“As a young girl, I lived through the Holocaust in the Netherlands, and later in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany.
At the age of 12, I returned to the Netherlands with my mother and two older siblings. My father did not survive Bergen-Belsen.
It was clear to me that I would move to Israel, and at the age of twenty I did just that. I met and married Aki, who is originally from South Africa, we settled in Kibbutz Tzora, where we still live today, and we started to build our family.
Our five children all served in the IDF (Zahal) and I was proud of every one of them, especially Ran, who was a pilot in the Air Force. He was grievously killed in a helicopter accident.
Our children raised beautiful families, and now, five of our grandchildren serve in the IDF (Zahal).
It is a special feeling, knowing the there is continuity. They are my personal victory!”
–Mirjam Lapid-Andriesse, 81, Holocaust Survivor
Mirjam Lapid-Andriesse was born on April 17, 1933, in Deventer, Netherlands. The Nazis invaded the Netherlands when Mirjam was seven, and in a short time, laws restricting the Jews were put into place and forced upon them. They had to wear a yellow star, were isolated from public life and eventually, Jewish children, including Mirjam, were not allowed to attend school.
Mirjam was the only Jewish child at her school, and when the Nazis came to take Jewish children out of class, Mirjam’s principal tried to protect her, and was beaten up by the German soldiers. For the next two years, Mirjam studied in a makeshift class that was established by the Jewish community.
In 1943, Mirjam and her family were taken to the Ghetto in Amsterdam. In July of the same year, they were deported to the Westerbork concentration camp. In January 1944, Mirjam and her family were transported to Bergen-Belsen. Of the 3,000 dutch Jews sent to the concentration camp, only 600 survived.
Mirjam’s father died in the camp, but she survived along with her mother and two older siblings. The four of them were liberated in April 1945. In 1953, Mirjam arrived in Israel, where she met her husband, Aki, and started her family.