Holocaust Survivor, 91, Dies ‘Pleading for Water' in Mariupol Basement

Vanda Semyonovna Obiedkova died sheltering in freezing basement during Mariupol siege

Leon Klein/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A 91-year-old Holocaust survivor has died in a basement in the besieged Ukrainian port of Mariupol.

The Auschwitz Memorial announced the death of Vanda Semyonovna Obiedkova.

The Jewish organization reported that her daughter shared the news after arriving with the rest of her family at a safe location, saying she died April 4, "pleading for water" in a freezing basement.

Her daughter Larissa told the organization her mother only wanted to know one thing: "Why is this happening?"

Obiedkova was 10 years old when the Nazis occupied Mariupol and killed thousands of Jews in a single day, including her mother. She survived in a basement then, and died in a basement in the same city 81 years later.

Larissa described the conditions in Mariupol as “living like animals."

“There was no water, no electricity, no heat – and it was unbearably cold,” she said, adding that Russian snipers set up positions near the closest water sources, making trips to them extremely dangerous.

“Every time a bomb fell, the entire building shook,” Larissa said. “My mother kept saying she didn’t remember anything like this during the [WWII].”

This is a live update. Click here for complete coverage of the crisis in Ukraine.

The Associated Press/NBC
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