Thankfully, not long after, Gidon met the love of his life, Susan Kashman, and together they had four children, Hadasa, Shaya, Elisha and Asher and raised them together with his son Yanai. Remarkably, after some years, Gidon and his first wife mended fences, to a degree, and both enjoy healthy and loving relationships with all their children today. Susan Lev passed away in 2012, much to Gidon's sorrow, and that of his family. She is buried at Kibbutz Mishmar HaEmek, among the trees. Susan was a gifted writer and poet and a number of her poems will appear in Gidon's book.
Left: Gidon aged approximately 12 months, Carlsbad, Czechoslovakia, 1936. Right: Gidon aged approximately 3 years, Carlsbad, 1938.
From left to right:
Rosa Samish, Gidon's great-grandmother. Forced on a transport from Prague to Terezin, she was then sent immediately to Auschwitz where she perished in a gas chamber. When Gidon last saw her, briefly, in Terezin, Rosa was dressed in her nicest clothing and was confident that because of her age, nothing would happen to her.
Fritz Samish, Rosa's son and Gidon's maternal grandfather, was a bank manager and had served in the Austro-Hungarian army during the first World War. He was transported to the Warsaw Ghetto and there is no record of his fate after that.
Doris Löw, Gidon's mother, pregnant with Gidon in this photo, survived four years in Terezin as a slave laborer. She survived the camp and later moved to Canada. She passed away in 2003, having recently moved to Israel to be closer to Gidon.
Ernst Löw Gidon's father, was a slave laborer in Terezin for four years before he was put on a transport to Auschwitz. There is no official record of his fate but the family was told he survived until April of 1945, and was shot where he fell, on the side of a road, while the Nazis hurriedly emptied the camps ahead of the arrival of the Allies.
Copy of Gidon's (Peter W. Löw) paperwork and Jewish Star. He was number 884.
Gidon, (formerly Peter Wolfgang Löw) was born in Carlsbad, Czechoslovakia in 1935. In 1938, Hitler took over the Sudetenland as part of UK Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's appeasement plan, as he tried to avoid war. In 1941, Gidon and his mother and father were taken to the Theresienstadt (or Terezin) concentration camp, which was located about 50 kilometers north of Prague.
Gidon was in the concentration camp from the ages of six to ten (1941 to 1945). His mother survived but his father was sent to Auschwitz, where he died in a death march as the camp was evacuated before the coming Allies. When Gidon was liberated, he was among the 92 surviving children of an approximated 15,000 children who were in or transported through Terezin. During his time in the camp, Gidon was severely malnourished and witnessed public executions, beatings and torture. He saw his father only twice, being marched by, six abreast, one of the slaves used by the Nazis to mine mica. Gidon's grandparents were transported to Terezin and then variously, to Auschwitz and the Warsaw Ghetto, where they perished.
Gidon survived and wound up in Toronto, Canada, where he became very involved with the Zionist youth organization HaShomer HaTzair and in 1959, Gidon came to Israel to fulfill his dream.
A living part of Israeli history, Gidon served in the IDF, guarding Mt. Scopus in 1962 and fighting in a combat unit in the Six Day War as well as the War of Attrition.
In 1970, Gidon's life took another unexpected turn when his first wife, a young American woman, with whom he had a stormy relationship, took both their children, Yanai and Maya and returned to the United States. At that time, parental child abduction was illegal but technically unenforceable to pursue. Gidon once again found himself abandoned. He decided not to give up on his children, and after an arduous search, aided by friends, a month later, he returned to Israel with his son but tragically, not his daughter. Maya remained in the US and was raised by her mother. This event was, in many ways, even more traumatic to Gidon than anything he had experienced before.
Susan Kashman Lev 1943-2012
Gidon, September, 2018