Ida Braunstein and her granddaughter Aya operate the siren
Ida Braunstein and her granddaughter Aya operate the siren IDF spokesperson

Holocaust survivor Ida Braunstein, 78, from Kfar Sava, who survived the Holocaust as a child in Ukraine, activated the siren which was heard all over Israel to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day Thursday morning.

Ida arrived this morning at the Home Front Command's warning room, where her granddaughter, Sergeant Aya Braunstein, served as an alarm operator and pressed the button that sounded the horn throughout the country.

Ida was not yet born when the Holocaust began. Her mother, Yinta, was taken to a concentration camp, and her father Meir was taken to labor camps. Ida was born in 1941 in the concentration camp. At the age of one year she contracted severe illness as a result of the severe cold and survived the disease, which lasted more than a year. It later became known that her name "Ida" was given to her in the concentration camp, and in Yiddish it means "Jew."

ניצולת השואה הפעילה את צפירת הזיכרון

In 1944, towards the end of the war, the people were evacuated from the concentration camp where Ida was, and families began to wander in search of refuge. Ida and her mother arrived in a small town called Novoselice. The town was destroyed, the houses and shops were looted. They settled in one of the abandoned buildings along with several other families. She and her mother were preparing and selling pancakes for the Russian soldiers and so they managed to survive.

In the town, the lists of the survivors were published every day. Ida's mother used to go through the names of the survivors every day, and one day the name of the father was published.

At the end of the war Ida's mother managed to contact him and excitedly told him that they had a daughter during the war.

For about a decade, after Ida's family reunited, they lived as refugees and looked for a place to live. In 1958, Ida's family immigrated to Israel.

She met her husband, Reuven Braunstein, for the first time in a packing house where they worked together in Moshav Gan Haim. Reuven was born in Romania and survived the Holocaust as well. They married and had children and grandchildren, including Aya.

Ida Braunstein said, "I came to Israel at the age of 17. I wanted to enlist but I could not, I helped my family and I started to work for a living. The soldiers who defend the state with devotion, because of them the state continues to exist and thus we fulfill the vision of the Jewish people."

Her granddaughter, Sergeant Aya Braunstein added, "As I remember myself, Holocaust Remembrance Day has always been a very moving day in my home, and this year, all the more so ... My grandmother is a very special woman, she is my role model. I am glad that this right has fallen to us. It is the closing of a circle and a great victory for us.