Haim Raanan

Holocaust survivor,
Survivor of the 7th of October massacre.

(In the black-and-white picture you can see Haim and his mother Erin)

“I never thought that as a Holocaust survivor, I would need to hide for my life again.

“I was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1935 and was the only child of my family.
When the violence and hatred mounted in Hungary against Jews we were forced to wear the notorious yellow badge and our house was marked with the Star of David as a means to mark us as Jews. It was done in order to isolate, dehumanize, terrorize, and isolate us from the entire society.

I was shocked to see that eight decades after the Holocaust the Star of David symbol has been painted once again on Jewish homes all across Europe to target and frighten them amid the devastating October 7 massacer. It echoes the antisemitic persecution I suffered as a child. I never imagined that something like this could ever happen again in Europe.

As a child, living in the Jewish ghetto I didn’t really have any childhood. It was robbed of me by persecution and war.
We were always on the lookout for food. We lived under constant anxiety about how the day will unfold. Will we be deported? Would we have enough food to sustain ourselves another day? Would we survive the harassment, terrorizing, and killing of the Arrow Cross militia?

One day, my family heard that the Arrow Cross militia were searching for us. We couldn’t escape the ghetto so we just waited for them to appear. It didn’t take too long until we heard a knock on the door. When we opened it there were three Arrow Cross militiamen standing at our front door.

When they entered our house one of them removed his hat and to our surprise my grandfather recognized him.
He was a distant relative. He came to our house with official papers from the Swedish embassy that provided us with some diplomatic protection. With those precious papers, we were able to move to the ‘international ghetto’ in Budapest which was reserved for Jews and their families holding certificates of protection from a neutral country.
We managed to survive in the ‘international ghetto’ until the arrival of the Soviets. We were the lucky ones as almost 80% of the Jewish community in Hungary perished in the Holocaust.

On the morning of the 7th of October, I heard constant sirens wailing in my Kibbutz. I thought it was just another barrage of rockets from Gaza which we were already accustomed to. No one could have imagined the carnage that was taking place. We started to get text messages that Hamas terrorists were all over the kibbutz and that they were trying to break into the safe rooms where people were hiding. Hamas terrorists set fire to a lot of homes in order to force their occupants to come out but many preferred to die in the fires rather than be killed by the terrorists,

It was pure luck that the terrorists didn’t reach my house and that my entire family who live all around the Kibbutz survived the massacre. I don’t know what I would do if one of my grandchildren or great-grandchildren were kidnapped to Gaza.

The massacre wiped out about 10% of the kibbutz’s 1,000 residents. More than 100 residents of the Kibbutz were either murdered or kidnapped and taken to Gaza that day.
For me, it was a second Holocaust.
During the Holocaust, I didn’t know personally the 6,000,000 who perished but, in the Kibbutz Be’eri massacre,
I knew almost every single person who was murdered that day.”

Font Resize