Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Noemi Engel Ebenstein - July 22, 1996

Reunited with Father

You have the ad?

Yeah. And, um, anyway, um, so there was word from my father and then later on somebody came back and brought a note from my father, and I have the note as well. And the first night of Hanukkah--this I remember--there was like a very wide street, like a boulevard, you know, in Budapest--Wilmastrasse route. I remember we were crossing it and we ran into my mother's cousin and my, he said to her, "Lily" my mother's name "you, at your brother's there is a surprise for you." So she said, "A surprise for me? Maybe my brother bought Hanukkah presents for the kids." So he said, "No, it's for you." And she said, "Did Gezal come back?" my father. And we went there and I remember how we got up the stairs and the door was open and there was this tall Russian soldier. My father was in Russian uniform. He was a stranger. He was taken away when I was 11 months old and I was four and a half years old. I did not know him. And, in fact, sometime, a day or two later, or I don't know when, I said to him to go back to Russia because he took away my mother. I was extremely attached to my mother. Um, I think that what remained with me, what I mentioned before, the fear, is an incredible abandonment anxiety that I worked on in, um, my own psychotherapy. Um, being left in the barracks all day long, all the time. I don't know what it is. But then I saw, I see some of it in my daughter Yael and I used to say, "the concentration camp in Southfield?" You know! But I was, I was really extremely attached to my mother. There was a summer camp that we were sent to. Um, all the surviving children, on, on the Dalmatian coast. And it was to put some life back into us, you know. That was in summer of 1946. And I missed my mother something terrible. That remained with me even when I was 12 years old in Israel. I went to a overnight camp for the first time, and I couldn't bear it. Physically each time these summer camps were very good for me in terms of the fresh air and the sun and, uh, the food. But emotionally they were excruciatingly painful, being separated from my mother.

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