Haim and Batya Zagir

My name is Rina Oz, daughter of Batya, sister to Shimon, Tzipora and Bat Chen. My parents, my brother Shimon, and I, all immigrated to Israel in 1949 during Operation Magic Carpet.

Around the time of our immigration my brother Shimon disappeared.

In order to understand what happened to my brother I have written numerous times to all kinds of institutions and met with Hovev Ami, in an attempt enter the archives and possibly extract material about my missing brother. Needless to say my efforts have been fruitless.

This is my mother’s story:

“When we immigrated to Israel to the Ein Shemer camp, we took Shimon my son to the children’s tent—a kind of nursery.

I came to nurse him several times a day. After three days I arrived in the morning to nurse him and because I did not find him in his bed, I went to the nurse and asked, ‘Where is my son?’ The nurse said: ‘He's sick and we took him to the hospital in Haifa.’

I returned to my tent shattered and helpless. I did not know what to do.

The next day I travelled—in the clothes with which I had immigrated to Israel—to the Rambam Hospital in Haifa with Aharon, my husband’s brother. Aharon had immigrated to Israel before us. As you know and understand, I had no Hebrew language skills, money, or food.

When we arrived at the Rambam Hospital in Haifa, I asked: ‘Where is Shimon my son?’ They showed us where he had been. At this juncture we were told that ‘he's dead’! Then we were asked us to go back to the camp.

My brother in law Aaron asked, ‘Where is he buried?’

‘We do not know,’ they replied.

Ever since then, every day and sometimes several times a day, I go and look around—maybe someone looks like him, I might meet him.“

I would like to tell you that my mother donated a Torah scroll to a synagogue in Shimon’s name and every Saturday she went to visit her son (the Torah). She had done so up until two years ago, when she got dementia. Now she only occasionally wants to visit her son (the Torah).

It goes without saying that I also often search for someone who looks like my brother Shimon, or maybe like my cousins, or even my children.

I still hope we will see our brother Shimon before my mother’s death. Perhaps, both her and our souls will have some peace.