The family: I was seven years old when I came to Israel from Czechoslovakia. My father had gone to New York in 1939 on a business trip and while he was returning on the Queen Mary ship World War II broke out. The ship changed its course and set sail for England, where my father stayed for the next year. Afterwards he traveled to Tel Aviv. My mother and I were stuck in Czechoslovakia and eventually escaped to Slovakia where my aunt lived, because the war hadn’t reached there yet.
In 1942 my mother got false identity papers and we were eventually exchanged with the German Templers in Palestine. We arrived in Tel Aviv in 1943. I was raised in Tel Aviv. My husband a”h was from the “Tehran children.” His journey took three years -he was eight years old when he arrived in Israel in 1943. He was raised in Haifa. My husband and I met in Shalavim. He was in the IDF and I was doing Sherut Leumi.
Fast forward: We have two daughters, both of whom are married with children. Our daughter Tammy was living in Gush Katif, in Neve Dekalim, and we lived in Haifa. Ten years ago my husband became ill and Tammy offered to help by having us come and live near them. So we rented a house and moved to Neve Dekalim. The people there were so nice and helpful. Two months after we arrived, my husband passed away. I continued living near my daughter and her family for another two years – until the Expulsion. It was nice living near my children and grandchildren. I felt very good living amongst the people of Gush Katif.
My house – then: In Neve Dekalim I rented a big house with two floors because we wanted live-in help for my husband. I got used to Neve Dekalim. It was a different kind of living for me because I come from a city. My whole life I’ve lived in cities. In Neve Dekalim we had a “Golden Age” senior citizen activity center. I enjoyed its activities, and made friends. It kept me busy.
My house – now: I was able to get a 60 sq. m. caravilla because my husband was buried in the Gush Katif cemetery. Otherwise I didn’t have rights to a caravilla because I lived in Neve Dekalim for only two years and rented a private house. Currently in Nitzan I live in a small apartment attached to my daughter’s house. I enjoy this flat even though it’s a little smaller than the caravilla. The grandchildren are here a lot. I’m not alone. I have connections with my friends. The people are nice and try to help with private transportation. It is a nice and pleasant community.
The day of uprooting: I left one day before, because I had a lot of stuff. The soldiers helped me finish packing because it was too much for me. They told me that the first bus was leaving in the middle of the night and advised me to take it. I arrived at the hotel in Jerusalem the following morning.
What I left behind: I rented a large car and took my valuable things to my other daughter in Ofra, so there wasn’t much damage to my furniture or belongings.
Feelings toward the State: I didn’t move to Neve Dekalim because of politics. I never thought it would be possible for Gush Katif to last forever. However, I thought the expulsion was carried out in a very unfair way. The government promised to look after each family… even when we went to the caravillas we agreed to be there for only two years and at the end we were there for six years. Baruch Hashem we moved to a new house last Pesach, but there are a lot of people who are still living in the caravillas. Many do not have jobs and meanwhile there is no solution for them. The government promised a lot but has not delivered. There is a lot of bureaucracy and we have the feeling that sometimes we are forgotten.
The biggest difficulty: My biggest difficulty is transportation – I’m dependent on buses. I do volunteer work at Ashkelon’s Barzilai hospital’s geriatric department. I help feed ill people who aren’t independent. I also travel to Tel Aviv twice a week to visit friends and attend a course in literature.