Elie Wiesel on visiting the Western Wall after Jerusalem’s reunification

Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel visited the Western Wall shortly after the war, and documented his emotional response in beautiful words:

“They tell me this is the Wall. No. I don’t believe it. I am not able — I am afraid to believe it. Deep down, of course, I realize that they are right, that indeed it is the very Wall — which Jew cannot recognize it instantly! Yet I cannot believe that it is I — I — who now stands before it, gazing as if in a dream, breathlessly confronting it as though it were a living being, omnipotent, all knowing, master of the secrets of the universe. … a man of stone who has raised himself outside and above time, a being that bears me to a strange and distant world, where each stone has its own will, fate and memory… I cannot believe that it is I who has conceived such stormy fantasies, that it is I who now trembles like a wisp in the wind!”

Hadassah Magazine - July 1967 - Elie Wiesel article

How Hadassah Hospital operated while doctors were away fighting

During the war, Hadassah Hospital operated from its war-damaged campus in Ein Kerem, southwest of Jerusalem.  In addition to its usual patients, the hospital treated both Arab and Israeli soldiers. Hadassah was severely understaffed, however, as all doctors under 49 had been called up for military service. The remaining staff remained dedicated to their mission:

“The hospital was being turned inside out. The large entrance hall of the outpatient clinic was transformed in a few hours to a massive casualty reception center, with hundreds of beds lined up row after row, each with its own instruments, plasma, drip stands, drugs. Meticulous emergency plans made two years before and updated to the last detail were put into effect. Eighty emergency crews stood by to receive the wounded, nine operating rooms and teams specializing in areas from eyes to urology were at the ready. Nothing was left to chance. Forty tanks of drinking water had been distributed in case there was a cut in water supply. Fifteen thousand sandbags, 400 yards of protective walls for entrances had been set up. … Hadassah Hospital overnight had doubled its patient capacity and [Director General] Dr. [Kalman] Mann, who in the emergency also became responsible for the area’s two other hospitals, Bikur Holim and Shaare Zedek and a number of health center, could report there were two thousand beds ready in front line hospitals with another 1,200 near and around the city. All that could be done had been done.”

Hadassah Magazine July 1967 - Hospital Operates While Doctors Away