The Haber family – father Abraham-Bruno, mother Esther-Ernestina and daughters Bruria (b. 1927) and Hadassah (b. 1930) – moved from Rădăuţi to Bălţi shortly after Hadassah was born. Abraham was a clerk in one of the wood storehouses in the area, and in the afternoons and evenings he would teach Hebrew and German. Esther gave private lessons, mostly in French, and the girls went to the Hebrew Gymnasium.
On 9 July 1941 the German and Romanian armies invaded Bălţi, overthrowing the Soviet occupation, and immediately instituted a regime of persecution and murder. At the end of July, the German units and SS men left the city, leaving it in Romanian hands.
In late September 1941, the Haber family was deported together with the last Jews of Bălţi, and marched on a tortuous journey to Transnistria that lasted some three weeks.
On arrival, the Habers and some 20 other families were made to live in a stable in the fields of Dubina which was open to the winds and had no toilet facilities. Each day they were sent out to forced labor, and the meager food supplies, beatings, humiliation and rampant disease resulted in the death of many. Among the first to perish in Dubina were Abraham and Esther Haber. Abraham died in November 1941, and Esther in February 1942. They were buried near the stable.
At the end of 1943, representatives of the Autonomous Refugee Aid Committee found Bruria and Hadassah in Dubina, and brought them to the orphanage in the Balta ghetto. Due to lack of space in the orphanage, they were returned to Dubina. In early 1944 they were again taken to the orphanage in Balta, and from there, they were returned to Romania on 6 March 1944 with the “orphans’ transport”.
In December 1944, Bruria and Hadassah boarded the ship “Taurus”, that brought them to Istanbul, and from there to Eretz Israel. The “Taurus” was apparently the last Ma’apilim ship to sail during the war period. Bruria studied at teachers’ college in Jerusalem and was active in the Haganah. After contracting arthritis, she was sent to Hadassah hospital on Mt. Scopus for treatment in 1948. The convoy was attacked en route, and Bruria was killed.
Hadassah eventually married Shmuel Re’em, and they raised a family.