TEL AVIV (VINnews) — David Reicher was just 3 months old when his father disappeared, never to be seen again by his family. David, who was born Daniel Reicher in Rome, survived the Holocaust together with his mother Ethel and his sister Rosetta but never knew anything about the fate of his father, according to a Walla news report.
David’s mother, who he terms “the great survivor”, took her two infant children on a legitimate ship to Palestine in March 1945, before the war in Europe had even ended. Wishing to give them a new lease on life after the tumultuous childhood they had suffered, she changed their names to David (in memory of his grandfather who was murdered in the Holocaust as well) and Shoshana. She worked hard to support her children and rarely spoke about the war years. David only knew that his parents escaped during the war from Poland to Italy, that his father was a dentist named Moshe and that one day he had left the house and disappeared.
Reicher established a family of his own and every Holocaust Memorial Day he would like a candle for his father. His sister died of cancer in 1990 and his mother in 1998. In recent years he attempted to track down more information about his father’s final fate. The only snippet of information he had was an old picture in which his mother identified herself and his father.
A cousin of his wife, Shoshana Yosef-Pirzer, had herself been investigating the history of her family during the Holocaust. A year ago she attended a course which assists people wishing to investigate their family history in locating documents. During the course of the investigation Yosef-Pirzer discovered that David’s parents had appeared on a list of detainees in the Enego camp near Vicenca in November 1941. The couple left the camp in September 1943 and in October their son David was born.
The couple then split up and Ethel did not know anything further about her husband but Yosef-Firzer discovered that her husband was known as Marian and not Moshe. Marian Reicher’s fate was known- he was murdered in Rome at the Fosse Ardeatine quarry, half a year after he disappeared.
The Nazis retaliated for the deaths of 33 soldiers at the hands of partisans by killing 10 people for every dead soldier and then another 5 people, a total of 335 people. The victims were random Italians picked off the streets and Jewish prisoners from the nearby Regina Coeli prison, including Marion Reicher. After the massacre the Germans blew up the quarry and the victims, including 75 Jews, were buried underneath. After the war the Italians dug up the victims and established a memorial plaque there.
David said that he started to communicate with the director of the site who said that in 2014 they had taken DNA from the victims and except for eight all had been identified. The director suggested that David send DNA which could help identify his father. On Holocaust Memorial Day this year the answer came back- the DNA had proved that Marian Reicher was buried at the site
“It’s difficult for me to describe that moment,” David recalls. “I had tears in my eyes and was very moved when I thought about my father’s final months. He sat alone in jail with a wife and two small children waiting at home for him. He must have been in a dreadful state.”
David now awaits the cessation of the coronavirus in order to go to the memorial site in Rome and see the place where his father was murdered and where his remain still lie.