Great-grandmother safe in the Netherlands after flight from Ukraine for 90th birthday

A great-grandmother who fled Ukraine with her daughter and son-in-law will safely celebrate her birthday in Nedlands tomorrow.

Tamara Plastovets, who will turn 90 on June 17, escaped the Russian bombing a few months ago when she fled her home in central Ukraine with her daughter and son-in-law.

The family found temporary shelter in Poland before being accepted as refugees by the Australian government.


Her granddaughter Olena Yukhymets – who has lived in Australia for over ten years – said her grandmother knew she “lost her life in Ukraine” and would never return to the besieged country.

“But she’s had a lot of setbacks in her 90 years and has incredible resilience,” she said.

Mrs. Yukhymets named her six-year-old daughter after her grandmother.

“She has always remained extremely positive and very grateful; her attitude is that you only have one life, and you have a choice of how to navigate through challenges and difficulties and how to draw strength from adversity,” Ms. Yukhymets said.

Mrs. Plastovets was born in 1932 in a small Ukrainian town.


Her education was interrupted when Nazi Germany invaded during World War II, but she later attended college, leading to a long career as a high school chemistry teacher.

“Grandma often told us the story of when she had just started college and only had one pair of canvas shoes, which left her feet frozen in the winter,” said Ms. Yu.khymets.

“She wrote to her mother to say that she would come back home to live because she could not afford new shoes, but her mother had one good dress, and she sold it to her daughter some money to buy warm shoes. And to help. With her cost of living.

“My grandmother often tells this story; she completely cherishes what her mother has done for her, and as a result, she was able to graduate and build a career.”

She met her husband, Olexiy, at a local dance, and the couple had a son and a daughter.

Her son was killed as a young man when the Soviet Union deployed him to fight in the ill-fated war in Afghanistan.

Mrs. Plastovets has settled at Regis Nedlands, where she has started a new family and is learning to speak English.

Regis Nedlands GM Sam Waldron said Ms. Plastovets was “a truly inspiring lady everyone respects very much.

“It’s not every day that we celebrate a milestone of such significance at Regis Nedlands, so everyone here is excited to be a part of Tamara’s momentous day, celebrating her 90th birthday,” said Mr. Wa.ldron.

“She is a very special lady who is incredibly brave and resilient, and we wish her a very happy birthday.”

John D.Mayne
I love to write. When I wasn’t writing for my school newspaper or college blog, I was writing personal essays and journal entries. Then I discovered I loved to write. In college, I wrote for my school paper and my campus radio show. I started doing freelance writing for the Huffington Post in 2009. Then, I joined the team at Newsmyth as a writer/editor. Now, I spend most of my time writing for Newsmyth and as a guest blogger on a handful of other blogs. When I’m not writing, I like to read, travel, cook, and spend time with friends.