Thursday, May 19, 2022

The Nurse Was Killed By A Shell Thirteen Days After Independence

We had to do a couple of things in Jerusalem yesterday, so we stopped by two family graves.


The Mount of Olives

My cousin Bruce in Beer Sheva has wanted to visit his uncle's grave since he arrived here from New Jersey a few years ago. Bruce's grandfather was the younger brother of my great-grandmother, so he is my father's second cousin, though he is a bit younger than I. Avraham Kwoczka is the only first cousin of any of my grandparents buried here in Israel and I visited his grave some years ago.

We met Bruce and his wife Yehudit in Jerusalem and went up together.

It's easy to find and only a short walk from one of the parking areas. This image is from the Mt. of Olives website. He doesn't show up at all on the popular newish Graves app.

Click on the image to see the full grave page on our family website.

He had no children.


Mt. Herzl

She was twenty-eight.
Last year I wrote about my father's half second cousin Egon Riss who was a doctor in the Old City during the War of Independence seventy-four years ago, which I had only learned about the time of that blog, 

His wife was a nurse at nearby Hadassah Hospital and was killed thirteen days after independence by an enemy shell. Today is her yahrzeit and it was quite unintentional that I visited her grave yesterday.

Here is my translation of her entry in the IDF memorial site.

Hava Zhezmer Riss, the daughter of Fruma and Yaakov, was born on the twentieth of Tammuz 5679 (18 July 1919) in Tel-Aviv. She studied at the "Talpiyot" school and the "Balfour" high school in Tel-Aviv. Afterwards she was accepted to "Hadassah" Nursing School in Jerusalem and was accredited as a nurse and a midwife. She worked at Hadassah Hospital on Mt. Scopus and with great love attended to the sick and the new mothers, particularly from the poorer neighborhoods of Jerusalem, taking great pride in her work. All her patients would forever remember her kindness and patience. She was a modest woman, a characteristic she inherited from her parents, at home, at school , at work and as a member of the Haganah resistance movement. After she married, she continued to work and to support her husband's medical studies. Twice they miraculously avoided injury on their way to work during the siege of Jerusalem - she in the hospital and he as doctor of the Old City itself.

On 18 Iyyar 5708 (27 May 1948), the day before the fall of the Old City, while on her way to the hospital, she was hit by a shell and died on the spot. She was buried in [the temporary cemetery] known as Sheikh Bader [near the Knesset]. On 28 Elul 5710 (10 September 1950), her remains were transferred to the permanent site at the military cemetery on Mt. Herzl.

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