Holocaust Survivors in Israel Faced Fresh Horror When Hamas Attacked


Videos and photos of her grandson from the time of the attack show the young man being restrained, stripped to his underwear and surrounded by armed men in the back of a truck as he was taken away to Gaza.

“To think that my grandson is being held by Hamas, how am I even supposed to live?” Ms. Wenkert said.

Both the Israelis, the Palestinians and their supporters on both sides of the conflict have evoked the Holocaust and “genocide” — a word coined in the aftermath of the carnage of World War II and which has since been codified in international law — in the days since Oct. 7.

In October, the head of Israel’s Holocaust memorial museum criticized Colombia’s president for drawing comparisons between the Holocaust and the Israeli response in Gaza. He also criticized Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations for wearing a yellow Star of David patch during an address to the Security Council, saying the symbol, which was used under the Nazis to identify and humiliate Jews, dishonors both the country and victims of the Holocaust.

“While these attacks and while these atrocities are reminiscent of the Holocaust, we have to draw distinctions, as well as comparisons,” said Simmy Allen, a spokesman for the national memorial, Yad Vashem.

Dov Golebowicz with President Isaac Herzog of Israel.Credit…via Dov Golebowicz

Shoshana Karmin, 92, a Holocaust survivor who managed to leave Budapest’s ghetto along with her mother before it was sealed off, survived the Hamas attack in Kibbutz Magen last month. She is pessimistic about Israel’s prospects of eliminating the group, which she said was “a lot stronger and bigger” than she had thought.

“What worries me is what will happen after the war,” she said.

Despite the horrors of the attack, some are drawing strength and hope from their histories.

Dov Golebowicz, 92, fled Poland as a boy as the clouds of war began to gather. During the Hamas attacks, he hid in his home’s safe room in Kibbutz Nirim, where he has lived for nearly 70 years. Using a wood and metal fixture that his son, an engineer, had fashioned for such an emergency, he jammed the door closed for hours.

“I sweated it out by myself,” Mr. Golebowicz said. “It was very frightening and disturbing.”

In the weeks since the attack, Mr. Golebowicz said he has been thinking of “Zog Nit Keyn Mol,” a Yiddish song sung by Jewish partisans during World War II, which became a hymn of resistance still sung at Holocaust memorial ceremonies.

“It goes, ‘Don’t ever say that this is the last road you are taking,’” Mr. Golebowicz said, adding, “The last word is ‘we are here.’”


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