Yitzhak and Tuva Amiel

The Amiel family immigrated to Israel from Iran on March 20, 1950. Parents: Yitzhak and Tuva, and the children: Aaron, Miriam and David.

David was a year and two months old, and a few days after they arrived to Israel he was hospitalised at Hadassah Ziv. It is unclear if the family was living in Jerusalem or in one of the nearby transit camps.

The mother of the family, Tuva, visited the child every day and she claims that she saw his condition improving.

When she arrived to visit him one day she was told that the child had died. Despite the family's pleading, they were not given the child's body and they also were given neither the death certificate nor the location of the burial.

Over the years, and in light of the many stories that they heard of similar occurrences, the family tried to locate the child, or at least his grave, but did not succeed.

Attached here is a copy of the death certificate that they were given from the Shalgi Committee in the early 1990s, and an article from the newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth that was written with my mother and her brother in the days that the investigative committee dealt with the issue.

I recall hearing from my mother, and this also appears in the article, that they received the death certificate which said that he was buried a month before he died. Unfortunately, I was not able to locate this document.

Also in the burial record itself it appears that the date of death is March 29, 1950 and the burial authorisation is from February 28,1 1950, which is month earlier.

Generally, in the document itself there is a mismatch in dates. For example, the date the burial was ordered is given in the both the Gregorian and Hebrew calendar. But the two dates do not align with the same day. They are a month apart.

During the time of the committee's activities, it was conveyed to the family that he was buried in the old graveyard in Sheikh Badr. They went to this place together with a man by the name of Abu Najah from the Chevrah Kadisha [the Jewish burial society] of the Jerusalem community. He managed to point out the place of the grave, according to the old map that was in their hands. The whole the area was very neglected. My mother claims that when she returned there after a few days or weeks (it is not clear to me with whom or for what reason), the whole area was suddenly well kept and neat. There was new concrete and it was impossible to locate the place of the small grave.

A few claims that arose according to the family:

- The child David was born with six fingers and six toes. Therefore if the gravesite were found, it would be possible to determine whether he was buried there. Therefore even years later it should be easy to locate him.

- As you will see in the burial record, it appears that he was buried together with an additional baby (a handwritten line at the bottom of the form).

- After David, my mother gave birth to another daughter, who was born prematurely. Because my mother did not trust the hospital she took her home and raised her there in a shoebox with cotton wool. The girl of course survived.

- In the article it is described that after four years, when she gave birth to another daughter in the same hospital, also with six fingers and six toes, the hospital again refused to pass the girl to their custody.