Home Coronavirus outbreak Israel’s first coronavirus sufferer survived Holocaust hiding in cellars

Israel’s first coronavirus sufferer survived Holocaust hiding in cellars


As a toddler in Hungary, Arie Even survived the Holocaust by taking shelter together with his mom and brother after his father was despatched to a infamous focus camp.

Even’s well-connected grandfather discovered refuge for them in a Swiss-protected residence in Budapest earlier than they had been rushed to a different shelter, underneath the quilt of evening, because of the Swedish embassy and the efforts of the famed diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who saved tens of hundreds of Jews earlier than mysteriously disappearing. The following day, Even’s grandfather was shot and his physique was dumped within the Danube River.

Later in life, Even survived a number of coronary heart assaults, surgical procedures and even a brush with a cholera epidemic throughout a household go to to Spain. However he couldn’t escape the coronavirus pandemic.

On 20 March, the 88-year-old turned Israel’s first coronavirus fatality after being contaminated by a visiting social employee at his assisted-living facility in Jerusalem.

Regardless of having 4 kids, 18 grandchildren and a great-grandchild residing in Israel, Even died alone; his family members had been compelled to remain away and say goodbye over the telephone.

Consistent with the Jewish follow of burying the useless rapidly, his funeral was held the following day, on the finish of the Sabbath. His youngest youngster, representing the household, was one in every of just a few folks allowed to attend – at a distance – as he was buried by Jewish non secular authorities carrying biohazard fits.

With Israel in digital lockdown, his household was disadvantaged of a correct sitting of shiva, the Jewish week of mourning during which households host open homes for family members and associates to supply their condolences.

“He was a powerful man and he overcame the hardships of the Holocaust,” stated his daughter Yael, expressing frustration at how he and others within the retirement residence had been uncovered. “He lived a full life. It’s only a disgrace he needed to go this fashion.”

He was born George Steiner, to a rich Hungarian Jewish household, however their lives had been turned the other way up by Nazi rule. His father was despatched to the Mauthausen focus camp in 1941. When Germany occupied Hungary in 1944, Even, his mom and brother went into hiding for almost a 12 months, typically in bales of hay and underground cellars.

After the conflict, aged 17, he moved to Israel, joined a kibbutz and was then drafted into the navy as an plane technician. His mother and father, who additionally survived the conflict, fled Hungary after the Soviet invasion in 1956 and later joined him in Israel.

His spouse, Yona, a distant relative of the Israeli president Reuven Rivlin, died in 2012. She was a profession diplomat and he adopted her to India, Japan, Germany, France and elsewhere whereas sustaining his personal profession as a customs officer.

Later in life he recorded video testimony for the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial on the request of his kids. He recalled the day Budapest was liberated by Russian troops who threw loaves of bread from their vans. “Since then, I’m sympathetic to the Russians,” he stated with a smirk.

The eldest of his 4 kids, Yaacov, 62, described a “elegant” gentleman who studied Latin and dreamed of changing into a health care provider. He stated his father was lucid till the tip, strolling round with a cane and telling his kids to plan a giant occasion for his 90th.

“Who is aware of how lengthy he had left? One other week? A 12 months? 5 years? No matter it was, it looks like a waste to lose him now,” he stated. “It nonetheless looks like he died earlier than his time.”