MIriam Schlisser
MIriam SchlisserTalia Ben Sabo

In the run-up to International Holocaust Day, Arutz Sheva - Israel National News spoke with Miriam Schlisser, the heroine of the children's book 'Papusha', on her feelings since the heinous October 7th massacre.

She believes that what the Hamas terrorists did on the morning of October 7th was even more atrocious and horrific than the Holocaust.

"The murderous Germans were intelligent and gentle. Yona, my husband, carried his brother on the Death March. They would walk at night and rest during the day. He weighed thirty kilos and carried another thirty kilos. If he had put him down, the Germans would not have beaten him, but fired a bullet through him and left him on the side of the road, where someone would collect him and transfer him to a mass grave."

On the other hand, Miriam says, the Hamas terrorists "got their hands dirty, cut off the head of a soldier and sold it. This is sadism. This is worse than the Holocaust," she says and recounts that when her brother found himself in Birkenau without any family members with him, he asked a Polish Jew where his parents were, and this person pointed towards the chimney. "They didn't shoot them. They poisoned them with gas and then pushed them into the crematorium to be burned. But they didn't get their hands dirty like the Hamas. To open a pregnant woman's stomach and take out the fetus is not something done by any human being."

Miriam believes that Israeli songwriter, Naomi Shemer, was correct when she wrote “And if the Arabs ever have the freedom to fulfill themselves, we will miss the good, sterile gases of the Germans.”

Miriam describes the German soldiers who were stationed near their house and one day placed a ladder on the high fence, and one tried to get inside. Her father asked the soldier what he was doing in his yard and the soldier asked him to order his wife, Miriam's mother, to dress up as a Gentile and take two sacks of corn cobs and grind the grains for them, so that they would have something to eat. This is what happened. Throughout that night they cleaned the corn kernels from the cobs. The kernels were put into a sack that was taken for grinding and her mother prepared food for the soldiers, which allowed her family to eat as well. The simple German, she says, behaved more humanely than the Gazans who attacked Israel.

Today, she says, since the seventh of October, she has been worried and afraid. She locks her house with double locks and bolts. Her grandson yells at her to open “the safe,” when he asks her to open the front door for him. She also closes and locks the blinds and even the doors of rooms that are not in use, so that if someone enters the house through those windows, he will find himself facing a locked door and have no way to get out of the room.

When she gets up at night, she repeatedly checks all the rooms to ensure no one is there. She asked the neighbor to teach her how to lock the safe room properly, and every time she feels weak, she goes to the door to make sure it is locked. Her children have told her that if anything happens to her, they will have to break through the door to get to her, and she says that they are right. But she is also right because of the great fear she has been feeling since October 7. "Since it happened, I've become even more hysterical."

Her cleaner who cleans her house once every two weeks is the mother of a retired senior police officer who was exposed to harsh videos. One day she showed her one of these videos, "She showed me a young girl that was being pushed by the Arabs from one side to the other, like a game. Someone threw a burning torch at her and her hair started burning," says Miriam. The cleaner told her not to show her any more videos after her harsh reaction, but the rumors she heard were enough for her to come to a clear conclusion: Hamas committed horrific atrocities that were many times worse than those committed by the Nazis.

Also listen to Miriam's long story of life during the war, which began when she was a five-year-old girl, when outbursts of antisemitism reached Romania and Hungary, which had not yet been conquered by the Nazis.

Miriam tells at length and with great emotion about her family's life under antisemitic laws that gradually closed in on them, the calls to deport the "Yiddim" to Palestine, the violence in the streets, the pogroms that were carried out against the Jews, who were massacred and murdered. The blows her father got on his head from a Nazi officer, the trip to a camp that was considered the Auschwitz of Romania, where they were miraculously saved from boarding trains, while German soldiers aimed their machine guns, awaiting the order to open fire on any Jew who did not behave obediently.

She also speaks about her brother who returned from the hard labor camp broken and crushed, about the false claims that the Jews were poisoning the wells, how the Germans made sure not to dirty their hands by killing Jews with their own hands and left the despicable job to the Romanian mob, about the bombings from the air that burned house after house, and also how when the Russians arrived and occupied Romania, the persecution of the Jews continued also by the Russian soldiers, who would come in and kill one Jewish family after another.

Miriam tells her story until the point when she emigrated from Bucharest with Aliyat Hanoar on an immigrant boat, that was spotted by four British destroyers on its way to the port of Haifa. Two destroyers rammed the boat from both sides, the battle with the British soldiers was harsh, but despite her young age, she managed to cause several British soldiers to fall into the water. The entire boat was deported to Cyprus and later returned to the Land of Israel. She settled in Ramat Yochanan and tearfully describes the three years she experienced there as the most beautiful years of her life.