When we got off the plane from Aden we arrived in Lod. I was 12.5 years old, the year was 1949. The moment we got off the plane we kissed the ground, the Holy Land. Two nurses came - they were dressed nicely. One of the nurses took the twins. That is the first thing I remember from the airport. They took us to Ein Shemer. We were in Camp B. They put us in a large hall. They gave out bread. From that moment on, we did not see the children. We asked “where are they?” they said “in the babies’ room”. And then I would say to my mother “I want to see my brothers, I’m the eldest”. Mother said they won’t let us. I said “try, we want to see them”. She managed to do it one day, before the manager of the nursery arrived. Mother asked the nurse for a favor and the nurse agreed. She brought us there and there was much joy inside the tent. They were about one year old. We played with them.
(Shlomo points at a person sitting beside him) – Aharon’s mother was in the nursery and they told her she couldn’t breastfeed until she showed the nurses where our twins were taken. She showed them and they stormed into our tent. They did not say hello, nothing. “Why did you take the children?” They grabbed the child like a rag, aggressively. I said “where are those angels we met when we got off the plane? God save us”. The two nurses told my mother [threateningly] “you’ll see what’s coming”. In the morning she went to breastfeed and already one of them was gone. Mother asked ‘where is he’? They said ‘in the hospital’. Two days later they said Yossef was also taken to the hospital. That’s how both of them were taken.
So my father goes to the nursery, meets Yitzhak Aricha, he’s from Yemen. My father goes to him and says: “I want my children.” ‘I have no time for you, I am taking care of the community’. ‘Give me the children’. He promised he would return the children. After that my mother joined, too. From then my father spent a year searching for the children. A whole year. I was 12.5 years old, I went out to work to provide for the family. That’s how it was for an entire year. I did not go to school even for one day.
The Social Service took the documents, the New Immigrant certificate. I remember very clearly that they took documents and never gave them back. On my father’s ID card they wrote “your son, Shalom, is dead”. On my father’s ID. When we were still in Ein Shemer. How could he be dead? They did not bury anyone.
I gave testimony in the official inquiry committee. It went into one ear and came out the other. They did not check anything, did not respond to anything.
After my father passed away I went to the Ministry of Interior in Afula to try and understand where my brothers are, so we can divide the inheritance among us. I went to the Ministry with one of my children. We filled out the forms. I filled out a form only for Yossef, not for Shalom. My son said “what do you have to lose, fill out one for Shalom.” I said “but he died”. He convinced me to fill it out. And in the Ministry they say to me “Shalom lives in Yokne’am.” In the Ministry of Interior it says that he’s with us at home and died in 1964. I asked for a death certificate. He showed me: The certificate had no place of burial, no doctor to confirm the death. Only a name and a date.
We got an IDF enlistment order for Yossef to our house, income tax letters, TV taxes, anything you can think of. One day the [IDF] came to search for deserters. They took me as a deserter. I was 16 or 17. They took me and said “you’re a deserter”. The whole night they took me around to Kibbutzim and all kinds of places. Yehia was in reserves and knows me. So they called the commander and said “what about him?” It turned out to be a mistake. They told me “go”. I don’t even know where I am. I got home by hitchhiking.
I gave testimony in the official inquiry committee. It went into one ear and came out the other. They did not check anything.