Iris Tzafrir was born and raised in the Northern Negev desert of Israel on Kibbutz Mishmar-Hanegev, a small agricultural community about 30 minutes west from the Southern Israeli city of Be’er-Sheva. She is the daughter of two Holocaust (Shoah in Hebrew) survivors. Her Mother Shari, of blessed memory, is originally from Gür, Hungary, and her Father Yehoshua (Joshua) of blessed memory is from Krakow, Poland.
Following World War II, Iris’ parents arrived, separately, in Israel. Growing up in a household of two parents who lost their families and survived the Nazi Death Camps left strong impressions. Dealing with the horrors in her family’s past were not the only impressions left with Iris. Iris carries a determination to tell her family’s story, and to share how she decided to use it as a place for hope for the next generation. It was Iris’ journey of telling her family’s story that led her to a remarkable discovery about her family.
This is part of her story.
When I heard that Elie Wiesel died
The moment stopped.
I noticed my movements slowing
While I was making breakfast on Saturday.
I stirred the egg batter
A little awkward
Trying really hard to understand
Questioning what the broadcast news just said.
I slowed down because a moment
Came to me
And slowly went by
When Elie died,
And when Aba passed.
When Aba passed an era died
And when Elie did too
That same era died again.
Two giants that were going to live forever
In my child’s mind
Arrived at the end’s beginnings, a year apart.
Aba and Elie were together
On the Death March
On the train to Buchenwald
Arriving at the Children’s Block 66
And liberated on April 11, 1945.
Aba’s frightened boy portrayed In The Illumination of Lightning
Elie’s shattered boy in Night
Told us the truth about their boyhood broken world,
Which they both did not want humanity to repeat.
With the pain, because of the pain, and despite the pain
Aba and Elie shared, memorialized, taught and ensured
We remember and remind
Yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Aba and Elie:
With your era dying
Your end is our beginning
The history you lived and told
Is our truth
Your legacy is our light.
Good night, and Thank You forever
Block 66 boys.