Rachel Grossman doesn’t know when she was born, who her parents were, or her real name. When she was about three years old, she was found wandering by herself in the streets of the Budapest ghetto. A young survivor of the camps from Hungary came to Timisoara in Romania, which had already been liberated. He was hosted by Ludvik and Emilia Korody, an elderly Jewish couple, and told them about the child. The childless couple sent their friend Zvi Ormush, who used to smuggle food from Romania into occupied Hungary, to bring the girl to them. Zvi went to the Budapest ghetto, located the girl, hid her in his large coat and thus smuggled her across the border and brought her to the couple. They adopted Rachel, giving her a warm home full of love. In 1950, Rachel and her parents immigrated to Israel.
At age 22, after Rachel’s father had passed away, Emilia told her about her true identity. Rachel wasn't surprised. "I remember!" she exclaimed. She remembered herself as a three-year-old child walking with her mother: "I was holding her hand. We were walking in the street. She walked by the wall and I was next to her on the side of the road. I remember shooting, she fell, I was hit here, and afterwards - the hospital…"
Years later the fragments of memory were completed into a story. It transpired that the messengers that her adoptive parents had sent to find her in the Budapest ghetto had reached the hospital, where they heard about a critically injured woman who had arrived with a young girl. Before she died the woman had said, "What’s going to happen? What will happen to my daughter?"
Rachel remembers that during that period she had slept on the steps of one of the houses in the ghetto, which is where she was seen by the young survivor. Rachel's mother had attached a note to her shirt with the family's surname – Klein – and the name of the road where they lived, "But I don't remember my name, I don't know it."
Rachel was sent to Kibbutz Nir Am. When she joined the IDF she asked to serve in Kibbutz Jezreel. Her parents joined her on the kibbutz and she lives there to this day.
Emilia, Rachel's mother, died in 1974. Two weeks earlier they had celebrated the third birthday of her first grandchild Yardena. Emilia said to Rachel, "It seems that I did a great mitzva and God helped me. I never had a child under the age of three. Now I have seen your daughter grow to the age of three."
Among the photographs and documents that Rachel donated to Yad Vashem is a forged adoption certificate prepared in 1946, after it became clear that there was no chance of finding any of Rachel's relatives.