08.05.2011 04.Ijar, 5771 Tag 19 des Omer
The War of Independence in 1948 claimed thousands of soldiers' lives but some of the fallen have never been identified. More than 60 years on, families are still looking for closure.
The Yaron family is one of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of families in Israel that share a similar story. There was a brother or cousin of a grandfather or grandmother, whose footsteps were lost in Europe during the Holocaust and who, according to unsubstantiated rumor, survived. They then immigrated to Eretz Israel on an illegal immigrant boat (Ma'apilim ), enlisted in the pre-IDF Haganah, or to the IDF, and were killed during fighting in the War of Independence.
"We made an effort to locate information about him, in every possible place, but we couldn't find a lead," says Moshe Yaron, a pensioner who worked with Israel Aircraft Industries. Describing attempts to locate Pinhas Kokabka, a Polish-born cousin he never met, Pinhas Kokabka, Yaron says: "We didn't want to obtain any benefits; the entire aim was to honor the memory of my cousin, to make sure his name is written on a memorial wall, and perhaps to find his grave." Yet Pinhas' name did not appear on the list of over 4,000 IDF soldiers killed during the War of Independence….