A word from a Holocaust survivor

I know I can not sleep, even though it is already late at night. I watch TV and cry…cry…cry. I also pray; I ask the Creator to wake me up from this terrible dream that I see.

I was two years old when the whole family was driven into the ghetto by Germans. Already, as an adult, I managed to find out a little about what happened to our large family. After the ghetto, only a few returned home, and I was among them. They never talked to me about the ghetto or told me terrible stories. When I asked questions to my dad, he told me that I didn’t need to know that!!! One day, he told me: When you grow up, you’ll understand!

I am over 80 years old and work with Holocaust survivors; I hear their stories of memories, and I think I would not have survived if I had seen and remembered all this.

My dear God, this is how my family ran, and they were shot in the back!? I see it from the screen. This is how children were abused when their mothers stood nearby. My country protects me (like my family did in the past) and does not show us these terrible images. 

But instead of thriving kibbutzim, I see burnt houses, warmed cars, scattered children’s toys, and a lot… a lot of ashes. How not to cry when a young press correspondent, who probably served in our army and saw a lot, stands on these ashes, barely holding back tears, and says that the ashes here are not only from burnt objects… 

Yes, I want to ask for forgiveness from all six million Jews exterminated in the Holocaust; I apologize to all those killed and tortured in this terrible war that the country is waging today. We could not come to help you, but maybe in this place, upon your ashes, we will build blooming houses with gardens where children will bear your names with pride. Amen.!!!

This war brought me back 82 years ago, and now I see the roads where we were persecuted, where my grandmother Khaya was trampled in the mud. I see how my dear and beloved aunts hide me and gently close my mouth so I don’t cry. I didn’t give them away… that’s how they saved my life. 

I think I remember everything now. Hamas showed me clearly.  All my hidden horrible memories came to the surface with crystal clear clarity. But he also gave me a more decisive impetus to be proud that my family and I belong to the people who gave the world the TORAH – we are Jews. Humanism, support, solidarity, building, healing, and protection are what we are strong in. We are invincible.

Soldiers, officers, police – all the armed forces of Israel, I love you, I pray for you, I bow to YOU!!!

I believe we will celebrate the Victory in Israel.

Gita Koifman, Holocaust survivor

  • Co-Founder and Executive Board Member of the Helping Hand Global Forum
  • Chairman of the Israeli Association of Concentration Camps and Ghetto Survivors
  • Chairman of the National Association of Holocaust Survivors in Israel
  • Board Member of Museum Yad Vashem
  • Board Member of the Claims Conference
  • Board Member of the Center of Holocaust Prisoners in Israel (Merkaz Irgunim)
  • Board Member of the Foundation for Victims of the Holocaust

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