Those We Have Lost

Vitaly Trufanov, 50: Killed as entire family taken captive

Adopted uncle of many, the Russian immigrant was murdered in Kibbutz Nir Oz on October 7

Vitaly Trupanov (Courtesy)
Vitaly Trupanov (Courtesy)

Vitaly Trufanov, 50, was murdered on October 7 by Hamas terrorists in Kibbutz Nir Oz, where he lived.

His wife, Yelena, their son, Sasha, his mother-in-law Irena Tati and Sasha’s girlfriend, Sapir Cohen, were all taken captive by Hamas in Gaza. Lena was one of three women who appeared in a Hamas propaganda video of the captives released last month. On November 29, Yelena and Irena were freed from Gaza, and Sapir was freed a day later, while Sasha is still being held.

Vitaly was originally also thought to also be held captive, but his body was located and he was declared dead and buried several weeks after the Hamas massacre.

Friends of the family said that the Trufanovs immigrated to Israel from Russia around 25 years ago, and had no other family in the Jewish state. Vitaly worked most recently in agriculture on the kibbutz, and also loved to feed the stray cats around the neighborhood.

At Vitaly’s funeral, their friend and neighbor, Asif Goren, said the Trufanov family “was adopted by the local residents” when they arrived as immigrants, according to comments printed in Ma’ariv. Vitaly, he said, became “a kind of uncle” to many other kibbutz members, “and always came to family events.”

His friend, Yoav Golan, wrote on Facebook that “I knew Vitaly, and I loved him… we worked together for many years in Nir Oz, and lived in the same neighborhood.”

“Nobody has entered my heart like you did, nobody shared his heart with me like you did,” added Golan. “I remember your concern for my health… like a big brother, you would give me a squeeze on the shoulder and say ‘Yoavski, stop underestimating yourself!'” He recalled them making up nicknames for each other, eating raspberries and pomegranates right off the trees as they worked.

Golan noted “your love for Lena, for Sasha, your dedication to all your work, your mental and physical strength. I will never stop missing you.”

Surviving members of Nir Oz shared online the eulogy they read for Vitaly at his funeral, which was bereft of his immediate family.

“You came to us with your little family, Lena and Sasha, many years ago,” the eulogy read. “A foreign family on the very Israeli-Sabra landscape of Nir Oz. But you immediately stood out with your wonderful personality.”

“You had a great ability to think, to carry things out, and extensive knowledge in different realms. You were characterized by boundless diligence and determination to fulfill every task perfectly — no less.”

Read more Those We Have Lost stories here.

Most Popular
read more: