Archives for July 2012

Orna Shurani to Celebrate 84th Birthday, Saved 27 Jewish Men

Arutz 7

July 22, 2012

By Chana Ya’ar

Later this month, Orna Shurani of Nahariya will celebrate her 84th birthday. For this particular woman, birthdays are a time of serious reflection as she risked her life on numerous occasions between 1944 and 1945 to save 27 Jewish men from Nazi persecution in Hungary. At several different points during that period, Orna was certain that she would not see her next birthday.

Now, so many years later, Orna is a recognized Righteous Among the Nations, a privilege that has earned her the right to live out her golden years in Israel surrounded by friends and family – a happy ending she could never have imagined. Born Erna Csizmadia in Hungary in 1928, Orna was the youngest of three sisters. The Csizmadia family was very close and Orna’s older sisters, Olga and Malvina, were very protective of her. [Read more…]

Call to Action: Help Us Launch the ‘Jewish Tooth Fairy Fund’

Allow us to introduce you to the ‘Jewish Tooth Fairy Fund,’ ATZUM’s newest initiative.  The project is focused on providing a full range of dental services to Israeli survivors of terror attacks and their families who cannot afford the treatments and have no access to dental insurance.  Survivors of terror attacks often require dental intervention as a result of their injuries.  Additionally, many terror survivors who have reached advanced age require dentures they cannot afford, while those of any age often have teeth negatively affected by their long stays in hospitals and rehabilitation facilities and suffer pain and poor self-image as a result.

In each of these cases, ATZUM serves as an address to which these individuals can turn for financial and practical assistance in obtaining the dental care they so urgently require. However, we need your help to make the Jewish Tooth Fairy Fund a reality. [Read more…]

Righteous Among the Nations Bella Liper: 1917-2012

ATZUM is saddened to announce the passing of Bella Liper, a Righteous Among the Nations and all-around extraordinary individual who lived in Haifa for over 60 years.

Here is her story:

Bella Liper was born in 1917 in Kiev, Ukraine as Valentina Yakimova.

As the only girl among five children, Bella was pampered by her parents and enjoyed a very happy and comfortable childhood.  In school, Bella met Luvka Liper, a Jew from the area.  Later, they married and finished their education together. In 1941, Bella gave birth to their first daughter, Hanna.

When the Nazis reached Bella’s hometown, all of the Jews were ordered to gather in the ghettos.  Bella decided to smuggle her husband out of the ghetto and hid him in her room. Soon, they realized that this arrangement was unsafe and they looked for a new hiding place.  They decided that Luvka would hide in the storage area below the house, a large space created between the ground and the floor by the house’s wooden support beams.

As time passed, several members of Luvka’s extended family came to Bella for help. Without a second thought, she welcomed each of them warmly and hid them in the hiding place below her house. After three weeks, there were seven people under Bella’s care. Bella kept them all safe and well-fed until 1945, when the Russian soldiers had conquered the area.

After the Russians took over, the Germans were forced to escape.  As they retreated, they burned everything within 300 meters of the railroad tracks to ensure that no one would attack the German trains and they would have a clean getaway.  Because Bella’s house was located next to the railroad, the whole group, including Bella, Luvka, their baby and Luvka’s extended family, was forced to escape and find refuge elsewhere.  After traveling a great distance by foot, the group happened upon a safe house.  They stayed there until 1948, when Bella, Luvka and little Hanna immigrated to Israel.

In Israel, Luvka was immediately drafted to the army.  Bella settled down in a little apartment in Haifa, where she gave birth to her second child, a son.  After Luvka was released from the army, the family bought a new house and lived a peaceful life in Haifa.

A few years ago, Luvka passed away, and Bella moved into an apartment in Kiryat Eliezer.  Though she missed Luvka, she was never alone – her big loving family, including actual family members and her extended ATZUM family, visited her all the time.

On Friday, July 13, Bella passed away at the age of 95.  She was laid to rest by family and friends at the Old Haifa Cemetery. 

May her memory always be a blessing for the Jewish people and a constant reminder of the humanity within us all.

Yael Rosen
Project Coordinator, Righteous Among the Nations