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Chanan Abeles (1929) - Biography

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I was only allowed to go to Israel after I had graduated from grammar school

Chanan Abeles was born on January 29, 1929 in Bratislava into a traditional Jewish family. His father Ernest Abeles was a trader and his mother Regina was helping in their shop. Thanks to his job, Chanan's father was marked as an economically important Jew after the declaration of the Slovak State and the family therefore later avoided deportation to an internment camp. From autumn 1944 after the defeat of the Slovak National Uprising the Abeles family was hiding in Bratislava together with other people. However, at the turn of 1944-1945, the location of their hiding place became revealed and its occupants were arrested and interned in a camp in Sereď. Chanan and his father were transported to Sachsenhausen in January 1945 where they worked until the end of the war. Chanan's mother and his younger sister were deported to the ghetto in Terezín where they survived until the liberation. Their grandmother died in the concentration camp Ravensbrück. The family was reunited in Bratislava in summer 1945. Chanan Abeles completed his final examinations at grammar school and at the same time he began working for the Zionist group Maccabi Hatzair. Until 1949 he worked for the Zionist movement and in January 1949 he went to the newly established State of Israel as a leader of young people from Maccabi Hatzair. Together with his wife-to-be Mia he settled in the kibbutz Kfar Maccabi and he joined the army where he later worked as an accountant. They raised two children with his wife and now they enjoy their six grandchildren and fourteen great-grandchildren. Chanan Abeles lives in Haifa.

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