Aryeh Reizel, Leah’s Brother:
I am Leah’s older brother. There were just the two of us - brother and sister. When I was 7, my parents took Leah to Rambam Hospital in Haifa with a slight cough and some difficulty breathing. She was 11 months old. She stayed the night in the hospital, and my parents came home. When they returned to the hospital the following morning to see Leah, they were told that she had died. I don’t know if they showed my parents the body or if they got a death certificate. There is no documentation.
As a child then I don't remember that there was a funeral for Leah. I remember that a headstone engraver came to our house and my parents purchased a headstone for Leah. They had told us that she was buried - in a cemetery in Haifa. A few years after the kidnapping, a doctor came to our home - sent by the hospital or by the government. I don’t recall exactly which year it was, but I remember that the doctor sat with my mother for hours, interrogating her with a lot of questions.
I want to add something important, that I only understood after the fact, after my parents passed away (my mother in 1996 and my father in 2008): while they were still alive, their greatest agony was that they left Leah alone for that night in the hospital. They didn’t suspect that something like this could happen, it didn’t even occur to them as a possibility. Today, I understand how hard it was for them.
Leah was a beautiful child, blonde-haired and blue-eyed, and maybe those that kidnapped her noticed that too.
Effie, Aryeh’s son, adds:
We, the younger generation, entered the picture and we tried to find where Leah, our aunt, was buried.
In November 2020, I went to the Chevra Kadisha [burial society] in Haifa. They located the grave in their records and handed us a note upon which they’d written the number of the exact burial plot (“יל-10-28”), in the cemetery in the Carmel area. When we got there, we found no grave. We asked the people in charge of the cemetery, thinking that they would simply show us how to find the grave, or lead us there, but that’s not what happened. They told us that we had to reach out to some higher-ups by email and make our request to them. It seemed very strange to me that there was a burial plot, appearing with its own number in the cemetery’s records - but in reality, there’s no grave.
The family is currently still trying to locate the relevant documents and the location of the grave, and we intend to request that the grave be opened for investigation, when it is found.
When they returned to the hospital the following morning to see Leah, they were told that she had died. I don’t know if they showed my parents the body or if they got a death certificate. There is no documentation.