Warning! The text retains the original spelling of surnames and place names by an Israeli researcher; in many cases it may not be correct. Fragments that could contain current personal data have been removed from the interview.


Name of Interviewee: Risa Ben-Basat (nee Rysia Zylberbaum) in 1947 in Dzierżoniów;

Interview Topic:  Risa’s Family;

Father’s name: Mordechai Zylberbaum (1907 -1961), born in Łódź;

Mother’s name: Malka Jabłoński (1911-1981), born in Nilushin [Niluszyn ?];

Sister’s name: Sonya (1943-2005), born in ZSRR.


Family origins:

Risa was born Rysia Zilberboim [Zylberbaum] in 1947 in Dzierżoniów nearby Wrocław, which was a German town. After the Second World War, the town was annexed to Poland. Most of the residents after the war were Jews.

Risa's father, Mordechai (1907-1961), was born in Łódź. His family was very religious. He was a communist activist. Before the war, two of his brothers went to Israel. At the beginning of the war, Mordechai escaped to Russia. Most of his family was murdered during the war, except for two siblings, concentration camp survivors, who came to Israel after the war.

Risa's mother, Malka Yablonsky, (1911-1981) was born in Nilushin [Niluszyn ?]. Malka had one sister, who came to Israel after the war.

Risa's sister, Sonya (Sara), (1943-2005), was born in Russia.

Mordechai worked as senior bookkeeper, and Malka managed the library of the Jewish center (a general library) in the town. The family was atheist and communist activists. Because of their convenient life, Mordechai's faith in the modern world, and his fears of meeting with his family in Israel, her parents decided not to move to Israel, despite her mother's wish.

Childhood in Poland:

Risa's childhood was wonderful. Like her sister, she studied at a bilingual (Polish- Yiddish) School. She attended the Jewish community center. She studied Ballet and piano. The cultural life was plentiful. The family attended the theater of Ida Kamińska. The family spent their Sunday's in the town square, engaged in enjoyable activities.


Due to demographic changes as a result of Jews leaving the town, the family decided to move to Israel.

The family arrived in Israel via Genoa in 1957, on the "Artsa" ship (it was the last sailing of this ship). They arrived in Haifa. Mordechai's brother welcomed the family.

Risa was amazed by the blinding light and the heat in Israel, and missed her childhood landscapes very much all the years.

They settled in Jaffa (nearby Tel-Aviv), and Mordechai worked in his brother's textile factory. As a result of his immigration to Israel he became extremely sad (depressed), he turned ill, and his brother fired him.

Risa moved to her aunt in Netanya (center Israel). Because Risa didn't speak Hebrew at all, her aunt insisted that she speak and read in Hebrew only. After a few of months, Risa spoke Hebrew fluently. When she was 13 years old, Risa moved to Kibbutz Yakum, and joined the youth society. After those beloved days, she returned to her home in Jaffa, following to her father's death, in 1961. Her sister, Sonya, moved to Africa (Congo), because of her husband's commission.

Her mother became a citizen only in 1967, probably because of her doubts about Israel.

Risa joined the communist movement in Kibbutz Yad-Hana. There she met her husband Uri Ben-Basat (born in Bulgaria).

Risa today:

Risa and Uri live in Rehovot. She works as a bookkeeper in the Weizmann Institute of Science.

She has 3 children: Eyal (physician), Ayelet, Michal (choreographer). She has 3 grandchildren.