Holocaust survivor Moshe Etzion, 88, ended his own life on Sunday morning, the Hebrew date of the anniversary of the death of his son, Ze’ev Etzion. Fellow members of Kibbutz Nirim near the Gaza Strip found Moshe’s lifeless body huddled over his son’s grave.
Ze’ev Etzion was tragically killed in the closing hours of the 2014 Gaza War when a Hamas-fired mortar shell landed in Nirim. At the time, Ze’ev served as the community’s security chief. But as he couldn’t be located in the chaos of the bombardment, Moshe was sent to see where the mortar had landed.
When Moshe reached the spot, he saw his own son, Ze’ev (55 at the time), lying mortally wounded by shrapnel. Ze’ev succumbed to his wounds in the following hours.
Moshe carried the immense grief of that experience, in addition to his experiences in the Holocaust, for the past seven years, always desperate to be worthy of his son’s legacy, said friends from Nirim.
Last year friends and family published a book titled Always on the Road chronicling Moshe’s incredible journey from Krakow, Poland through the Nazi Holocaust, through near-starvation in Siberia, and finally via Tehran to the Holy Land. It seemed he could overcome any obstacle. Except the loss of his own child.
When Ze’ev was killed in 2014, Moshe asked to have his personal pistol as a reminder of his son. It was with that same pistol that Moshe ended his own life on Sunday.