A contribution by museum director Dr. Carmen Reichert

108 days have passed since the twins Ziv and Gali Berman (26) were abducted from their village, the Kibbutz Kfar Aza, when their mother Talia Berman, their aunt Macabit and their brother Idan come to Augsburg. They come to raise awareness for the brothers and the other 136 Hamas hostages. They have appointments with the regional and national press and give interviews – because the more pressure the international community exerts on Hamas, so they hope, the better Israel’s negotiating position will be.

“We want to do something. We want to do everything in our power to get them back. We need them back,” says Mother Talia in the café of our museum, where we sit together after a short tour of the exhibition and synagogue. “Doing nothing is the worst thing. It’s better to work, to have something like a daily routine,” adds Aunt Macabit. Idan looks into his cappuccino and remains silent.

The family is in the city for three days before returning directly to Israel to continue to fight locally for the release of Gali and Ziv. They have brought pictures with them of their kibbutz – before and after October 7. “The government says it will take about three years before everything is rebuilt and we can return,” says Talia Berman. Do they want that? “It doesn’t matter,” says Talia, “I don’t think about it. All that matters is that Ziv and Gali return. Then we’ll see”. Idan remains silent.

In Kfar Aza, their kibbutz, they had always felt safe. If an attack came from Egypt, Lebanon or Syria, they thought, they would never drop bombs so close to their own people in Gaza. The family was not afraid of the people in Gaza. Some of them worked in their village, they knew each other and lived well together. Talia says that a worker from Gaza brought Arabic sweets for the birth of her twins. And then she says: “We have to live together. There’s no other way”. Idan remains silent.

Aunt Macabit packs up the pictures again. Her T-shirt reads what the family and many others are wearing on a silver tag around their necks these days: “Bring them home now”. In the days that followed, they spoke at an IKG solidarity event in the Augsburg synagogue and met members of the press. They gladly agreed to our suggestion that they also write a blog post about their visit. The more attention for the fate of the hostages taken from Israel, the better. They want to tell us from time to time how they are doing and how things are going for them.