Yom HaShoah

As every year on or near Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Day, Yad Vashem shares stories of survivors. I am singling out two.

Zehava Gealel [clearly a postwar Hebrew surname, meaning ‘G-d redeemed’] and her mother and sisters initially avoided capture in Holland through feigning contagious disease, then obtained forged Romanian papers that ensured that (through the Byzantine workings of the Third Reich’s administrative apparatus) they were treated as political prisoners from an allied nation. Hence they ‘only’ got to deal with concentration camps rather than extermination camps.

After the war, she became a nurse, and in retirement a medical researcher. Two of her three children passed away early, but via a third she has 13 great-grandchildren.

Yossi Chen, who after the war had a career in both Military Intelligence and the Mossad, explains his miraculous survival thanks to a partially successful uprising in the small ghetto of Lakhva in Belarus. About half the population was able to escape; some reached the Partisans and were able to survive until the Red Army arrived.

NEVER AGAIN MEANS NEVER

לעולם לא עוד זאת אומרת לעולם לא

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