Testimony of: Ronit Yishai, the older sister.
My parents immigrated (separately) from Romania, in 1948 and 1950. My father, who lost his entire family in Auschwitz, was immediately drafted to fight in the War of Independence and then lived in a pioneering house. My mother came to the immigrants’ transit camp in Hadera, she always told us of when they got off the ship, how they were sprayed (with DDT), how shocked she was, and how, when she reached the transit camp and saw the tents, she fled and hid in the orchards.
From there my mother and her family moved to the Bat Yam transit camp. My parents got married in 1952 in Tel Aviv, and lived in an attic, in the Kerem Hateimanim neighborhood, for three years. Then, they moved to Bat Yam, where they lived together until the day they died.
In 1963, my younger brother was born at Zahlon (Dajani) hospital in Jaffa. During the pregnancy, my mother was told she had twins. When my brother was born, she was told that only one baby survived and that the other had already died in the womb. The staff told her that the fetus stopped developing at the age of 3 months in the womb.
My mother was in shock, she did not think to ask or inquire further, and accepted her fate. She did not ask to see (the dead baby), she was very naive and she was hurting. My grandfather was supposed to be the godfather, and he just had a heart attack, at the same time of the birth. Those were such difficult times for my mother, everything was blurred.
All her life until she passed away, she knew. She knew the other twin was alive. It accompanied her in her dreams, she had nightmares, she just knew. She regretted not asking or inquiring. She never recovered from it, she believed her whole life that the other twin is alive. She went to rabbis too (for spiritual guidance), there was a rabbi who told her he was alive and that she would meet him again, and she always went around with the notion that she had a living child which she didn't know where he was. That he had been taken from her.
She always contemplated two questions, two difficult and strange doubts; the first had to do with the fact that at the hospital they had shown her nothing, brought nothing to a burial. My parents were never told that the child was buried or where he was buried. And the second doubt had to do with the fact that the hospital staff had told her at birth that the other (the missing twin) had light colored hair, he was not a redhead like my little brother. So she always said that it doesn’t make sense, how could they say that the other fetus stopped developing at 3 months, while identifying his hair color, how did they know that the twins were not identical? It does not fit the developmental stage of a fetus.
My mother passed away 12 years ago, and my sister, who lived with her until she died, says that in her last years, she would wake up many nights, from nightmares about the baby that was taken from her.
We are four, I am the eldest, my brother (one of the twins), Michael and two younger sisters. And all the time we walk down the street looking for someone similar to my brother Michael. This topic was so alive with my mom, she talked about it all my life. My whole life. She always said that she has another child and that he was taken from her.
Pictures: family children, and baby Michael - the twin brother.