Esther’s Story: Chapter 5

Chapter 5

After regaining her strength, Esther decided to return to Poland, where she joined other Holocaust survivors in the city of Lodz. She made new friends, and they were all planning to make aliya together, as part of the Dror youth movement. The State of Israel was not established until 1948, but many Holocaust survivors tried to immigrate to the place they considered their ancient Jewish homeland in the Mandate for Palestine after the war. The British governed the area, however, and strictly limited immigration. As a result, many Jews took part in a secret immigration, called Ha’apala.

Testimony: “Preparing For Aliyah”

“We knew it wasn’t legal, but it didn’t matter to us.”

—Esther Shlapin

In 1946, Esther boarded a ship called the “Latrun,” but like other similar ships, it was captured by the British and all the people on board were sent to an internment camp on Cyprus in order to discourage further attempts at “illegal” immigration. Every month, a specific number of Jews was released. After several months, Esther was released to make aliya, and she found her way to live on a kibbutz called Kibbutz Ginossar.

Esther in the kibbutz fields.

Esther in the kibbutz fields.

	Esther and her husband, Avraham, in 1959.

Esther and her husband, Avraham, in 1959.

Esther’s return to normal life was a difficult experience. Hearing a child yell out “Mom!” would cause Esther to run back to her room to be alone. She tried to write down what happened to her during the war, but she destroyed everything she had written. She preferred not to remember.

Later, Esther helped to found the Ghetto Fighters’ Kibbutz. She married another survivor named Avraham in 1949, and they had children. Esther dedicated herself to her family, hoping that her troubles would not be passed on to the next generation.

Esther and her husband, Avraham, with two of their children.

Esther and her husband, Avraham, with two of their children.

Chapter 5



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