BROOKLYN (PIX11) — With the war in Ukraine nearing the one year mark, the casualties are mounting.

It has been estimated that there have been 200,000 military deaths and some 40,000 civilians killed. The war has produced a humanitarian crisis. Millions of refugees have fled the war-torn country.

Most of the refugees are women and children. More than 1,700 women whose husbands and sons continue to defend their country have settled in New York over the past year. They owe their gratitude to a Brooklyn man who survived the Holocaust. He said he felt obligated to help them through the Holocaust Remembrance Association.

“My heart is bleeding,” Samuel Bykov cried out.

He’s a man who understands heartbreak. He was a toddler when he lost 29 members of his family in a Nazi extermination camp. Bykov said he felt compelled to do something to help after watching the anguish of civilians in Ukraine. 

“I am doing this because I am a Holocaust survivor,” he said. “To be a Holocaust survivor and see what’s going on in Ukraine is genocide a very big similarity and we cannot stand still to not help Ukraine.”

Liudmila Berezhnitskaya and her son are among the beneficiaries of Bykov’s benevolence. They arrived in the US shortly after the war began. Bykov found her a place to live and provided her with food and other necessities.

She said she’s grateful to be here, even though there were some initial challenge.

“In the beginning, it was hard to live here, but it is safe and quiet,” Berezhnitskaya said. “It’s much better than to go back there because of the war. It’s safe here.”

Bykov opened an office in the medical building he owns in Brighton Beach, where volunteers offer assistance to Ukrainian refugees in need of help, while keeping an eye on latest developments on Ukrainian TV.

They provide medical care and housing, Bill Tinglin, the Holocaust Remembrance Association’s communications director, said. They also get children into day schools, help adults learn English as a second language, and help them find employment.

The association has a warehouse in Coney Island where volunteers have packaged tons of supplies, including food, medicine and clothing that’s been flown to the war-ravaged country.

Livdmyal Shelkovenko, who got to New York sic months ago, is one of the fortunate women to have made it to the US. Her holiday surprise was a brief visit from her husband. She feels safe living here, but admits it is emotionally difficult. 

“She always worries about her family and husband, and is always nervous and can’t sleep sometimes. She fears her house can be destroyed at any minute,” an interpreter told PIX11.

The walls of the Association are filled with certificates of appreciation from the motherland, and pieces of paper over a map of cities that have been decimated by the war.  Women from Ukraine, crossing various borders to get here, will always be welcomed in Brooklyn.

“They’re granted asylum until the war ends and then go back home,” Tinglin said.

And behind the scenes there is sill the Holocaust survivor waiting to help.

“I feel obligated to help Ukraine,” he said.

Bykov is a man with a big heart. While he uses much of his own finances to fund his humanitarian effort, his association does accept donations.  As for the women he embraces in Brooklyn, they remain grateful to be here, and continue to pray for an end to the war so they can go back home, not knowing whether or not their home is still there.

Donations can be accepted at the association’s website.