July 12, 2020

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Tunisian Shoah survivor lights independence torch


With thanks: JIMENA

1:13 minutes into the video recording Israel’s celebration of its 71st birthday, 93-year old Mari Nachmias brought the audience to their feet as she lit one of 12 torches.

Mari Nahmias is a Holocaust survivor from Tunisia. Mari was born in Tunis, a former French colony occupied by the Nazis in World War Two. The Jews of her town were forced to wear a yellow star and subjected to anti-Semitic laws. Thousands sent to forced labor camps.

As a teenager, Mari Nahmias was smuggled out of her home and taken pre-state Israel to the northern town of Afula, where she married and began rebuilding her life. Along with her husband Avraham, who would spend many years as the senior X-ray technician at town’s Ha’emek Hospital, the couple had eight children of their own with Marie always busy cooking, cleaning, sewing and creating.
When most of her own children had grown up, feeling she had more love to give, Mari and Abraham opened their home to foster children. Many came from broken homes, some with special needs and disabilities. Mari also cared for children who had terminal illnesses until they passed away. Now aged 92, still full of energy for life, she has fostered 52 children.

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