Kaduri and Hatun Reuven, who have since passed away, emigrated from Iraq with their six children in March of 1951. They were very naïve and did not understand the Hebrew language, and found settling in their new country to be very difficult. About a year after coming to Israel, in 1952, the couple gave birth to another son, the first to be born in Israel. His name was Sasson and when he was three months old he suffered from a stomach virus that caused diarrhea and vomiting. Hatun took him to the Dajani Hospital in Jaffa (which was later known as the Tzahalon Hospital) where he was born. She continued to visit him daily, and in no stage was he connected to a respiratory machine or any other machines. After seeing that his condition was improving, she asked the doctors and nurses when she can take him home. They told her that in all likelihood she would be able to take him home the next day. When she came the following day, they did not let her see him. They asked her how many children she had at home. After saying that she had six children they told her that Sasson did not survive his “disease.” She returned home in tears, and mourning the son she thought has passed away.
The same thing happened with another son who was born a year later in 1953. His name was Herzel.
Three years later, on August 31, 1956, or thereabouts, the couple gave birth to two beautiful twin girls. They were very sweet and healthy, and fair skinned. They were named Freha and Hanina. When they were six months old they also contracted a virus and Hatun took them to Tel Hashomer Hospital. She thought that it would be different there. But the same thing also happened: when she said how many children she had, she was told that the babies had passed away. But this time she insisted on seeing them. They asked her to come back the next day to bury them. For a whole day, from sunrise to late in the evening, She waited for them at the old central bus station in Tel Aviv but, of course, nobody ever showed up. She returned home completely devastated and broken.
In those days people got food stamps in accordance with the number of persons in the family. The head of the family, Kaduri, was told that he had to go to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and delete the names of the four children who were taken from him. He was told that if he did not do that he would be violating the law by receiving food stamps for children he no longer had. Very naively he did so.
The family never received the death certificates for any of the children. After going through these horrible events, Hatun had two additional children. She gave birth to them at home so they would not be taken from her.
Hatun Reuven never stopped mourning the children she lost.
Her granddaughter adds:
Every time I visited her, even if it were a few times a week, she would repeat the story to me, and ask for someone to help her.
This story did not only shape the lives of my grandparents but also those of my uncles and aunts. From a joyful family full of hope for new beginnings in a new country they became a grief-stricken family. It was very difficult for them to continue living alongside the losses. The hope of someday finding the children was the only thing that kept my grandmother alive. My family and I feel that the fact that these children were never found is a major loss, since my grandparents are no longer alive, and would not be able to see them. We could fulfil my grandmother’s last wish by finding them.
Three years later, on August 31, 1956, (a nearly exact date), the couple gave birth to twin girls—healthy, beautiful, chubby, and fair-skinned. They were named Farha and Hanina. When they were six months old they also contracted a virus which caused diarrhea and vomiting, and Hatun took them to Tel HaShomer Hospital. She thought that it would be different at Tel HaShomer, but the same thing happened there: when she told the staff how many children she had, she was told that the babies had passed away. This time, however, she insisted on seeing them. They asked her to return the next day in order to bury them. For a whole day, from sunrise to late evening, she waited for them near the old central bus station in Tel Aviv. But, of course, nobody ever showed up. She went back home shattered and devastated.