– 85 years old
– Holocaust Survivor
– Fighting for Palestinians.
Hedy Epstein was born in 1924 in Germany to a Jewish family. In 1939, her family were able to send her to England through the Kindertransport (Refugee Children Movement). She never saw her parents again and all but two of her family were killed at Auschwitz.
She later worked as a research analyst at the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi doctors. Horrified by israel’s Sabra and Shatila massacres of 1982 in Lebanon, Hedy Epstein studied the middle east conflict and then raised her voice to fight injustice. Hedy Epstein
Now, as Egypt acting on israel’s behest is refusing permission to international participants of the Gaza Freedom March protesting the israeli siege, Hedy Epstein has gone on a hunger strike.
Hedy Epstein Begins Hunger Strike to Open Gaza Borders
Hedy Epstein, the 85 year old Holocaust survivor and peace activist, announced that she will begin a hunger strike today as a response to the Egyptian government’s refusal to allow the Gaza Freedom March participants into Gaza.
Ms. Epstein was part of a delegation with participants from 43 countries that were to join Palestinians in a non-violent march from Northern Gaza towards the Erez border with Israel calling for the end of the illegal siege.
Egypt is preventing the marchers from leaving Cairo, forcing them to search for alternative ways to make their voices heard.
“It is important to let the besieged Gazan people know they are not alone. I want to tell the people I meet in Gaza that I am a representative of many people in my city and in other places in the US who are outraged at what the US, Israeli and European governments are doing to the Palestinians and that our numbers are growing,” Epstein said.
There was a protest going on around us, and we had to finish our conversation. Epstein summed up: “I’ve been in human and civil rights struggles for a long time, and I’ve never been on a hunger strike before, but I [also] never saw a government deny humanitarian aid before. There comes a time in a struggle when you have to put your own life on the line, so I decided to go on a hunger strike to try to persuade the Egyptian government to let us go.”
The attempt to persuade Egypt to let the marchers into Gaza continues. So does Epstein’s hunger strike. Other freedom marchers are joining her.
An Interview with Hedy Epstein
“I Was Not Prepared for the Horrors I Saw”
By SILVIA CATTORI
June 13, 2007
“Today is the first day of the new year, but also the first day of our struggle to free Gaza,” said Epstein. “So let’s all struggle to be strong until that day when we can all be together with the people of Gaza and feast together in a new world.”
Press Statement of the Gaza Freedom March Hunger Strikers, January 1, 2010
We are 30 activists from around the world, inspired by Hedy Epstein, the 85-year-old Holocaust survivor who initiated a huger strike in Cairo for the opening of the borders of Gaza to the outside world.
We recognize that the Palestinians of Gaza continue to hunger for food, shelter, and most of all for freedom.
We continue to hunger for justice for Gaza and all of Palestine. At this time, we announce that we will feast when Gaza feasts.
Until that time, each of us will choose the time to end her/his fast and again take food.
Our pleasure in that food will always be mixed with the pain of Palestinians.
We call on all people of conscience from around the world to renew their resolve for peace and justice in Palestine.
The hunger strikers