Those We Have Lost

Moshe Ridler, 91: Holocaust survivor was ‘kibbutz grandfather’

Murdered in Kibbutz Holit, October 7, he was sent to a concentration camp at age 9, and succeeded in fleeing it at 11

Moshe Ridler (Courtesy)
Moshe Ridler (Courtesy)

Moshe Ridler, a 91-year-old Holocaust survivor, was murdered by Hamas terrorists in Kibbutz Holit on October 7, 2023.

He was the oldest resident of the small community which numbered only around 200 people before Hamas’s murderous rampage. His family said he was sent to a concentration camp at age 9, and succeeded in fleeing at age 11.

His care aide, Petro Busko, a Moldovan citizen, was by his side and also murdered by Hamas. Army Radio said everyone in the kibbutz knew Ridler and Busko from their daily walks to the post office and the market, walking slowly and greeting everyone along the way.

“He was the ‘grandfather of Holit’ but he was also our grandfather,” his grandson, Amir Tessler, told Ynet. “He loved to dance and travel abroad… even as he aged, his love for his family, for life, he continued to give us great strength even after he surpassed age 90.”

His granddaughter, Einav Ridler, wrote on Facebook: “Hi grandpa — do you remember how the last few times we met you argued with us that you were 100 years old, and you insisted that we don’t know how to count? Who would have thought that you would not reach age 92 — and in such a tragic way, after as a child you experienced the starvation, cold and rain in a concentration camp and succeeded in escaping?”

The Foundation for the Welfare of Holocaust Victims said Ridler was born in Romania in 1931. His mother and one of his sisters were killed during the Holocaust. After he arrived in Israel, the organization said, he was so proud of the large family he established.

Tessler said, “Grandpa always said that if you have something to be proud of and show off — be proud of it. All his stories about the war, they were stories of hope, he would tell them with a lot of pride. It was important to him to pass on that legacy of never giving up.”

His grandson, Mashav Ridler, wrote on Facebook that our “heroic and strong and beloved grandfather was murdered. I don’t even have words to describe what a special man he was, how much he meant to me and how much I am me because of him.”

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