Daily Israel Report

The Miracle of a Chabad House Survivor

David Bialka of Netanya still is trying to fathom his escape from terrorists in the Chabad House. "The Creator has given me a new life," he said.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 12/3/2008, 2:49 PM

Photo: Courtesy of Channel Two

David Bialka of Netanya is trying to understand how he still is alive after escaping Muslims terrorists in the Mumbai Chabad House. "The Creator has given me a new life," he said four days after escaping what seemed certain death at the hands of the terrorists. [Click here for televison video in Hebrew.]

A diamond dealer by trade, Bialka said he had laid down to rest in his Chabad House room shortly after having eaten with Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, who later were murdered along with four Chabad House guests. He heard several explosions but initially thought they were firecrackers.

When the sound of gunfire crackled from the stairwell, however, he realized what was happening and said he saw that his only escape was through a window in his fourth-floor bathroom. He climbed on top of the pipes and then outside on to the equipment connected to the air conditioner units and managed to descend to the second floor while the terrorists began their rampage inside.

"I went down to the ground and hoped they would not notice me. Glass was breaking from every direction," he said. "When I reached the ground, the local Indians were sure I was a terrorist and knocked me down all the time. I said 'Shema Yisrael' [the prayer Jews say immediately before death -ed.] and kept getting up and fled."

Police then arrested him and kept him in custody until the next day, when he arranged for a flight back home. In Netanya, doctors in the hospital examined him and then released him. It was only after Shabbat, during which Jews are prohibited from turning on television and radio, that he learned of the murders of the Jews in the Chabad House.

"I learned about the deaths on Sunday. They informed me that Rivki and Gabi [the Holtzbergs], the righteous ones, were murdered and that only little Moishe [their two-year-old] remained" alive, he told reporters sadly. Moishe was saved by his Indian nanny who snatched him and fled the building.