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I Realized the Dream of My Youth (cont.)

Rivka Milun (right) and her sister Batya in the Yard of the Sarver Family Home
Ramat-Gan, 1953

Aliza Silbersein (Sarver): If you ask me what Dusiat means to me I'll point to this photo. Batya and Rivka's visit to our home caused such excitement and a great impression upon me.

Jack-Yaacov Milun in the South Africa Military Camp during WW2

Batya Yardeni (Milun): My brother Yaacov was taken captive by the Germans in Tubruk, and from there they took him to a camp near Genoa in Italy. When the Germans advanced towards Italy, Yaacov and his friend decided to escape to the south of Italy. Yaacov reached Naples and hid there for some time and then continued further south and reached a South African military camp. From there he got a “ride” and reached Cairo by plane. I remember that on Yom Kippur 5704 (October 1943) we got a telegram that Yaacov had survived.

For his actions he was awarded two bravery citations from the British Kingdom.

South African Jewry was not the same as American Jewry. In South Africa, the Lithuanian Jews had made their mark. Both Yiddish and Hebrew were spoken at home. It was very hard to find a seat in the Sea Point shul [synagogue].

In Cape Town we founded the Herzlia School. We went from house to house suggesting that the children be sent to a Hebrew school.

In the beginning there were only a few students. In 1958, when my daughter Goldie graduated, there were 16 pupils in her class. Last year, in 1982, 122 pupils graduated. Today (1983) there are 2000 pupils in four buildings, and I am proud to have taken part in the establishment of this educational institution.

My wife, Nancy, took care of the house and the children, and I was an active Zionist. Eretz Yisrael was in my bones.

My daughter Goldie graduated from the seminary in November 1961, and on December 2 I escorted her to Johannesburg on her way to Israel. And ever since, every year I have visited Israel.

Why from Exile to Exile?

Five years ago, in 1977, I was sitting in my factory office with my two sons who worked with me. I told them: “I think that I will leave the factory to you and go to Israel.” So my son Ezriel said: “And I am going to America.” I was shocked, and I asked him: ”Why from exile to exile?”

When I told my friends that I was going to Israel they tried to tease me, saying: “Are you looking for trouble?” …

On February 5, 1978 my wife Nancy and I made aliya.

Memorial service to the Dusiat Community: 3 Elul 1941 - 3 Elul 1982
Beit Lohamei Haghettaot

From left to right: Reuvke Milun between his daughter Goldi and his wife Nancy, Rachel Friedman, Raya Krut (Gilinsky), Feigale Krom-Sher (Adelman), Batya Aviel (Levitt), Riva and Yosef Yavnai (Slep), Rachel Rabinowitz (Slovo), Tzila Gudelsky (Shub), Henia and Nahum Sneh

Memorial Rally

While attending the memorial rally at Beit Lohamei Haghetaot [Ghetto Fighter's House, August 1982], I had a special surprise. I met my childhood friend, Michke Barron. We stood there face to face, and it took each of us a few seconds to recognize who was standing there. With tears of joy we fell into each other's arms. What excitement! For fifty years we had not seen each other!

On that occasion I was asked what had driven me to make aliya. I answered without hesitating: “I decided to throw away the golden calf and come home.” And I really meant it.

I am very happy to be here. This is our land.

It is not easy being an oleh hadash [new immigrant], but for me it was easier. I know Hebrew. For those who do not know the language and are not as Zionist as I am, it would be much more difficult.

What do I do? I volunteer at Tel Hashomer Hospital. This is what we were educated for since childhood.

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