If I want to live, I have to be a doctor

Prof. Rahav, Head of the Infectious Disease Unit and Laboratories at Sheba Medical Center, will take part in the virtual March of The Living on Holocaust Memorial Day on April 8th, 2021


My whole life is the Holocaust. From the age of two it was clear to me that I was either going to be a doctor, or I was dead, and it is all because of the Holocaust.

My father was already a doctor during the Holocaust. He was married and they had a child. They were searching for a hiding place because the Germans came and killed everyone. While my father was out looking for a hiding place, the Germans arrived. His wife who was also a doctor, injected a substance, probably morphine, into herself and the child. My father found them dead and did not want to continue living. He lay with them in the pile of the dead, but the Russian partisans who were looking for doctors, identified him and brought him back to life. This is how my father survived: he was a doctor for the Russian partisans.

My mother was ‘like’ a doctor. Her mother, who was a real doctor, taught her how to sew and what to do to stay alive. They were in hiding and there was a two-year-old baby there, crying. In fear of him exposing them all, my grandmother strangled him. Thanks to this my mother survived.

I saw no other option but to be a doctor. If I want to live, I have to be a doctor. I also passed it on - In our family we are all doctors. For me, to participate in the March of the Living is extremely significant. To remember my dead brothers, to remember my whole family and in general, to remember all of the Jewish people.

International March of the Living will hold a Virtual March on Holocaust Remembrance. The Virtual March will premiere Thursday April 8th on Israel media at 3:00PM IL, followed by the global broadcast  at 10:00 AM ET / 4:00 PM CT / 5:00pm IL and will be followed immediately by an online memorial ceremony with the first torch of remembrance lit by President Rivlin.

One of the most moving aspects of the March of the Living is the opportunity for participants to memorial plaques with personal messages on the train tracks at Birkenau. The public is invited to participate and have their personal message virtually placed against the backdrop of the infamous train tracks at the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp.  Individual plaques and messages can be placed via a dedicated minisite https://nevermeansnever.com