The 25-year-old mother ended up in the middle of the carnage when Hamas attacked her during the Nova Festival on October 7.
In the aftermath of the attack, photos and videos of the woman went viral, and she became known as the “Lady in Red” because of the red shawl she wore as she desperately tried to escape the hail of bullets.
In an interview with Daily Mail Vlada Patapov, born in Ukraine, tells how she survived the attack and made a home for her three-year-old daughter, Rumi.
– The strange thing is that I didn’t want to go to the festival. Vlada told the newspaper it was just a “last minute” thing.
The 25-year-old was one of many who attended the festival on October 7. She went with her partner Matan and her friend Mai.
– At the time, I thought it was strange to hold a festival so close to the border with Gaza, with rockets falling every now and then, but I thought the organizers thought the place was safe, otherwise they probably wouldn’t have organized it. She says so.
Around 03:00, Vlada goes to sleep in his tent. At 06.30 she suddenly wakes up when the flight alarm goes off on her phone.
– I looked for Matan and Mai and immediately heard gunfire. It was high and very close to us. For a few seconds I didn’t understand what was happening, then Matan shouted that we had to run to the car.
-The biggest hug ever
She says that the three festival participants throw themselves into the car, but they do not get far before the new Hamas fighters meet them and shoot them. The car chase ends in a field, where the car gets stuck, according to the 25-year-old.
We didn’t know what to do or where to go, and all I was thinking about was Rumi. I kept seeing her face in my mind and told myself that someone had to survive for her.
Vlada continues, saying that they ran towards some trees, and that she moved away from her partner, Matan. It all ends when a passing car picks up the two women and takes them to safety. Matan rides into another passing car.
More than 360 young concert-goers were shot, beaten or burned to death when Hamas soldiers stormed the festival grounds near the Israel-Gaza border in October. She added that 40 others were taken hostage BBC.
Vlada, Matan, and Mai are among the lucky ones who survive the attack unharmed.
– Sometimes I feel guilty that I survived, and that others did not, and what happened to me lasted perhaps only 18 hours, but the pain still continues for many, and I think about the hostages who are still in Gaza. She says: We must not forget them.
-The longest part was waiting at the base before being picked up and going home and seeing Rumi. I gave her the biggest hug ever,” Vlada says.
“Organizer. Social media geek. General communicator. Bacon scholar. Proud pop culture trailblazer.”