Erez, 12, and Sahar, 16, Calderon released; father Ofer remains in Gazan captivity

Extended family from Kibbutz Nir Oz also suffered deaths of grandmother Carmela Dan and Harry Potter-fan cousin Noya Dan during the Oct. 7 Hamas onslaught

Erez and Sahar Calderon from Kibbutz Nir Oz were taken captive by Hamas terrorists on October 7, 2023, along with their father Ofer. Erez and Sahar were released on November 27, 2023. (Courtesy)
Erez and Sahar Calderon from Kibbutz Nir Oz were taken captive by Hamas terrorists on October 7, 2023, along with their father Ofer. Erez and Sahar were released on November 27, 2023. (Courtesy)

Sahar, 16, and Erez, 12, Calderon were released on November 27 as part of a temporary ceasefire deal brokered by Qatar and the United States between Hamas and Israel. Father Ofer remains a hostage in Gaza. This is the story of their capture:

Ofer Calderon, 53, and two of his children, Sahar, 16, and Erez, 12, Calderon from Kibbutz Nir Oz have been missing since Saturday, October 7, when Hamas terrorists stormed the kibbutz, killing over 100 residents and some 15 foreign agricultural workers, and taking about 80 hostages.

The last message older sister Gaya Calderon, 21, received was that her family was trying to hide outside. Her grandmother, Carmela Dan, and autistic cousin Noya Dan had also disappeared without a trace. Their bodies were found on October 19.

Mother Hadas Calderon, who is divorced from Ofer, has been standing vigil outside the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv every day. “These children are never away from me for more than two or three days,” she told reporters on a trip back to the destroyed kibbutz.

Due to Hadas’s French citizenship, shortly after her family’s abduction, daughter Gaya spoke at a press conference held for French-Israeli citizens missing in the aftermath of the Hamas massacres in Israel’s south.

“My dad brought me up, he’s my best friend, I have no one to talk to,” said Gaya, weeping.

“I’m the big sister who’s supposed to protect them, my hope is that they’re alive. These are little kids who slept at home and woke up to Hamas kidnapping them,” said Gaya.

Gaya saw a Hamas video that featured her 12-year-old brother, Erez, taken captive in Gaza.

“They took half my family,” said Gaya, weeping uncontrollably. “My little 12-year-old brother Erez, Arabs taking him in their hands. He was born 12 years ago, he hasn’t had time to live.”

Ofer Calderon, missing, along with two of his children, Sahar and Erez Calderon, from Kibbutz Nir Oz, presumed taken captive by Hamas terrorists on October 7, 2023. His children were released on November 27, 2023. (Courtesy)

Calderon wasn’t at home with her father, Ofer, and her siblings Sahar and Erez in Nir Oz.

Their grandmother Carmela was at her house down the street with Calderon’s cousin Noya. Sahar and Erez’s mother, Hadas, survived the ordeal by barricading herself in her saferoom until the army came to release her some eight hours later.

Rotem Calderon, 19, brother to Gaya, Sahar and Erez, was in his own house in the kibbutz area for young adults, and survived.

“The terrorists burned down the houses, we don’t have a house to return to,” said Hadas Calderon.

Ofer marked his 53rd birthday in captivity in Gaza and Erez turned 12 on October 27.

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