Family History


Perhaps the event which had the most influence on my life was an event I did not take part in. It was the Holocaust of the Nazi era. Most of my family died. I am part of what remained. Hence, the following brief history of me and my family, is seeded in those days in what has been termed – for lack of words, „the other planet“.

These are of course the familiar pictures of the old and new Auschwitz camps. I took these pictures in 1996. Just as I was finishing my Phd at CERN in Geneva, I finally managed to persuade my father to show us the place which carved on his hand the number B1367. He was and is one of the youngest survivors of that place. Several years after the visit, and in the face of fierce opposition from my dad, I tattooed the number on my hand as well. It was not to be an act of demonstration against something or someone; It was a private statement saying to him: I understand and am with you to help you carry the pain.

The trip to the other planet.

My father, named Yesha‘ayahu after the prophet, was very patient and methodical in his explanations. 7 of
our family followed him around through the gas chambers and killing fields. It is quite amazing that although he was only 10, he remembers the finest of details about where he slept, what he ate and the smell of burning flesh day and night.

I followed him with my video...

Aside from personal details and stories, e.g. how the russian army saved him, he gave us his view of the broad macro world picture,
cultural, historical, religious and economical,
which led to these events. As if all his life
since then he was trying to understand.

On the train between the different sites, we read documents and tried to imagine the un-imagineable...

Here, my mother and father, Yifat (doing a PhD in Psycology and perhaps trying to understand through that aspect) and Hanni (a doctor).
Here, my sister Orna and my father‘s brother Aharon, going over documents

My father came on his own in 1947 to Israel to grow up in a childrens village (Ben Shemen), just to find that the village is under attack by Arab forces. Under the fear of massacre, the children were evacuated by British forces.

My mother, as will be explained in the following, also sufferred Immensely.

It will therefore always be amazing for me to remember how both of them always taught us to love any human being. To fight against any remnant of hate in our hearts. To go forward in the quest for a better realization of human spirit.

We also visited his home town of Piotrkow...

Here he is followed by my sister. The family had a printing house for religious books, and a small food shop.

Here we are at the Piotrkow train station. From left to right:
Kris (my wife),
Orna (my sister), Ahuva (my mother), Yifat (a second cousin), my father and myself, Aharon (my fathers brother) and Hanni (Yifat‘s father).

Back in Israel, the survivors from that town near Lodge, erected a model of their old synagouge which has been burnt to the ground.


Some pictures remain of the years before life collapsed...

(top right & bottom left) my father aged 2 with his parnets, in Poland 1935.
(top left) my father with his father and grandfather. The latter very religious and
the former very secular. This extreme shift was quite common in those days.
(bottom right) my grandfather and his cousin in 1928. The cousin did not
survive the war, and his son was hidden in a monestary and later brought to

Having lost her husband and one of her 3 children to the war, my grandmother Ruza came to Israel.

Having blue eyes & blond hair, she was able to sneak out of the Ghetto into the forbidden parts of town, to get some food and medicine.

In Israel she married Moses (Moshe in Hebrew) who lost his wife and 3 Children in the killing fields.

She wanted to live, to hear music, to travel and see the new world. He never left the house except to work or pray, and in many ways taught me, without words, that death can come much earlier than the time indicated by the stopping of the heart or brain. Death can simply come from sorrow.

In the years I have known him, Moshe also taught me through his stories how weak people are, in the sense of how quickly they turn into animals.

From my mother‘s side...

The Gordon family came from Minsk. The father of the family, Joseph, a top government engineer, his wife Rose, and their children Leon, Berny and Ahuva (In Hebrew-'the loved one‘).

Under intense bomardment from land and air, they managed to escape the progressing German army. After the war, they illegally crossed boarders, eventually finding themselves on the famous refugee ship named „Exodus“ bound for Israel. The British caught them in mid sea, and sent them back to Europe. In 1949 they eventually managed to arrive in Israel. Due to the harsh conditions and failing health, the family later moved to Australia, where the two sons reside until this day. My mother, having already met my father, stayed behind.

Here, with her older brother.
The Gordons, 1976
Here, Joseph, in 1995, not long before he passed away, together with my mother, her brother Leon, and myself, in Melbourne.


My parents met in evening highschool. They worked during the day to survive. Not knowing hebrew, my mother was sent to the mathematics class, eventually becoming an extra-ordinarily good dentist. My father became a professor of Biology at the Hebrew university and became a walking encyclopedia for history, music and what not.

They were beautiful parents in every respect.

In 1959 they had Michal, and then me in 1963. Orna came in 1970.

My mother and I in 1963.

My mother in 1965.
My father and I (still blond) in 1964. During my father‘s postdoc to England. My father later devoted 30 years to turning the Israeli cow into the #1 milk producer in the World. He was later asked by the UN to perform the same miracle in Africa... A task he found to be slightly harder...
Here in 1976, at the occasion of my Bar-Mitzva,
the traditional Jewish ceremony in which boys
are declared men....

My mother with her beautiful smile in 1977.

Another generation is added. My mother in 1997 with her grand-daughter, Sara.

Finally, my sisters and me....

Orna 1996.

Michal, Orna, Brendy and me 1976
Orna with Sara on the Tel-Aviv beach

Michal and I dancing in the late 70‘s

Michal later became very religious. She claimed that western society is very sick. I totally agree with her on the problem, but not on the solution....

And finally, two little pictures of me...


Los-Angles 1970.