"To all my friends in Europe: Please help me find places to buy the following items: Bulletproof vests, sleeping bags, thermal underwear, backpacks, gloves and face masks," wrote Rebecca Maciejewski, a young Ukrainian doctor of Jewish descent on Facebook. "I'm not asking for charity, but just to find a place where it's in stock."
Maciejewski (28), lives in Odessa and, like many of her people, is now a refugee living in Warsaw.
“I’m having a difficult time with this complicated situation, so I'm just trying to work as a volunteer and help my friends back in Ukraine to fight against [Russian President Vladimir] Putin," she told me in an interview at Bekef, a Kosher restaurant in Warsaw.
She’s been using social media to make more people aware of the shortage that exists in Ukraine when it comes to equipment for the Ukrainian army.
“I need bulletproof vests,” she told me bluntly. “I also am trying to get more thermal gloves, military backpacks and other items. Initially, my family and I have been purchasing these items and sending them into Ukraine, but in the past few days I’ve been connecting people from Lithuania and Latvia that would like to help.”
One of the major problems regarding the purchase of military goods, according to Maciejewski is finding products "since everything is out of stock here in Poland," she said
"There is a Ukrainian businessman I know that is willing to give us a warehouse near the city of Chelm so we can store whatever is bought and donated there. Hopefully, we’ll be able to order bulletproof helmets from the US, UK and Germany. I’ve already sent hundreds of clothes, thermal underwear and masks."
She isn't your average 28-year-old woman: She has been shooting different types of guns since she was a child, she is a dermatologist – yet also worked in the airlines business world and even in a boutique Judaica company. As a doctor, she worked in a military hospital in Ukraine, yet unfortunately for her, she never went to get her diploma from the university.
"My university will most probably be bombed, what's the chance I'll ever be able to get it," she said, laughing.
Maciejewski is in a better situation than many refugees: her mother lives in Warsaw with her husband – therefore, she can stay by them for the moment until things clear up.
"I have at least seven nationalities," she told me during our conversation, "Germany, Turkey, Armenia, Jewish, Finland, Sweden and Russia".
Maciejewski claims that one of her great grandmothers was Jewish but that "I am not Jewish according to the Halacha, nor do I qualify for making aliyah to Israel. Trust me, I had a Jewish boyfriend and he looked into it."
She insists on connecting to as many people around the world and asks to assist in her mission. "Please contact me via Facebook, so I can help my friends who are soldiers in Ukraine," she said.