During the worst of Second World War, Nahum Valach escaped, together with his twin brother and father from the Polish city of Lodz that was captured by the German army. Just before reaching the border, Kalman, Nahumís brother, decided to go back to Lodz to bring his girlfriend. On their way back to regroup they were caught by a border patrol that separated them and sent them to prison in Kazakhstan. Kalman and his girlfriend never met again. When reaching safety in Russia, Nahum and his father were sent to Komi ASSR and assigned to hard manual labor. Nahumís father couldnít survive the impossible cold winter and died from an illness. After a period of working in the woods, Nahum was sent to work in his field of expertise Ė accounting. His supervisor at the factory was a beautiful Russian woman called Raya. The two got to know each other and eventually got married. When the war ended they decided it was better for them to escape communist Russia. They bundled their two years old child Lea, and sneaked through the western border. They traveled all the way to central Europe, and by 1947 theyíve reached Munich and decided to settle there for a while. Nahum worked for a Zionist organization for two years, and by 1949 the family finally decided it was best for them to go to Israel. In Israel Nahum was finally reunited with his twin brother Kalman and his sister Tola. Both of his parents didnít make it through the war.
Among the few things Nahum took with him from Germany was his Voigtlšnder Brillant camera. At the early 50th Nahum still used the camera, taking pictures of his growing family. When he and his family settled down, Nahum decided to get rid of all of his Germanís possessions. He didnít want anything to do with the country that was responsible for his parentís death. But somehow the Voigtlšnder stayed in its place, hidden inside the closet. More than 60 years later, Lea, Nahumís daughter, found the camera stored at the cellar of her house in Herzliyya. Fortunately she decided to give me a call and let me try it out.
(A picture of Lea and her parents taken with the Voigtlšnder Brillant in Munich, 1947)
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