More than 200 Israelis attended the funeral of a complete stranger — a Holocaust survivor from the Canary Islands who fulfilled a final wish, to be buried in Israel alongside her mother.
Hilde Nathan, who did not have a husband or children, died alone two weeks ago in the Canary Islands at 90. Knowing of her wishes, the Canary Island Jewish community in Spain, which numbers about 20, raised the money to fly her body to Israel for burial.
The community put out a call through the Israeli media for mourners at her funeral, which was held Monday morning.
“Nathan always lived alone, but today it seems that the entire People of Israel has come to say goodbye,” an Israeli Holocaust survivor, the only person at the funeral who knew her, told the United with Israel website. “She lived alone, but did not leave alone.”
Nathan, a native of Germany, was one of the few to survive the Theresienstadt concentration camp. She managed to avoid being sent to the Treblinka and Auschwitz extermination camps like many of the other Jews imprisoned at Theresienstadt by the Nazis.
She was freed from the camp after it was liberated by the Soviet army on May 8, 1945.
Her father died shortly after the war and was buried in Germany, and she and her mother moved to the Canary Islands. Her mother died several years ago and was buried in Israel.
Moving to the Land of Israel had long been a dream of the Nathans. Before the outbreak of World War II, the family sought to immigrate to the then British Mandate of Palestine, but were unable to acquire visas in order to leave Germany, according to United with Israel.
After the war started, the family made numerous attempts to flee Germany and were almost successful, but, despite their efforts, they were sent to Theresiendstadt in 1942, where tens of thousands of Jewish prisoners were killed.
“During childhood, she was humiliated. She had no name, only a number. Today, thanks to many anonymous people who helped make it happen, she had the dignified burial that she deserved,” United with Israel said.