My name is Shama’a, maiden name Zbib. I immigrated to Israel with my husband and my first-born son, Zion. I gave birth to him in Dhamar on Sukkot Eve, on the way to Aden [Yemenite port of immigration]. It was a boy I waited long for, because I didn’t conceive right after marriage and was thought to be barren. How joyous we were when he was born. We came to Israel in 1949 to Ein Shemer, where we live in a "Hafitz" (see footnote)* with only one bed, which my husband and I shared. I was asked to leave the baby in the hospital daycare center and come to nurse him there. I even slept on the floor of the daycare center a few times, next to him.
After a while, I went to the daycare and did not see him. I asked and was told that he had died. “How come died? Where is the body? Show me!”. To no avail. No body, no death certificate. They had the nerve to demand payment to the Jewish Agency for his immigration. I refused to pay. I told them they took my child who was in good health. They said I was a liar, I said: “You’re the liars!” So, they said: “Shame on you.” I was done. I will not be shamed by anyone anymore.
We moved to the North, to Tzuriel, where I gave birth to my second son, Nissim, after which I moved to the center, to Hertzlia. Here I had twins, a boy and a girl, and later another girl.
I will never forget my son, Zion. I named him Zion after Mount Zion, as per my father’s request.
Shama’a Meenais of the Family Zbib.
Over the years the family approached the Bahloul-Minkovsky Committee in the 1960’s, as well as the Kedmi Committee in the 1990’s. Both Committees’ answers to the family were that hospital documentation was found, on the basis of which a death certificate was retroactively produced. The documentation was identified based on the baby’s first name and the father’s, the surname, Meenais, was not on record. The Committees also provided a general location of burial - the infant lot in the Mahane David Cemetery. The family is still trying to locate the precise place of burial.
* A Yemenite nickname given to the dorms in abandoned barracks in which they were housed.
I told them they took my child who was in good health. They said I was a liar, I said: “You’re the liars!” So, they said: “Shame on you.”