a new land, a new life
“At the age of nine I became an orphan. I was fortunate to survive the Holocaust with my four sisters.” With these words Mark Mandel begins his tale and recounts the pact that he made with his sisters to reunite in Israel after the war. Unfortunately fate took them in different directions. At 16, Mark settled on a kibbutz in Israel through the Youth Aliyah program. When the war with the Arabs broke out in 1949 he became a member of the Haganah and then volunteered for Israel’s first navy, while his sisters made their way to the United States.
Mark would have stayed in Israel, but he remembered the promise to his sisters that they would never be separated again, so Mark moved to Minneapolis to reunite with his family. Good neighbors make good friends and even better relatives. In Minneapolis Mark’s two sisters lived on Irving Avenue North and there he met their neighbor Roberta who has been his wife for 56 years. Today Mark and Roberta Mandel are surrounded by their loving family of four children, 10 grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.
Mark Mandel’s life truly represents the American dream But he cautions future generations, “It can happen again. Do not forget. You must never forget.”