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Dora Roth

A Heroine named Dora


Story by Coral Aviram

Photo by Eyal Saba

From her beautiful house that's surrounded by a blooming garden, Dora looks back at her life that were so full of tragedies, but she managed to overcome these hard times because of her heroic character.

Dora is almost 90 years old, she is the most famous holocaust survivor living in Israel, and she also became a symbol for the survivors who struggle to obtain their rights. She got into the heart of every person who watched the speech she gave in the Israeli Knesset in the year of 2013, where she called the Israeli government to wake up and make things right for the survivors who feel like they've been abandoned by the Israeli law. There's no doubt that this discussion raised the awareness for the survivors' distress, and Dora became their leader within a night, she appeared in the news so many times and also became a woman that every politician wants to meet and take pictures with in order to get some votes, because she became "the leader of holocaust survivors".

So who is this fighter?
Sometimes she sits in her green porch by sunset, closes her beautiful eyes that have seen it all and think about what she has lost so fast. She thinks about her beautiful mother who was a perfect cook and a great housewife, she thinks about her father who used dance the waltz and bring home cake and flowers. She also thinks about the beginning of the war, about bombs and about the day Warsaw was occupied by the Nazis, which was the beginning of the end of everything she knew. In WW2 Dora was only 7 when she was taken to a concentration camp, became an orphan when her parents were murdered by the Nazis. Her brother was also separated from her and she hasn't got to see him for a very long period. She also lost her sister who was murdered in the gas chambers. If that's not enough, Dora also had the typhus and was shot three times in her back by the Nazis. She was one of the few children who survived the camp of Stutthof and stayed alive afterwards.

But that wasn't the end of the injured orphan girl's journey. Dora was rescued by the Russian army and was flown to Minsk in order to take the bullets out of her body. After she recovered from her operation she asked to get back to Poland and try to find survivors from her family. When she arrived in Warsaw the Jewish federation took care of her and found her a place in an orphanage that will help her prepare for her immigration to Israel. They also helped her find the only relative who stayed alive, her brother Lulek. A few days later, all the children were gathered up and they began their journey to Israel. They stopped on their way in the city of Selvino, Italy, for physical and mental recovery and for learning some Zionism and Judaism that will help them prepare for their new home. Unfortunately, Dora got tuberculosis and she was told she had to stay and recover in Italy. Many years later, one of the Selvino children lit a beacon in mount Herzel and told how all of them immigrated to Palestine, except one girl who was left behind because of the tuberculosis.

Till this day Dora keeps wondering how come she managed to escape the cruel destiny of 1.5 million children who were killed. But somehow her memories from the war, her cruel disease and the loss of her family didn't destroy her optimism and lust for life. She came to Israel, married the love of her life Dr. Carl Roth and together they started a wonderful family. Besides taking care of her family, Dora worked 25 years for the International fundraising organization for Israel, and that was the closure for a Jewish girl who miraculously survived; She met a lot of influencing people and convinced them to donate for the state of the Jewish people.
Dora's strong character is a symbol of the human ability to overcome any obstacle, to have faith in love and see the beauty in life. The same beauty and optimism dictate Dora's way of life till this day. Dora works really hard to improve Kiryat Tivon, the city she lived in for the last 60 years, and she really wants the other citizens to feel proud of their city. Her hard work for the city is definitely Dora's way to share her optimistic way of life and tell that even though it gets hard sometimes, tomorrow will be a better day. Dora's character is absolutely a symbol of strength of body and soul, and she is absolutely a heroine.

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