My grandmother Tchakhla died after giving birth at Beilinson Hospital on August 6, 1952. The baby was born ten days before grandmother’s death, around the 25 or 26 of July, 1952. My grandparents already had four children, and the fifth pregnancy happened when they lived in the Be’er Ya’akov Ma’abara [Refugee Absorption Camp] and they went to Beilinson Hospital, as I said. The baby girl was born and Grandma’s situation deteriorated after a few days. She died at age 30.
A few days after the funeral, family members came to the hospital to pick up the baby. Before she died, Grandma remarked that her daughter had been born with blue eyes (like my mother and my aunt whose picture appears here). Grandma was very worried about her daughter and feared the girl would be taken away if she herself were to die. We are not sure why she was afraid of this. My aunt could not say where this concern came from; maybe she was simply suspicious of the government and didn’t trust them. After one month, the family went to the hospital again to demand an explanation but returned empty handed. They understood that something wasn’t right. They were not shown anything, neither a body nor a grave. We all grew up depressed – my mother used to mourn her mother and her sister every evening, and I remember her singing Iraqi songs of lamentation. As children, we would cry, and so would our mother.
In fact, all us grandchildren grew up in the shadow of this story, including the loss, frustration, exploitation, and mistrust of the establishment. And this story is significant for all of them.
A few days after the funeral, family members came to pick up the baby. Before she had died, my grandmother had expressed pride in her daughter, and remarked that she had been born with blue eyes, just like hers.