My grandmother, Hannah, was born in Poland and is an Auschwitz survivor. She immigrated to Israel with my grandfather, Yehuda (also born in Poland and an Auschwitz survivor) in 1948. They were first sent to a Ma’abara [transit camp] and continued from there to Tel Aviv. They had two children: Moshe Yaakov who was born back in Poland, and my mother, Pava Shoshana who was born in 1952 in Tel Aviv.
When my mother was in the 3rd grade, my grandmother gave birth to a healthy boy in the maternity hospital Hakirya in Tel Aviv (it no longer exists today). My mother remembers it was Tisha B’av because my grandmother told her with a smile that she’s “about to give birth to the Messiah” (According to the Midrash, the messiah will be born on Tisha B’av).
[According to my calculations, in the 3rd grade my mother was 8 or 9. Meaning the birth was on Saturday, Tisha B’av 5721 ,July 22nd 1961, or on Tuesday, Tisha B’av 5720, August 2nd 1960]
The delivery had no complications and the baby boy was born alive for certain. My grandmother heard him cry and saw that he was born healthy. 12 hours later my grandmother was approached plainly told her that her son died. They didn’t give her a birth certificate, and refused to let her see him and to bury him. They just sent her home. My grandmother and grandfather didn’t have full command of the Hebrew language and were too naïve to fight it, but they never believed that he really died.
My mother visited her in the hospital after the death announcement, and it was a great crisis. My grandfather and grandmother have since not tried to have any more children after this incident.
Six years later, my grandparents received a letter from the Tel Aviv municipality with the date of birth of that same son, which called to register him to the “Gahelet” program (a sort of savings plan of the Tel Aviv municipality for kids entering the education system). According to my mother, “that broke grandmother completely”. Why are they sending this letter ahead of his birthday as if he were still alive?
My grandmother never believed he was really dead.