Thursday 9 May 2024

Romanian-Israeli holocaust survivor thinks Israel will never enjoy peace

Ha'aretz carries an interview with Liku Rifca Carmi (née Marcovici) who grew up in a rich Jewish family in Sighetu Marmației, a Romanian town now on the Ukrainian border, that had been assigned by Hitler to Hungary. 

In April 1943 all the Jewish families in Sighet were ordered to report to the town's train station in ten days' time. Her father, Shlomo Marcovici, turned to a coal miner he knew who took them to an abandoned gold mine in the forest, with potable water running through it. 

What sounded to the child a wonderful adventure, when first broached, was not like that.
"We sat on the stones, and the ceiling was full of flecks of gold glittering like stars. But there were leeches and dampness and darkness. We needed to cover our bodies and faces so the leeches wouldn't fall on us, and if they did fall on us, so that they couldn't suck our blood. That was when we started to understand that we're in a very, very difficult place, and one that isn't humane."
They hid there in the darkness for two years. 

In 1950 they emigrated to Israel.
'When asked if she is happy that she stayed in Israel, Carmi does not mince her words.
"Honestly? No," she says. "I see my family [abroad] being born to work and live. Here in Israel, we are born to die and fight. All the time, even during peacetime, there are terror attacks – there's no peace, and there never will be. Recently, with what's been happening, we suddenly opened our eyes and saw that nothing works. It's all hot air. Is there one ministry that you can call a ministry?" 
"...I am very, very, very, very thankful that my father and mother brought us to Israel. But the disappointment in the management – we're all up in the air, we have no idea what'll happen tomorrow. It's a terrible thing."

Her prediction that there will never be peace for Israel reminded me of the words I quoted before from Isaac Asimov: 

 "I remember how it was in 1948 when Israel was being established and all my Jewish friends were ecstatic, I was not. I said: what are we doing? We are establishing ourselves in a ghetto, in a small corner of a vast Muslim sea. The Muslims will never forget nor forgive, and Israel, as long as it exists, will be embattled. I was laughed at, but I was right.”

1 comment:

  1. Well, where would Jews find peace? It seemed that no place was really safe for them to establish a nation, and it still feels that way.