On Yom Hashoah, life comes to a halt in Israel. At 10 o’clock, the sirens wail, and the country remembers the Jewish victims of the Nazi genocide. One of the survivors of the concentration camps is Zvi Cohen, born as Horst Cohn in Berlin in 1931. His childhood was initially marked by exclusion, then by violence from Hitler Youth who attacked him in his street. He never left the apartment and experienced the air raids on Berlin from the fourth floor because, as a Jew, he was not allowed in the air-raid shelter. In 1943, he and his parents were deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp, where he endured diseases and hunger for two years. His maternal grandparents starved to death in Theresienstadt, and almost his entire father’s family was murdered in the Holocaust. Along with his parents, he secured a place on the so-called “Swiss Transport,” which, on Himmler’s initiative, brought Jews from Theresienstadt to freedom in exchange for medication for the SS. In Switzerland, the 14-year-old was approached by a kibbutznik looking for members for a kibbutz in Israel. Since the family didn’t know where else to go, they decided to choose life in Israel. On September 1, 1945, the Cohen family arrived at Kibbutz Ma’abarot, where Zvi spent his entire life.

The exhibition entry showcases the memorial ceremony on the eve of the commemorative day at the kibbutz, where Zvi, as the last living Holocaust survivor in Ma’abarot, lights the candles. The official memorial ceremony is held at Kibbutz Givat Chaim, where numerous survivors of the Theresienstadt concentration camp founded the Terezin House Memorial. Speaking about his experiences is both a matter of concern and a form of mourning for Zvi. The personal perspective is crucial to him, and he criticizes the formalized memorial policies in both Germany and Israel. On this day, he remembers his four grandparents, his family, and numerous friends who were killed. His greatest worry is that with the passing of the last witnesses, the Holocaust will become a forgotten part of history.