David and Mala Hatkevitz

The testimony of Zvi Hatkevitz

My parents, David and Mala Hatkevitz of blessed memory, immigrated to Israel as Holocaust survivors in June 1947 on the immigrant ship Exodus when my mom was pregnant with me. They were subsequently deported to Germany, where they stayed in a DP (Displaced Persons) camp and that's where I was born on November 29, 1947. We immigrated to Israel again on October 10, 1948. We arrived at the Pardes Hanna transit camp when I was a baby. From the transit camp, we moved to Akko, where we lived from 1948 to 1959.

My parents never told us about the horrors of the Holocaust. They told us: "We've suffered enough, you don't have to suffer too". In addition to this, in those days, no one believed Holocaust survivors. Everyone thought they were crazy and delusional. My maternal grandparents lived with us in the same house so that we could all be together.

As a little boy about the age of 5, I remember that my mother of blessed memory gave birth to a baby girl in the maternity ward in Nahariya, between the years 1952-1953, and I also got to see the baby after she was born, through the window of the nursery in the maternity ward. It's a powerful picture that has been with me all my life and I'll never forget it.

A few days later, my mother returned home without the child and we were told that the girl had passed away. They were not shown a body and received no death certificate or burial place. They were only told that the girl had passed away.

In 1955, my mother gave birth to my little sister. Nowadays it's just she and I, our parents are no longer alive.

I remember very well the suffering my parents went through over the years after the disappearance of my middle sister. Especially my mother who sunk deep into depression. Crying at night non-stop. Visits to the doctors. The house was very small and I could hear from my room the heart-to-heart conversations between mom and dad. Their never-ending pain.

Over the years, I took it upon myself to find out what had happened to my sister. All my attempts to find information about her were unsuccessful. I was in the archives of the hospital in Nahariya and even tried to locate my mother's medical file in the Clalit HMO archives - I couldn't find anything. In addition, I contacted the religious council and the Chevra Kadisha in Akko and Nahariya, to check if there is any record of a grave. There, too, the search did not reveal anything.

I don't involve my little sister in the whole search process because I don't want to hurt her, just as my parents didn't want to hurt us in the past.

I continue to search and would be happy if you could assist me and direct me to other sources of information.

The house was very small and I could hear from my room the heart-to-heart conversations between mom and dad. Their never-ending pain.