Lilach Atias Darmon, the granddaughter of Esther and Rafael Akunis, says:
My mother is from a Thessalonian family. The names of my grandparents, my mother's parents – Esther and Raphael Akunis. They emigrated from Thessaloniki in Greece in 1932, and lived in the Shapira neighborhood in Tel Aviv.
Grandpa Raphael worked all his life in the Tel Aviv port and was among its founders. My mother has one older sister, my aunt Yaffa, who was born in 1933 and today lives in Holon, and a younger brother, Jackie, who was born in 1942 and lives in Denmark. But there is also one other big sister, Ida, Yehudit Akunis, who was born in 1936 at the Hadassah Hospital on Balfour Street in Tel Aviv. In 1939 (or the end of 1938), when she was about three years old, she had a high fever, probably pneumonia, and was hospitalized at the Hadassah Hospital in Tel Aviv, from where she never returned.
After two days of hospitalization, the fever went down, and my grandparents (Nono and Nona) came to the hospital to pick her up, and were told she was dead. They had been with her that day, a mere few hours earlier, and saw that her temperature had gone down and they just returned to take her home. Grandpa and Grandma, who were still new immigrants in the country at the time, did not understand how she died, and when, after all they had seen that she had recovered. They wanted, at least, to see a death certificate or to understand where was the girl buried. This girl was almost three years old! They were told there was no grave, and that they should go home.
My grandfather used to tell us that respectable people in suits walked around the hospital. He did not understand why. He was ill for a whole year following the incident.
My mother was born later that year, and was named after her older sister, who was apparently abducted.
Years later, the siblings, including my mother, tried to find out what happened to her [Ida Yehudit], and understood from the Ministry of Interior, that there was no record of their sister. There is no record that she was born and no record that she died. It is as if such a girl had never been born.
The family has also turned to the burial society (“Chevra Kadisha”), who also knew nothing about a girl named Ida Yehudit Akunis, who was buried.
In the midst of its daily hardships, the family chose to go on with its life. But this story has never left us to this day.
In the photo, the Akunis family: Grandpa Raphael and Grandma Esther (Nono and Nona) with Yaffa and Ida, the missing sister.
Grandpa and Grandma, who were still new immigrants in the country at the time, did not understand how she died, and when, after all they had seen that she had recovered.
In the midst of its daily hardships, the family chose to go on with its life. But this story has never left us, to this day