The story of Lea Reuveni
'My faith was my source of strength'

Lea Reuveni was born in Iršava, Czechoslovakia. When the city came under attack, she took care of her younger siblings.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

The story of Lea Reuveni
The story of Lea Reuveni
Yad Vashem

Lea Reuveni was born in Iršava, Czechoslovakia in 1926, to Elias and Halana. In 1929, her family moved to Antwerp, Belgium.

When the city came under aerial attack in May 1940, her mother and two of her siblings disappeared. For eight months, Lea took care of her remaining younger siblings and the household.

Lea traveled to southern France with her two younger siblings and found her mother in the city of Quarante. Her father joined them a few weeks later.

In the summer of 1942, Jewish refugees were arrested in the city, but Lea succeeded in moving her family to the town of Chirac. There, her youngest brother was born.

In November 1942, the Germans occupied most of southern France and Lea’s father was arrested. Lea went to the local command center, succeeded releasing him, and they fled to Nice which was under Italian occupation. Afterwards, Lea managed to smuggle her mother and siblings into the city as well.

When the Germans occupied the area, Lea and her family fled to a monastery in the area of Florence.

In November 1943, the Germans raided the monastery. Lea convinced the Germans that she and her mother were Hungarian gentiles who had lost their papers. She managed to save other Jewish women in a similar manner.

Lea urged her mother to flee to Rome with the children. She stayed behind in the monastery in order to maintain contact with her father, but he was deported to the camps and murdered.

After liberation, Lea reunited with her family in Rome. In 1960, she immigrated to Israel and worked as a hospital nurse. Lea volunteers in a retirement home and visits lonely Holocaust survivors.

Lea Reuveni lit one of the torches at the official state memorial ceremony on Holocaust Memorial Day.