Hello, my name is Rina Bechar. I was born in Berlin, Germany, in 1932. I grew up there until I was ten.
Two days after my seventh birthday, the war started. I remember that day, a bleak day, everyone was sad and that was the beginning of hard times.
Three years later I was sent with my parents to a concentration camp called Theresienstadt where I stayed, until the end of the war, under very bad conditions. There was no school for the children, our parents worked and we roamed the streets alone all day long, nothing to do, no toys, very few books.
May 8, 1945, was the last day of the war. I'll never forget that day to the end of my life. The Germans, running away from the Russians, came near and fired into our camp and hit some people. I was lucky and wasn't hit. I was 11, almost 12. We hid in the cellars, under the beds, afraid of more shooting. Suddenly, at ten at night, someone shouted: Come out! The Russians are here! We are saved, we are free! There is no danger! We ran out, so happy, and we saw the Russians with their huge tanks, and we hugged them and they gave us sweets. It was a wonderful day. We were happy, and we had food and didn't go hungry anymore.
A few moths later we could go back home. I went with my mother to Berlin to our previous house, but the house had been bombed and destroyed. We didn't know where to turn. I was 12 and mother was alone. We rented a flat, I went to school. There was terrible hunger in Berlin so after a while we went to a town in the north where we waited for our turn to make Aliya. You couldn't just emigrate whenever you wanted, because it was three years before Israel became a state. Mother worked for a living, I went to school and when I was 16 we were notified that we could emigrate. We crossed France by train. It took a day and a half to get to Marseilles and we waited there one week in a transit camp for the boat. On May 23, 1949, I came to Israel, 16 and half years old, and you could say I was reborn.