top of page

Survivor stories

Read Next


  • Atar M.'s story

I place the children accordingly, in the safest spot, in front of the closet

It’s 2pm. October 7th.

We’ve been in the shelter for seven and a half hours, the kids and I.

Right before we ran in, I grabbed a screen for the kids, a phone charger for me, and a knife.

Standing in front of the cutlery drawer I find myself thinking.

Is it better to have a sharp knife with a rounded edge?

Less sharp but with a pointy edge?

I don’t know, I’ve never wondered over such a dilemma with myself or with anyone.

With which one would I be able to kill a terrorist in order to stay alive?

Is it best to stab the heart or the face? Will I be able to stab them before they kill me?

After they shoot me, will they look in the rooms and notice the children’s beds?

Will they look for them? Will the children remain quiet, hidden in the closet, because I told them that no matter what, they stay there and stay quiet?

And if they stay quiet, will it help?

Is my heart beating out of my chest or does it just feel that way?

I take a knife with a pointy edge.

I run to the shelter and close the door that a lock was never invented for.

Because who knew…

I look at the room with fresh eyes in a practical way: When a terrorist comes in, what’s the first thing he sees? What’s the last?

I place the children accordingly, in the safest spot, in front of the closet.

I take the boards that are tied together with string under the bed and start cutting them.

I try to lock the handle in place using the board. It doesn’t work.

I take apart the curtain rod. It’s more stable. I leave it there.

I move a cabinet to block the door. They’ll have to make more of an effort to reach the them.

And they bang on the doors.

And they bang on the windows.

And then quiet.

And again.

It’s 2pm. We’ve been in the shelter for seven and a half hours.

My eldest asks me in a whisper: Mommy, it’s already past lunchtime, right?

I didn’t remember to bring them food and water when I chose the knife.

The last time they ate was yesterday evening. In the early morning, they complained that they wouldn’t have their usual Saturday pancakes.

After hours they became very quiet and stopped asking. I’m hurting and fully understand- no one is coming to save us. The ammo that’s being fired outside is endless.

I can’t let them dehydrate. I don’t want them to have memories of hunger.

I decide to go out.

I remind them that no matter what they stay there.

I run to the kitchen, grab anything I can and run back. Close the door.

I give them water. They eat a yeast cake that we made yesterday.

We made some for ourselves, and we gave some out to the elderly in the neighborhood. What is happening to them now?

"Mommy, can I have more cake?"


They eat.

"Mommy, can I have more cake?"


They eat.

"Mommy, can I have more?"

You can have as much as you’d like. Eat.

My eldest looks at me-

But why? Is it a healthy cake?

I realize that last night protecting our body was eating healthy.

Putting on sunscreen/

Brushing our teeth really well, and not forgetting to brush in the back too.

How naive of us.

It’s at that moment that I understand that we’ll never be the same again.

If we will even be.

Atar M.

bottom of page