Yelena Trufanova, mother Irena Tati released in nod to Putin; son, girlfriend in Gaza

Russian-Israeli immigrants were abducted from Kibbutz Nir Oz; Yelena’s husband Vitaly was murdered by Hamas on Oct. 7

Yelena Trufanova and mother Irena Tati, taken hostage in Kibbutz Nir Oz on October 7, 2023, were freed from Gaza on November 29, 2023. (courtesy)
Yelena Trufanova and mother Irena Tati, taken hostage in Kibbutz Nir Oz on October 7, 2023, were freed from Gaza on November 29, 2023. (courtesy)

Yelena Trufanova, 50, and her mother Irena Tati, 73, were released by Hamas on November 29 at the request of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Son Sasha and his girlfriend Sapir Cohen are still captive. Yelena’s husband Vitaly was murdered by Hamas.

Yelena Trufanova (right) and her mother Irena Tati photographed in Egypt after their release from Hamas captivity on November 29, 2023 (Courtesy)

This is the story of what befell the family that day:

Four members of the Trufanov family — grandmother Irena Tati, parents Vitaly and Yelena (Lena), son Sasha — and his girlfriend Sapir Cohen, were initially missing from Kibbutz Nir Oz after the October 7 Hamas massacres at the Gaza border town, according to Sasha’s friends.

Friends of the family, who immigrated from Russia 25 years ago, eventually learned that husband and father Vitaly Trufanov was killed on October 7.

Lena is one of three women who appear in a Hamas propaganda film that was released on October 30. It is unclear when or where the video of the women, whose statement was almost certainly dictated by their captors, was filmed.

A screenshot from a propaganda video released by Hamas on October 30, 2023, showing three Israeli hostages: Rimon Buchshtab Kirsht (left), Danielle Aloni (center), and Yelena Trufanova (right). All three women have now been freed.

Sasha Trufanov is an engineer employed at Annapurna Labs, an Israeli microelectronics company purchased by Amazon.

He and his girlfriend, Sapir Cohen, had recently moved in together in a Ramat Gan apartment, so when the Gaza border communities were attacked by Hamas terrorists in what became a massacre of hundreds, his friends didn’t know at first that he was there.

“When we called him, he didn’t answer,” said one friend in a video created by Bring Them Home, the ad-hoc organization documenting the stories of more than 200 Israelis missing and taken to Gaza.

“We realized he and Sapir must have been with his family in Nir Oz.”

Since the family has no other relatives in Israel, their friends stated: “We are their voices.”

A war room of 30 friends gathered quickly, and after reviewing dozens of Hamas videos, were able to identify Sapir in one, being brought to Gaza on a moped, between two terrorists, her hands held behind her head.

They found out that Sasha’s parents and grandmother had been in their home, with a safe room, while Sasha and Sapir were in another house without a safe room. It was later learned that Vitaly Trufanov had been taken from the house before the rest of the family.

The Trufanov family from Kibbutz Nir Oz, missing since the October 7 attack by Hamas terrorists. Clockwise from top L: Sasha, Irena Tati, Yelena, Vitaly and Sapir Cohen. (Courtesy)

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