Yom Ha’Atzmaut 2013
This is the story of a man, a Holocaust survivor, whom Livnot helped out after his house was flooded by torrential winter rains.
While restoring Mishel’s home, we discovered his heroic story:
Mishel was sent by Hitler’s troops from Tunisia to Fascist Italy, on a boat, to be sent to the death camps, along with 700 other Jews.
While on the boat, he watched a Nazi soldier killing a Jew, a young boy, just because he asked to bring a doctor to his ailing father, who was also on the boat.
At this point, Mishel and his friend, both only 16 years old, went down to the boat’s kitchen, collected sugar, and secretly, as the hills of Italy appeared on the horizon, dumped the sugar into the boat engine and incapacitated the engine. The trains left Italy for the death camps without those 700 people. Just a few days later, the Nazis stopped sending Jews from that port to their death, and the 700 people, along with Mishel, were placed in an Italian army camp, from which most of them managed to escape to the hills, and hide out for the remainder of the war. Thirteen elderly people did not manage to escape, and were sent to their cruel fate in the death camps.
From freed Italy, Mishel came to Israel, joined the IDF fought in the wars of ’48, ’67 and’73, but his story remained a secret.
A few weeks ago, Livnot received a call from a social worker asking us to provide urgent assistance for an aging man: his house was flooded in a rain storm, and a huge tree standing outside the house fell and broke the roof and the ceiling.
Livnot not only repaired the storm damage and fixed additional parts of his home, as can be seen in the film, but also brought his heroic story to the social worker, who will make sure that he gets the proper honor in his community, and receives the social services to which Israel’s Holocaust survivors are privileged.
For this Yom Ha’atzmaut, Mishel will have the dignity he well deserves, and a properly and nicely fixed home.
~ Gabi Nachmani, Community Service Director