It was the 5th Discus Throw at the 1960 Olympic Trials in Israel that made everything happened. Without this record throw I would not write this book. However, it was the eight years in Hadassim, that made me throw the discus so far. These were my close friends that I have grown with that allow that to happen.
After 55 years I was looking back and remember all my friends. However I did not know much about them. In Hadassim we were not talking with each other on the past. We were one family but no one knew about the life history of the others. We had present and future, but not past.
The holocaust survivors would not talk about how they had to see their parents killed. They did not tell about the survival time in horrible conditions.
The children with family problems did not want to discuss their problems at home and discuss their parents.
The children that put in Hadassim because their parents were in the government or belong to leaders that could not make them grow normal life at their home, did not want and understand why they were let out of their family to live in Hadassim.
The Hadassim Family for years live and grow together
One thing we knew: Who are we:
Our story is the story of the Generation of the State, the generation forged during
the founding of the State of Israel. Two generations of Zionist life in the land of
ascended to the elite and the elite learned to live uncorrupted by their privileges.
Many of the kids in Hadassim who’d lived through the Holocaust were, in fact, the moral
and intellectual elite of our generation. Not only had they been better cultivated in the European
Diaspora, but their hard-won battles for survival had endowed them with moral and psychological virtues of far greater reach. In order to harness their latent strength, however, they first needed a warm and understanding home; they needed friends who would keep close to them rather than labeling them “soaps” -- a cruel jibe at their near-immolation at the concentration camps – as was so
much the custom in the cities and Kibbutzim. They needed teachers who would also be friends.
The children of the Holocaust were given all of these things in Hadassim. The
Avigdor Shachan. The majority of their age group hadn’t survived, and those who did carried scars in their souls that compromised their full development. But in Hadassim,
Ephraim, Avigdor and their friends did the seemingly impossible.
After 60 years we did not know the story of the past of our Hadassim Family. Ann and I were now Married and one day she asked me about the history of some of the kids in Hadsassim who she met in some of our trips to Israel. I did not know the answer. However, as usual the “Kid with the dreams” was dreaming another event. How about to organize a big Reunion? Invite all the “kids” that I grew with to the best event I can offer. Would they come? I did not know. I called my friend Hillel (known as Chile) and asked him. He thought it is a good idea but was doubt that anyone of us will tell their stories.
I was thinking about my friends. I remembered one of my classmates his name is Uri Milstein. In the 10th grade we had to prepare in the literature class a composition each weekend on selected subject. On Sunday class the teacher would at random ask two of the pupils to read their composition in front of the whole class. I would usually calculate the probability of the teacher calling me, and few weeks I would take the chance of not writing the composition but having more time to throw the discus. Luckily I was never caught and when I was called I had the composition prepare.
However with Uri it is another story. One week we were assigned to write a composition regarding the independent War of Israel in 1948. I decided to take a chance and not write anything. But was happy to hear others. Uri was selected at that Sunday to read his composition. It was a fabulous presentation. Detail and dates and amazing stories from the War which we learned throughout the course. Uri’s composition was so good that the teacher asked him to give him the notebook so we will published it to everyone in Hadassim to have a copy. The teacher insist and actually approached Uri and extend his hand to receive the notebook. Uri, handed the notebook. The teacher Shalom Dotan, thank him and open the notebook. It was empty. Needless to say that Uri got in trouble and had require to write the whole speech again or to suffer F grade in the class.
I have never forgot this event. It fascinated me for years. I had in mind that we must find the information about the “kids” and no one could be better to write it than Uri Milstein. I did not have any connection with Uri for 50 years. I did not know anything about him all these years. But I have remembered the event in Class.
I called Hillel on day and asked him if he knows where I can get hold of Uri. He did not know but told me that Uri is a very famous writer by then and infect wrote over 20 books very popular in Israel. I told Hillel that he must find him. And, he did.
I called Uri from the US: “Hello Uri, how are you?” “who is that?” He answer. “This is Gideon”.
Uri got very excited and we had long conversation about the past and present where suddenly I told him: “Uri, we must write a book about the kids in Hadassim. No one know the past. We only knew the present and we now know the future, but we do not know the past, we must write it and give to each of the “kids” the book in the Reunion that I am planning.”
At first, Uri thought it is impossible task but told me that he will try. We agreed on the price and I told him that I want a hard copy first class book with photos. He told me that this will cost allot. I told him that I do not care and just to let me know where to send the checks.
After a week of research, Uri told me that it will take 8 months to do the job and he will have to interview each one of the “Kids” that were with us in class and some that were above us and below us since it was significant for the content. I agreed and the job started. We called the book: “Oasis of Dreams”. Of course the scope of this book does not allow to include allot of material from this research that we did and published but I will include only some especially for the kids of the Holocaust We found their past from them after we lived with them for 10 years, and they told us the events after 60 years. They never told these events to anyone since. These are few Interviews that my friend and classmate in Elementary School and High School conducted with the “kids”.