An American Holocaust Survivor’s Child’s Perspective on the October 7, 2023 Hamas Surprise Attack on Civilian Israelis

So much has been said since the October 7, 2023, surprise attack by the terrorist group, Hamas, on civilian Israelis.  As a child of Holocaust survivors, I was exposed by my parents’ daymares and nightmares to the horrors they experienced at the hands of the Nazis while I was too young. If you put Holocaust into the search on my website, and have the stomach to stand for more horrors and inhumanity to mankind, take a look at my parents’ lives and the impact upon me.  How did this new horror affect this grandmother of six Jewish grandchildren?  Much like the Kubler-Ross stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

You must ask, how acceptance?

Antisemitism has existed in every era, and in seems in almost every country, and exists today.  I will never understand it.  Even when Jews are the ones who lose their lives to help others, like the freedom movements in the 1960’s where Jews were out front supporting and dying with the Blacks, a time not too long in terms of history, more Black movements than not today exhibit antisemitism! 

See, this obituary of Rabbi Israel “Sy” Dresner, who was one of the earliest Freedom Riders in the 1960s and was close with Martin Luther King. See, this obituary of Abraham Joshua Heschel published by the King Institute.

Jews have been slaves throughout history, under the Nazis less than eighty years ago.  My parents were slaves to the Nazis and saw their loved ones tortured and slaughtered before their very eyes.  I was born in a displaced persons camp in Germany almost seventy-seven years ago, and suffer the emotional consequences of the horrors they experienced, even today.

Jews have been expelled from so many countries in the world over the generations.  The Spanish Inquisition, the Portuguese Inquisition, and many that I did not even know about until recently.  In The New York Times, on April 23, 2023, I read, “Turning Over the Stones of England’s Lost Jewish Past: Around eight centuries ago, Jews thrived in England, worshiping freely and living where they pleased. Then everything changed. You can uncover their stories, if you know where to look,” about how most English do not know about the medieval Jewish community in England, expelled, that there were pogroms in England . . . .

. . . .[a]t the same time, successive monarchs rolled back Jews’ rights and protections and wrung ever more money out of them — not just through loans but also special taxes, extortion and appropriation — to fund their own lavish lifestyles and undertake pet projects, like waging wars and building castles, churches and other landmarks like Westminster Abbey.”

See also, Wikipedia, about the “Expulsion,” in England, the story of the sinking of Jews, and more, even that Jews are specifically addressed in the Magna Carta. See, also, “Magna Carta’s Three Jewish Clauses,” September 4, 2014.

My Husband and I visited the country of Jordan to experience the wonder of the world, Petra.  Our small group of less than twenty, some Jewish, some not, were guided by a descendent of a displaced Palestinian after the 1948 war in Israel.  How did we find out? As we drove along the Jordan River, he pointed to the land across the river, and referred to it as Palestine.  One of the non-Jews in the group, said, “isn’t that Israel?”  Our guide went into an emotional discussion that before 1948, the establishment of Israel, it was Palestine and will always be Palestine.  Jews are trespassers with no historic connection with the land and no right to remain.  He is waiting for the day when he and the Palestinians can expel the Jews and he can reclaim his grandfather’s land, for which he has a map from his grandfather outlining its boundaries.  He and his family have remained in a refugee camp since 1948, and will for generations until that happens, refusing to participate in free Jordanian education and life, as to keep their goal alive.

Our Christian tour member took out his iPad and went to the website,  He showed our guide the Old Testament, which the guide questioned as false narrative.  He was asked to go to any website with the Old Testament to look again.

After his own research, our guide did not acknowledge the truth of what he read.  His final response was that he had NEVER heard this before.  He said he never learned that in his school in the Palestinian refugee camp, nor read it or heard it anywhere else.  He said he never heard that we Jews are descendants of the Jews who lived in the ancient times in Canaan (which today constitutes Israel and what is known as the Palestinian ruled areas). Judaism emerged from the beliefs and practices of the people known as “Israel.” Jews lived and practiced Judaism primarily in and around the lands that are modern Israel up to the year 70 CE when we were expelled and since dispersed around the world.

In the current High Holy Days (2023/2024) the Jews celebrated the year of 5784. 5784 years!

This was the first time I personally realized there was no and is no hope for the Jews to live peacefully in Israel.  A professionally trained guide for a highly rated international travel organization never learned the above.  Even the U.N., on its website, seems to begin its discussion with the first world war and British control of Palestine, not the historic land of Israel.

How can we expect that any of the worldwide masses of those against Israel not believe that they should attempt to wipe Israel and Jews from the earth. . . again.

Yet, I did not expect what has just happened and is happening.

Why? My parents were partisans and fighters and survived the Holocaust.  Jews everywhere, especially Israel, know that we are primary targets for evil doers, of which there are many.  I thought Israel would perpetually be on high alert.  How did a large concert not have protection?  How did the border towns and kibbutzim not have perpetual protection? Never again means never again.  Yet, again? A pogrom again? (pogrom definition: an organized massacre of Jewish people which has occurred in countries of the world during various centuries).

On one of the news channels, I heard an Israeli spokesperson express ire at expecting Israel, in a war, to provide the tools (food, water, electricity, and more) to the enemy to arm them to kill more Israelis and what other army at war in the history of mankind, except the Jews, were required or asked to do that, in a siege or battle of war?  As Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has vowed, the terrorist organization Hamas must be eliminated.  Israel has dropped leaflets warning their civilians that Hamas is using them as human shields.  Some civilians are leaving the immediate targeted area and some are not.  How is Israel then to identify Hamas terrorists who will hide among the civilians in an attempt to massacre the Israeli soldiers?  Is the impossible expected of others than the Jews?

Israel has fought many wars, where it has been only the defender, and the world seems to seek to require Israel to give up land, and now lives, when attacked.  This evil attack by terrorists upon innocent Israeli civilians has unleashed antisemitism and attacks against Jews worldwide.

I just finished reading the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal, October 14 and 15, 2023, with many articles and editorials on the current conflict.  The professional writers in many of the headlines and articles express my thoughts and feelings better than I, especially Peggy Noonan’s editorial: “The October Horror is Something New: It was Savagery as Strategy, and Surely Calculated to Elicit a Particular Response,” whose quotes are significant to me:

“There is no cause on earth that justifies what these murderers did.  There is no historical grievance that excuses or “gives greater context” to their actions.  Spare me “this is the inevitable result when a people are long abused.” No, this is what happens when savages hold the day: They imperil the very idea of civilization.”

“This wasn’t “soldiers morally brutalized by war who, in a frenzy, butchered people.”  Butchering people was the aim.  It is what they set out to do.  This wasn’t cruelty as an offshoot: it was cruelty as an intention.”

“What Hamas did was stone evil.  Tell the world and show the world, over and over.”      

No more pogroms.  Hamas is a terrorist organization that must be destroyed like Isis.

Everyone, everywhere stand with Israel.  

With little joy,


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