web analytics
August 3, 2015 / 18 Av, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


Third Generation Breaks the Silence of Holocaust Survivor

Senior IDF spokeswoman Lt. Col. Leibovich never was able to convince her father to speak of his horrors in surviving the Holocaust, even after she visited Auschwitz. Her daughter broke the silence.
Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich's father as a young boy IDF

Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich's father as a young boy IDF
Photo Credit: IDF

In 2004, I joined the Witnesses in Uniform delegation of 180 IDF officers to Poland. We had the chance to visit some of the major sites of Holocaust memory, including Auschwitz-Birkenau. We also saw the Lodz ghetto – the place where my father was imprisoned during the war.

Every participant on the trip had to spend some time preparing beforehand. I thought that this might be an opportunity to sit down with my father and have him share his experiences with me. He had never spoken about it with me before.

I took him through the entire itinerary of our trip, and I pointed out that we would be passing through the Lodz ghetto. I hoped that he would open up and talk about it. But he didn’t say a word. My father wished me a successful journey, but nothing more than that.

When we got to Lodz, our guides took us to what remains of the ghetto. I tried to imagine my father walking down the street, but I had no information about his time there. I did, however, experience the unique feeling all IDF officers feel when they land in Poland. It’s something I simply couldn’t compare to anything else I’ve done in my life. Our presence there alone was proof that the Nazis failed in their mission to destroy the Jewish people.

The delegation was made up of all types of people – officers young and old, Jewish, Bedouin and Druze. That’s something that makes the IDF a unique military force – we invest not only in protecting the country but also in educating our officers and passing on our heritage and our values from generation to generation.

When I returned from the trip, I sat down again with my father. I showed him all of my pictures, and hoped that he would start talking, but to no avail.

I thought I’d never learn what happened to him, but this year something changed. My daughter was doing a roots project for school, and as part of the coursework she sat down with my father and asked him to tell her his story. For the first time ever, we learned that before the war, he lived in a Polish village called Stieglitz. The Nazis killed all of the Jews who lived there, but he managed to survive.

It’s not unusual for Holocaust survivors to avoid speaking about their experiences. But perhaps it was easier for him to talk to my daughter than it was for him to talk to me. He needed some kind of trigger, and grandchildren are often that trigger.

It was finally time for him to pass on his legacy to the next generation.

This article was written by Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich, the head of the International Media & Communications Branch of the Israel Defense Forces Spokespersons Unit.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Third Generation Breaks the Silence of Holocaust Survivor”

  1. Danna Michelle says:

    I love this story and it is the truth. I'm a 3rd Generation and I just published a book called 3rd Generation and Beyond about the life lessons from my grandparents who were survivors from Poland. The third generation is an interesting case because if the survivors didn't talk before they actually began after they had grandchildren. These stories must be told over and over again.

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Graffiti found on the burned home in the village of Duma.
Security Cabinet Classifies Duma Arson as Terror Attack
Latest News Stories
Graffiti found on the burned home in the village of Duma.

Israel’s Security Cabinet classifies Duma arson as “terror attack,” creates ministerial counter terror committee.

U.S. President Barack Obama

RJC Demands Obama stop demonizing Jews for opposing the Iran deal.

Jewish and Muslim bless a crowd of hundreds at a special prayer rally at Gush Etzion junction.

Arabs and Jews rallied together for co-existence Sunday at the Gush Etzion junction, joined by MK Yair Lapid.

Joint Prayers at Tzomet Hagush

Settlers, Sheikhs, Rabbis and secular politicians came together on Sunday evening for a joint prayer session at the Gush Etzion junction.

Israelis have broken the nation’s record for energy consumption in this week’s heat wave.

The body of missing Israeli back packer Dor Cohen has been found in Georgia.

A 16-year-old girl has died of her wounds after being stabbed at Jerusalem’s Gay Pride Parade.

Officials looked again at the sprouting wildfires after a terror victim memorial was torched in Mt. Hebron.

There is a new kind of arms race that involves producing the most impenetrable virtual fortresses of cybersecurity to resist catastrophic threats.

An Israeli citizen is killed in Thailand while traveling from Pattaya to Bangkok.

PM Netanyahu says Israel’s zero tolerance for terror distinguishes it from its neighbors.

They managed to collect $3,300 from ISIS recruiters, before they were caught by the Chechen police E unit.

Iran is already banking on the lifting of sanctions; vow to raise oil production to 1 million bpd.

A Gva’ot woman was hurt Sunday in a rock attack on her car by Arab terrorists in Samaria.

Israelis have been feeling the heat lately, and not only over tensions erupting from the Iran nuclear deal.

Wildfires again were raging in the Judean Hills around the Israeli capital this weekend. Even Sapir was evacuated as homes burned.

More Articles from IDF Spokesperson's Office
IDF soldiers - once upon a time.

The IDF has come up with an 81-second video showing 67 years of Israeli land, sea and ground soldiers in action.

Elite soldiers train to kill terrorist kidnappers and rescue hostages.

Terrorists hide with hostages in a building. How can soldiers rescue the victims and kill the captors?

Aharon and Tzvia Karov prove that faith and belief in a better future is what keeps Israel alive.

“I cried not because I had to undergo surgery, but because I had to leave the army.”

“I knew that being there would allow me to protect other soldiers.”

One missile explosion on Tel Aviv could cause a local disaster. One successful Hamas hack of IDF secrets could cause a national disaster.

During Operation Protective Edge, IDF soldiers were faced with deadly risks in the Gaza Strip. Sixty four soldiers were killed and many more were wounded in combat. This is the story of one IDF commander who put his life in danger to rescue a soldier kidnapped by Hamas. Lt. Eitan, 23, joined the elite unit […]

Sgt. O’s commander: “We do not fight indiscriminately. We are an army not a terrorist organization.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/third-generation-breaks-the-silence-of-holocaust-survivor/2013/04/08/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: