A message from the grandparents of Ziv & Gali Berman

Our museum director Dr. Carmen Reichert already reported on the visit of the Berman family from Israel in a blog post. The family visited Augsburg in January 2024 to draw attention to the fate of the 26-year-old twin brothers Ziv and Gali Berman in interviews with the press and at a memorial event in the synagogue. Ziv and Gali are among the 133 Israelis who have been held hostage by the Islamist Hamas since October 7, 2023. We have since received a moving message from Ziv and Gali’s grandparents.

In their message, grandparents Yael and Gad Sobol write about the close bond they have with their grandsons, their memories of their shared experiences and their hope of seeing the twins again soon.

“My name is Gad Sobol, I am the grandfather of Ziv and Gali Berman. We, my wife Yael and I, are already over 80 years old and are no longer able to help our beloved grandchildren. But we rely on our children who have joined the fight to bring our grandchildren back home.

From their birth until today, we have always been connected to Gali and Ziv. We have accompanied them on their journeys full of youthful joy, on trips and vacations, at family gatherings, and have gone with them to the soccer match where they were at their best.

We love them dearly and hope to stay healthy long enough to see them both at home. Healthy – physically and mentally. Here they will receive a loving embrace from us, their family and their friends and acquaintances.”

The hope of the Berman family is particularly focused on the indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas, which have been resumed time and again, as is currently the case in Cairo, and led to the release of around 100 hostages at the end of 2023. It is still unclear whether progress can be made in the current negotiations to free the hostages – also in view of the extremely tense situation following the armed conflict with Iran.

This makes it all the more important not to forget the hostages, who are still in the hands of the terrorist group Hamas more than half a year after the attack. At the memorial service with the Berman family in Augsburg’s synagogue, Ziv and Gali’s mother Talia Berman left a lasting impression of the emotional torment that the hostages’ relatives have had to endure for almost seven months now. It also showed the strength of those who are fighting ceaselessly to free their loved ones.

Talia Berman and her sister told the synagogue of the Jewish community of Swabia-Augsburg how they survived the Hamas attack in their shelter. She kept in touch with her four sons via cell phone for hours – until contact with Ziv and Gali suddenly broke off. They themselves were rescued by the Israeli forces after more than a day of fighting and brought to safety. They only found out days later that two of their sons had been taken hostage to Gaza.

Many of their relatives do not even know for sure whether their family members and friends are still alive. In the case of Ziv and Gali, one of the hostages who had already been released confirmed that she had seen them alive in Gaza. And so it remains the Berman family’s top priority to campaign for the release of the brothers and all the other hostages so that they can embrace them again. We will remain in contact with the Berman family and will continue to report on the fate of Ziv and Gali – until they are finally back home.

April 24, 2024

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