Work title : “My aunt Mina and her son Shmuel never came back from Auschwitz”. 2015, 9.18 minutes
This is the story about my mother’s elder sister Mina Segal in Hagher and her son Shmuel, who lived in Oradea, Transilvania, that at the time of the World War II was part of Hungary. Mina’s parents were from a small town in Moldova, in the north of Romania. Although the German Nazi were not present with their SS army in the country, they were allied to the Romanian general Antonescu, who with
his legionaries accomplished the antisemitic exterminations of the Jewish population over there.
In the years 1935-1936, my auntie Mina met a Jewish boy from Oradea who came to study dentistry. They felt in love, married and soon after they moved to his town. The young couple had only son Shmuel, who was five years old, when together with his mother nearly at the end of the war they were transferred to Auschwitz and from there they never return back home.
My grandmother Sabina made big efforts to bring them to Bucarest, where the family moved in the years 1938-39 and there the attrocities of the general Antonescu were less in force. Mina refused and she wanted to remain home with Shmuel and wait for her husband Izi, who being a dentist, he was taken to the labor force and not to the concentration camps.
In 1944 in Hungary, when Adolf Eichmann came in power, he started to organize the transport of the Jews to the extermination camps and Oradea become “Judenfrei”, that means “Without any Jew”.
In 1945 at the end of the war when Izi came home, he found the house empty and closed and the neighbours told him that his wife and son were captured by the German Nazi. Today the only things left in their memory are the two pages that my mother filled in Yad VaShem, in Jerusalem, which is the permanent House of all the Holocaust victims.
I was born in Bucarest, Romania, on June 17, 1947 from Jewish parents. On February 1948, when I was just seven months old, my family took refuge in Asmara, Eritrea, in order to escape the Communist regime. I grew up over there, where I attended the local Italian school, being Eritrea an ex-Italian colony in the east part of Africa. In 1967, with the Six Days War, I moved to Israel to complete my University studies and to achieve a new life. The aim was also to realize my father’s ideal : Zionism, which was part of his unaccomplished dream since his childhood.
The twenty years which I lived in Asmara, left on me a deep influence on my way of life and culture which till to-day I can not forget neither cancel from my memories.
I live in Israel from more than 40 years and I went also through many difficult moments in this new country always exposed to the risk of wars and terrorist acts. In spite of all that I never thought to move away. My knowledge of foreign languages as Italian, English, Romanian, French and Hebrew, and graduated from Tel Aviv University, made me an international and cosmopolitan figure. It started when I wrote my first book in Italian and afterwords it was also translated in Romanian and completed by my documentary film.
All my works are based on the life of my late father, Herscu Saim Cahan, a big Zionist that escaped the Holocaust and the Communism but he could never realize his real dream in life : to live in Israel, although he was always a succeful business man and a big