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August 6, 2017 10:04 pm

Great-Granddaughter of Righteous Gentiles Seeks to Join Israeli Army

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Yad Vashem’s Eternal Flame. Photo: Wikipedia

Eighteen-year-old Marlos Sunzeld De Box, the great-granddaughter of Jules De Box, who saved a three-year-old Jewish child during the Holocaust and is listed with the Righteous Among the Nations at Yad Vashem, is seeking to join the Israeli army, the Hebrew website Walla reported.

“By the time I was 13 I was already thinking about joining the IDF,” Marlos told Walla. “I thought to myself that I also want to help Israel, to live there and join the army. All the boys and girls in Israel serve in the army, give several years of their life to the state, and I think this is very beautiful. I don’t know how to explain it, but I feel at home here. I love Israel very much, and I want to be part of it and give back to it as much as I can.”

In Holland in 1942, Jules De Box found three-year-old Simi Leibel through a relative and brought him home. She and her parents hid the child until 1945. Simi was then reunited with his mother, who had survived the war, and moved to Israel with her.

50 years later, another relative spotted a newspaper advertisement that simply said, “I am Simi Leibel, I’m looking for Jules and Annie.” This led to a reunion between Simi and the De Box family.

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In 2000, after they had passed away, Jules and her parents were recognized by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations. This led Jules’ daughter Annika and her husband to visit Israel, where they eventually came to live. Their daughter Tabitha, Marlos’ mother, now lives in the northern kibbutz Rosh Hanikra.

“My parents moved to Israel 12 years ago,” Tabitha told Walla. “My children and I came here often as tourists, but a year ago we also applied to the Interior Ministry for Israeli citizenship. Like my parents, I also love this country. I don’t know how to explain it, but I know that this is not just idealism. The people of Israel are very warm, welcoming, and make me feel like this is my true home.”

The Interior Ministry is currently reviewing their application for citizenship.

“I’ve been waiting for my identity card for a year already,” said Marlos. “I really hope I can get it soon so I can join the army. But I think it could take a long time, because our story is very unusual.”

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