Hannah Kochavi (Shar'abi)

My parents, David and Sarah (Zahara) Kochavi, arrived at the Aden transit camp in 1944, and shortly after boarded a ship to Palestine. On this ship, my mother helped a young Yemeni woman to give birth to her first-born child, a daughter. My parents and the couple my mother had helped remained close friends until the day they died. In Palestine my parents settled in Beit Lid. In Yemen, my mother had been a healer and a midwife. My parents arrived in Palestine with their 1.5 years old daughter, Hanna. When at Beit Lid my mother was asked to attend her kitchen duty. She explained she had a young child whom she could not leave alone, but nobody cared. Hanna caught a cold and was admitted to Rambam hospital. My mother visited her every day. Every time my mother came, the nurses would draw her blood. And then, one day when my mother arrived, the nurses told her that Hanna had died. My mother asked to see the child, as she herself was a midwife and a healer and could assess a child’s condition. The hospital staff told her to leave, and asked her to come back at 14:00 that day to attend the burial. My mother went back home and told my father the news, and he passed out.

My parents arrived at the hospital at noon and were told – “we already buried the child”. My mother screamed and banged on the doors – “where did you bury her?!?”. My parents were thrown out, without even receiving a death certificate.

My parents sat there on the sidewalk, wailing with agony. shouting and crying.

My parents lost three children in Yemen. My father wrote to my grandfather, who stayed in Yemen, that he had lost his fourth child too, as well, and when my grandfather received the letter he fell sick for an entire year.

My mother refused to talk about what happened ever since. My sister and I reported the case to the Rosh Ha’ayin Yemenite Heritage cultural center and archive, without informing my parents.

Tamar Okashi

A file with the name Hanna Kochavi (Sharabi) exists in the state archives. The name is misspelled and appears as Koravi. The details of the case reached the Shalgi committee, which concluded that “no findings were identified that could determine the fate of the missing persons”. Hanna Kochavi was included in the list of 57 children who went missing and were never found.