Juliet and Joseph Samuh

Here are the details of the theft of my sister:

Name: Dalal Samuh.

Date of Birth: December 1950-January 1951.

Place of birth: Iraq.

Year of theft: 1951.

Place of theft: A centre in Sha’ar Aliyah in Haifa (or Rambam hospital).

Names of parents: Juliet and Joseph Samuh (later changed their last name to Yitzhak).

The Story:

My family’s tragedy - a story that begins like all others, but continues differently:

Sha’ar Aliyah in Haifa. My parents arrived there from Iraq, when they immigrated to Israel in the summer of 1951 with one girl, around 7 months old. A highly vivacious and developed girl. The girl had slight diarrhea and was taken by my mother to a kind of local centre to which she was referred. One of the times she came to breastfeed her, she was told that the girl was taken to Rambam Hospital.

My parents went there, and there they were told that she died. They were not given a death certificate and there was no grave. My parents did not speak a word of Hebrew, but believed the person who told them in the hospital, gesturing to his beard, that the girl will be buried by a rabbi.

My mother went back to the centre, presumably to take the girl's belongings, and here's the girl sitting in her bed! Together with my mother was my father's cousin, who also recognized the girl. Both approached the girl, but were pushed away by the staff on the grounds that this was not my mother's daughter.

These were my parents' first days in the country, days of innocence and faith. They never imagined they fell victim to a gang of baby traffickers. Sorrowful they carried on with their lives, struggling and preoccupied with financial difficulties, language difficulties and difficulties of integration. During the days of “austerity” they continued receiving food stamps for the girl and when the time came for her to be drafted into the army she received a draft notice. And go prove you have no sister……

I was born a year after the disappearance of my sister. I grew up with this story, which, with the loss of my parents’ innocence, took on the character of a government conspiracy story.

I took action on this matter in different ways, among which was testifying before the investigation committee in Jerusalem. There I pointed out to the judge that I was of Iraqi descent and asked that the name of the committee reflect the fact that not only children of Yemenis have been kidnapped. The judge patronizingly rebuked me for it.

When Dalia Itzik promised to work toward the creation of a genetic database, I called her and her secretary held me on the line for a long time to take my information. Only after no one got back to me in order continue the process did I realize that Dalia Itzik did not really mean to benefit the unfortunate, but….

The continuation of my parents' story is even more tragic, and it became only my mother's story. After my birth, my mother had no more children and I remained her only child. Toward the end of her life, father, who left home by that time, found a way to abuse my mother and spread the word, publicly and among my mother's family, that the stolen daughter found him and they were reunited. According to him, the lost daughter, who in the meantime became a grandmother, heard from him how terrible my mother is and therefore does not want any contact with her... He carried away with this story my mother’s family, who were very excited, and very angry with my mother and me for not believing the story.

My father continued to breathe life into this story. When he later on said he was traveling to the daughter, who was living in Canada, for a DNA test, we anticipated he would have to somehow end the fiction, and that was indeed what happened: he “came back from Canada” and said wasn’t able to give a DNA test because my sister died of cancer in his arms during his stay with her in Canada…

And that's the end of the story?

Please, help us write a better ending to this story.