My grandfather Haim (Fima) Leibzon was the only one who survived from his family. He lived in Leipalingis, a small town in Lithuania. When the Nazis arrived, his non-Jewish neighbors helped them murder 154 Jews in a matter of hours. My grandfather and two of >>
his friends, then 16 years old, were not at home. From that small town, only the 3 of them survived. A year and a half ago I found a list of all of the people who were murdered there. My grandfather and his two friends wrote it. >>
The youngest victim was Gita Sieder. She was just 6 months old. Numbers 87-92 are my Grandfather's family member - his parents Avidgor and Yocheved and his siblings Mira, Chana, Gershon and Efraim. >>
A few years ago I visited Lithuania, we went to visit my Grandfather's hometown. It's not far from Vilnius where I was born. There is still land there that belongs to his family, but since he never returned, he didn't want to hear about the land or see that place ever again. >>
We went without him, visited the memorial there, and saw a book that the residents published about the history of the town. For every resident that passed away, a cause of death and the year they passed was listed. Only for the Jewish community members, they wrote >>
under that line “unknown”. My Grandfather later joined the army, which is how he learned Russian. After the war he was based in Berlin and learned 4 more languages. When we made Aliyah and moved to Israel he also learned Hebrew, at the age of 65. >>
Up until a few years ago he started every day with “Zman Ivrit”-Hebrew time. He learned new words and phrases every day, until his health didn't allow him to do so. going through his notebooks, one day I noticed that he learned how to write “Death Camps” -מחנות השמדה- in Hebrew>
My Grandfather passed away last June at the age of 95. Israel was under strict lockdown so I was unable to fly home to attend his funeral and say goodbye. It was a very strange and difficult experience watching my Grandfather's funeral on Zoom before dawn in my NYC apartment. >>
I miss him so much, and hope his and others' stories are not forgotten.
With every year that goes by we have less Holocaust survivors, but we have to make sure we remember the horrors of the Holocaust and Never Forget.
🖤 Saba and Me.
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