to join the Ukrainian army.

The last few days have been tough for me.

I cried a lot.

Argued with him a lot.

It's not like he's some hero, as is often portrayed in the media.

I keep reading: "Be brave like Ukrainians." As if we were any heroes.

We are not.

Is not he.

We are human like everyone else.

Eva sleeper

Editor in the "Life" department of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sunday newspaper.

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I have the feeling that we Ukrainians are being idealized.

I do not want that.

I'm afraid for my friend.

I'm afraid he's dying.

He's scared himself too.

Afraid to go to the Eastern Front, but there is no other option, he says.

He must go there.

And he himself does not go into the army out of heroism, not for his nation.

He just wants to get back to his normal life, he just wants to be able to jump into the nearest lake without worrying about being hit by a rocket all the time.

That's why I'm going to my friend's in the Ukraine for a few days.

To say goodbye to him.

I firmly believe that we will meet again.

I also use the opportunity in Kyiv to go to my old apartment.

I still have things there that I left behind in the rush.

For example, I forgot my diploma.

Maybe that will help me in Europe.

It's the first time since the beginning of the war that I'm going to Kyiv again.

I hope the country hasn't changed too much.

Margareta, 23 years old, Enschede

Now I should change something

I've been in Germany for almost two months now.

Despite the peaceful German setting, it all feels very surreal.

Since the moment I came here, I haven't taken a break from studying.

It is exhausting to be present at two different study locations at the same time – both in Gießen and at my home university in Kyiv.

What motivates me are my friends who support me and with whom I am in a safe space here in the dorm.

Today I finally finished my thesis.

After the defense, which is also coming up soon, I want to come down and evaluate my experience so far.

The war, the escape.


I hardly had the opportunity to spend time with my family.

A few days ago my sister and mother came to visit me here in Giessen.

We had a very nice time when we went for a walk together in the half-timbered town of Marburg.

I get quite a lot from the war.

Although I don't get much information from the media, simply because it's exhausting, I can't distance myself from the war.

I think I should call my grandmother and grandfather in Vinnytsia much more often and ask how they are doing.

I didn't have much time for that because of my studies.

Always these excuses.

Now that I have more time again, I should finally change something.

Wlad, 20 years old, Giessen