Oscar Vreugdenhil is helping Ukrainian refugees at the Polish border

Oscar Vreugdenhil
Genealogiecode: D XI v.1.1
Door: Hart van Nederland
Bron: Hart van Nederland
Foto: Oscar Vreugdenhil

Oscar Vreugdenhil is normally found among building materials and saw machines, but this time it started in Poland. With an old Volvo, the entrepreneur from Meteren brings refugees from Ukraine to the nearest train station. “I have to help those people.” After a 1500-kilometer drive, he suddenly found himself at the border of the war zone. “Not dangerous, but exciting,” says Oscar.

With images of the war and the threat in his mind, Oscar couldn’t sleep. The feeling that he had to do something for his fellow human beings was overwhelming. When he told some people about his spontaneous idea, they thought he was crazy, but on Saturday he got in his car. Since his company only had business vans, he quickly bought an old Volvo station wagon for 1500 euros before setting off alone. In the Volvo, which already has over ten laps around the Earth on the odometer, he now shuttles between the border and the train station. Refugees get in with him and are put on the train to Warsaw. He also helped a mother with two children find a place to sleep so they could catch their breath. He tries to do as much as possible until he has to go home to take care of his own family. “I was watching Netflix and thinking about the people who were in Ukraine. I couldn’t think of a better place to spend my time, so I wanted to go to Ukraine.” “It’s cold, they need to get out of there. Some people have been there for a few days.” Before Oscar leaves for the border, he picks up supplies that he can give out at the border. “Milk, food, drinks, diapers, and pacifiers for the babies. I get a lot of support from people in my circle of acquaintances and from the neighborhood. They send me money, and it’s not for the cost of gasoline. The money goes to items that go to the people at the border.” At the border reception center, Oscar takes people who have registered with him every day. From there, he takes them, for example, to a train station. “They arrive at the border and are dropped off at the reception center by shuttle buses.

I also wanted to go to the border, but it’s been closed off by the police.” Once across the border, the refugees are left to their own devices, says Oscar. “Fortunately, there are many people who come by car to give them a ride, for example, to a train station. If they don’t get a train ticket, then I buy it for them. They have no income, so if you can help them, that’s nice.” Sometimes they are tough rides, with many emotional conversations. “The trips can vary. Sometimes there’s little talk, and other times there’s more. In the evenings, it’s often more emotional, especially when I transport women and children. That’s more intense and hits closer to home.” Often, his passengers add Oscar on Facebook afterwards. “Then I receive sweet messages from them, and their circle of friends thanks me. It may be a drop in the bucket, but I don’t mind. If only I can help.