Hamma and Aharon Vahab, my parents, immigrated from Yemen in 1949 and arrived at the Ma'abara in Rosh Ha'Ayin. In 1950, during the terrible snow. We lived in tents, me, Sarah, who was about five years old and Zachariah, my brother, who was about ten years old. We had another married sister, maybe 16 years old; she passed away. The third sister was named after my mother, Yona, she was two and a half years old and was still breastfeeding. My mother usually breastfed until a late age.
Yona was in the nursery of Rosh Ha'Ain's ma'abara. My mother, may she rest in peace, came to see her at the nursery and breastfeed her. After a few days, my mother was told to leave, they pushed her out of the nursery by force and told her "There is no baby, she is dead." The child was beautiful, with fair skin. Mom took a stick and tried to open the door by force, but they strictly refused to open it. Mom insisted, and said that at this age the family must sit "shiv'a" in mourning. Therefore, if the baby is dead, they should deliver her body back. She kept insisting. eventually, the nurse pushed her and said to her, "Get out of here you idiot, what do you want, what are you screaming for? What are you shouting about?". Mother answered her "I want my daughter". But nothing she had done helped.
My mother lost children before, but this was her greatest sorrow and she collapsed from this grief.
My mother had good hands, she could heal people.
We did not receive identity cards, my brother Zachariah was registered with my late father's immigrant certificate; only he. Neither I nor my little sister Yona were registered.
Another story is about me; in the same year 1950, when my late father came to pick me up from kindergarten in the Rosh Ha'Ayin ma'abara (we still lived in tents) I was not there. They did not give my father clear answers when he asked where I was. He searched and searched the entire place for a week. In the end, one of the Yemenite families told him that they saw me with a couple, a man and a woman who went to Pardes Katz. I just remember that I cried a lot, I asked for my father and mother, and they did not return me to my parents. That couple were not young, they brought me toys and tried to make me happy. They were of Polish descent I think, and they had no children. Father finally came and found me, cursed them in Yemenite Arabic and took me, and since then he was protecting me. Father lived in great fear. He said to me, "Why did we come to Israel? So that they take our children from us?"
Mother told me "you must look for your sister every day". I said to mother "How will I find her?!", and she answered: "You are smart". I really want to find her, I'm the only one left still alive from the whole family, the parents died and the brothers too.
I wish I could find her, even if she had passed away already, I would come and light a candle for her. She is my sister. I wish a day would come when they would bring out this truth... They came here like kings. They were not poor, the road made them poor.
Sara Tzadok ni Vahab
My late mother would come to the nursery to visit my sister and breastfeed her and after a few days they told her to leave, they pushed her out of the nursery by force. The nurse told her "Go away you idiot, what do you want, what are you screaming for? What are you yelling about?
When they took me, I only remember that I cried a lot, I asked for my father and mother and they did not return me to my parents. They brought me toys and tried to make me happy