Rescue mission

Ukraine to Canada: Ont. women rescue mission to help refugees

Susanne von Törne, of Flesherton, Ont. resident, traveled to the Polish border from Germany to help Ukrainian refugees escape the turmoil in their home country.

von Törne is a German surgeon and humanitarian who, with the help of three other German women, travels with two minivans to save as many people as possible.

“We drive there and try to get two families out, deliver goods, and then drive back to Germany and take it from there,” von Törne said in a phone interview with CTV News on Tuesday.

According to her husband, Heiner Philipp, von Törne recently volunteered as a surgeon in Cambodia before traveling to Germany and organizing the rescue mission.

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Philipp said his wife drove the 17 Hours from Frankfurt to Poland to pick up more than a dozen Ukrainians and bring them to a horse farm near Gondelsheim, Germany.

He said they plan to help anyone wishing to come to Canada, including a woman they had been in contact with, her husband, two siblings and two children, aged two and six, who left their home in Ukraine two days ago.

“It took them two days to get out of there,” von Törne said. “They have children with them. It’s cold. They walked for two days.”

“They want to come to Canada and they will live with us in our house,” Philipp noted in an email to CTV News about the young family.

Philipp and his wife foot the bill to sponsor and support the refugees, including attorney fees, flights and living expenses.

“Why [do] we are doing it? Because we just want to help. I think it’s a good thing to help them,” von Törne said.

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