Unfortunately, I went through all the stages of the German "system". As well as the period I spent hiding inside a box in the attic, I endured persecution, ghettoization, the camps, and I bear within me the scars of man's inhumanity to man.
The luck that played a part in my survival was a matter of chance, not statistics.
Usually, when you hear testimonies, you rejoice despite all the pain and empathy – behold, a living person, one who survived! I am not capable of such a humane reaction; I always think about the silent, the mute dead whose stories are not heard.
My parents, sister and I suffered all the tribulations. The last camp we were in together was Majdanek. At the end of July 1944, the camp was hastily dismantled, and the Germans forced the prisoners on a march under heavy guard. From that point on, each one of us endured the circles of hell separately. I was sick, unable to move, and I was loaded onto an ambulance together with a number of other prisoners. I was separated from my loved ones, and some three days later I was free. My mother, father and sister continued on to Auschwitz.
My father was transferred from Auschwitz to Mauthausen and reached Terezin at the end of the war.
My sister was sent from Auschwitz to Ravensbrück, and she also eventually reached Terezin.
My mother was wounded in a work accident at Auschwitz. Her leg was amputated and she was left in the infirmary at Auschwitz until the camp's liberation in January 1945.
We found each other after the war. Our nuclear family was reunited - Father, Mother, my sister and I.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I stand here before you bowed with humility. I am not authorized or able to speak on behalf of anyone else, but I was there. I witnessed the decline of humanity, and I have borne this forewarning all my life.
In 1950, I immigrated to Israel. I was driven by a longing for my own land and for my own home as a Jew, by a yearning to live a normal life like everybody else.
I am glad that I was given the opportunity to take part in the building of the State during the first stages of our existence as a free people in our homeland. I had no demands whatsoever. In the course of time, I raised a family of my own.
After everything I had endured, I aspired to have a normal life, with everyday joys and tasks. I integrated the past into the present; I never denied it, negated it or ran from it. I have endeavored to learn, and to act modestly.
I have understood that during the war, good people sometimes lost sight of their moral compass, without even realizing it.
I choose first and foremost to see people: at eye-level, as equals. The sanctity of life.
Now, as the State celebrates its 70th anniversary, our past suffering cautions us sevenfold: everyone is born in the image of God with equal rights in this world. This is fundamental and essential to the existence of human society.