When I was 7, My mother gathered all that was left from our family’s jewels and bribed a german lady to smuggle me out of the ghetto. “I will follow you” my mother promised.
I was smuggled out inside a wooden closet.
I never saw my mother again.
I was totally alone, moving from a shelter to an orphanage, from a brothel to a monastery…
I didn’t trust People
I valued my life according to four principles; food, clothes, heat and a roof over my head.
Before the war I had a happy childhood. We lived near Krakow.
I remember my Mother’s meticulous care for our home.
War started when i was four and I quickly learned the difference between fear and anxiety.
Fear is specific. It’s the fear of the dark at the hole my father dig in the ground to hide us, like the fear of roaring german dogs, the fear from the sound of the leather whip lashing.
Anxiety is something you can’t put in words but holds you by the throat, it’s like always feeling cold to the bone, like a heavy cloud upon your very own existence.
I don’t remember when I lost my brother Ben-Zion.
I was holding his hand In one of these “actions”, as the nazis were gathering all the ghetto population in order to decide who is work-worthy and who is worthless.
the german officer was sitting, pointing his stick at people
my mother ordered us to go hide
-hold-on your brother, go, go
an officer caught us and brought us back to the gathering place
it was mayhem, the shouting from german soldiers, the crying of people for their faith, for their children’s faith.
I don’t remember when or where my hand slipped from it’s grabbing
i don’t remember when i lost my brother Ben-Zion. I lost him forever.
I lost all my family at the holocaust. Everybody. For years i’ve cried for being an Orphan but today…, i cry for my parents, for what they had to go through
for the sacrifice they made for me.
Today i’m still afraid of dogs
when one is passing by, I have my grandchildren holding my hands
Today, whenever I hear someone talking about the annihilation of Israel, I get this feeling that you can’t put in words but holds you by your throat.
–Zahava, 80, Petah Tikva, ISRAEL