Amon Amarth’s Johan Hegg and his wife Maria have welcomed some Ukrainian refugees to stay with them amid the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. On top of that, the frontman and his bandmates have also launched an auction to help raise money for other refugees.
Hegg said the about taking in refugees during an appearance on Machine Head frontman Robb Flynn’s “No Fuckin’ Regrets With Robb Flynn” podcast:
“Obviously what’s happening in Ukraine is horrible. We have two Ukrainian women and their children living with us. A lot of people in Sweden are doing that. It needs to be done. Over 10 million people in Ukraine are refugees, and almost four million of them are refugees in Europe now. So, obviously, they need somewhere to stay.”
“Fortunately for us, and for them — mostly for them, but also for us — because there are stories where people are very traumatized who come to live with people, and it is difficult. But fortunately for the people living here, they didn’t experience too much on that; apparently, they got out in time. They’re from Kyiv. But they have both a place outside Kyiv, in the countryside, and an apartment in Kyiv. So, at the moment, it’s the mother and grandmother of two children that are here, but the husband of the mother of the children is still in Ukraine, which, obviously, is difficult for them. I think he’s a farmer, so I think actually he’s trying to farm the land so that they can produce food, which is also important, obviously. But every once in a while, you can tell that the mood is going down and they’re affected by it. But they’re doing a good job of trying to keep a positive attitude, which I’m really impressed about.”
He added that him and his wife just want to do what they can to help:
“We just imagine what it would be like to have to leave everything behind yourself — live from a suitcase, basically, and depend on other people to help you. It must be horrible.”
Hegg also commented on the auction:
“Obviously, it’s terrible. It’s the biggest refugee crisis since World War II. But we also feel that it’s important not to forget that there are other warzones in the world with loads of refugees. So we decided that we would donate the proceeds [from the auction] to the UNHCR [United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees], which is the UN refugee program, and then Doctors Without Borders [which brings desperately needed medical care to crises around the globe and pioneers modern-day humanitarian aid]. But also since my wife especially, but also me, we’re big animal lovers, we decided to donate to the international fund for animal welfare. Especially for the situation in Ukraine, where a lot of pets and farm animals are suffering right now and they also need our help. Because have pets, and they’re family members to us. It must be devastating to have to leave your pets behind. So hopefully that money can help someone be reunited with a dog or a cat. It’s just stuff lying, collecting dust right here. So if we can make someone happy and we can collect some money to give away to charity, that’s awesome.”