Sixty-eight years ago, Felix and Feiga Bandos got married at the former Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, at the time a displaced persons camp in Allied-occupied Germany.
Last Thursday, at the ages of 94 and 90, respectively, they have made a new home in Israel across the street from their daughter, Marilyn Broder, in the heavily English-speaking settlement of Efrat.
Felix, a Polish survivor of the Lodz Ghetto who later made his way across Europe in a hegira that took him to Soviet Russia, Italy, Germany, Sweden and finally America, had always wanted to make aliya.
Only 19 when he was incarcerated in the ghetto in 1940, he was still a young man when the war ended and he resolved to make his way to what was then Mandatory Palestine.
“Right after the war, I tried to go to Israel and it didn’t work out. I had some problems to get there, it wasn’t legal,” he recalled, describing how the Allied occupation authorities expelled him from Italy, where he sought transport to the Middle East.
“It didn’t work out too well,” he mused. “That’s why I ended up in Bergen-Belsen…I had no place to go right after the war.”
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