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Remembrance

Holocaust Survivors in Israel:
60 Years Since the Establishment of the State

Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day 2008

Torchlighters 2008

Michael Maor

Michael Maor
Video testimony

Michael Maor was born in 1933 in Halberstadt, Germany; he was an only child. After the rise of the Nazis to power, his parents fled to Spain, and from there to Yugoslavia.

When the war broke out, Michael and his parents were deported to the town of Derventa. By 1941, the Jews were forced to wear the yellow star. They fled to Italian-held territory, but were imprisoned by the Italians in a concentration camp on the island of Raab. After the Italian surrender to the Allied Forces in September 1943, Michael’s family fled to an area controlled by partisans. One day, Ustashi forces attacked. Michael fled into the forest under fire. There, he met his father, and the two remained in the snow all night. The following day, they found his mother, and together made it to the city of Topusko.

In 1944, the Germans attacked Topusko. Michael fled once more into the forest but, on his return, discovered his parents had been killed. After suffering harassment and abuse in an orphanage for being the only Jew, he lived with various foster families, but he always felt like an outsider.

After the war, Michael found his way to a Zionist training camp near Rome. In June 1945, he arrived in Eretz Israel, and was sent, together with the other passengers on his ship, to Atlit. He eventually arrived at Kibbutz Mizra, where he was adopted. Following military service as a paratrooper and officer, Michael studied photography in Germany, while working for the Mossad. Among other professional achievements, he attained documents from the offices of the General Prosecutor of Baden Essen proving Eichmann’s involvement in the extermination of the Jews during the Holocaust. Back in Israel, Michael continued to work as a photojournalist while, at the same time, assisting the Israeli Secret Service. After another stint in the IDF, he established the intelligence branch of the Israel Border Guards, serving as their national intelligence officer for 15 years. Today, he volunteers as the Chair of the Israel Desk of the International Policemen’s Association for German-speaking countries.

Michael is married to Sarah. They have three children and four grandchildren.