Hands belong to daughter Hana Harel.
Born January 30, 1922 | Bucharest (Bukaresht), Romania
Died December 7, 2021 | Calgary, Canada
Her great-grandchildren called her “safta gedolah”—big grandmother. It is an apt name for a woman who was the epitome of strength until her passing, just shy of her 100th birthday.
The only child of Itzik and Chana (née Urban), Mali lost her mother early in life and was raised by her father and much-loved stepmother, Liza, in Bucharest. As a young woman, she worked in an aunt’s salon, embroidering lingerie destined for the trousseaus of affluent brides. Antisemitism was rampant in Romania. During a shocking pogrom in January 1941, more than 125 Jews were brutally murdered by the fascists of the Iron Guard, some hung on hooks in a butcher shop in cruel parodies of shechita (kosher slaughter). Stripped of their rights under the dictatorship of Ion Antonescu, Mali’s family were among Jewish citizens subject to many discriminatory measures. She married Shlomo Hersh at Bucharest’s historic Coral Temple in 1942, amidst World War II. During one bombing in Bucharest, two of Mali’s cousins and one of their wives were killed just as they attempted to enter a public shelter.
Following the war, Shlomo and Mali had one daughter, Hana (Adriana), born in 1947. In 1950 the family made aliyah (immigrated to Israel). At first they lived in a ma’abara (immigrant tent city). Mali remained strong and proudly Zionist, adjusting to life in her rapidly developing country and working with Shlomo in their luggage store. Mali was a staunch Zionist who loved the freedom and dignity of living in a Jewish country. In 1989 she and Shlomo immigrated to Canada, settling in Calgary, where they reunited with Hana and her family. Mali and Shlomo were the loving Safta and Saba to two grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Copyright © 2023 Here to Tell - All Rights Reserved
An Initiative of Calgary Jewish Federation