On October 7, Marcelo and Diana Wasser, along with their grandson and son, spent twelve hours in a shelter, while members of the terrorist group, who had entered the kibbutz where they live, perpetrated a massacre.
La Nación covered a series of events and meetings hosted in Costa Rica and Panama by B’nai B’rith Argentina, featuring Marcelo and Diana Wasser, survivors of the Oct. 7 Hamas massacre.
Marcelo Wasser, 65, was against the iron door in the anti-missile shelter under his house. Inside that bunker, was his wife, Diana, 62; his son, 35, and his nine-month-old grandson. Outside, the unthinkable thing happened. More than 2,000 terrorists from the Hamas group entered Israeli territory. Missiles fell, while shots and explosions were heard through the small window of the shelter. In the WhatsApp group of the members of Kibbutz Nirim, 1.8 kilometers south of the Gaza Strip, where they live, the neighbors described in terror and in real time an invasion whose only objective was to massacre civilians.
“They thrown two grenades into the house, the shelter is being filled with smoke and we are with a baby, we need the army,” a neighbor wrote desperately. “Put wet towels against the door so that the smoke does not enter and open the window,” they replied.
Marcelo and Diana are survivors of the massacre perpetrated by Hamas on October 7, where 1,200 people died, 6,500 were injured and 250 were taken hostage, of which 69 were released. They, who are Argentine and emigrated to Israel in 1976, are touring cities in Latin America to tell their story thanks to the support of the Jewish organization B’nai B’rith Argentina. That same outreach work was done, and still do, by the survivors of the Holocaust. After 78 years, members of the community must recount a massacre perpetrated against the Jewish people.
“I am the manager of the kibbutz tambo and I participate in several of its economic commissions. We came to Israel in 1976. At that time, we were already with the idea of going and the military coup in Argentina made everything accelerate. We wanted to look for an agricultural kibbutz and we moved to Nirim. Then I studied Economics in Israel. While Diana was a gardening teacher. We have been used to living under missiles for 20 years, but October 7 was something devastating, different from everything,” Marcelo said.
That day the alarms went off at 6:28. Since they live so close to Gaza, they usually have between 8 and 10 seconds to get to the shelter. In fact, that sound was recorded as a wound that will take time to heal. During the interview with La Nación, when the air conditioning in the room was activated, Diana, for a moment, was paralyzed: “I thought it was the alarm,” she said.
“We went to sleep and at 6.28 the red alert sounded. In our area we have 10 seconds to get to the safe room. We picked our grandson out of the crib and went to the shelter. That room is made of cement. It has an iron door with a non-ensensed handle and a small window that opens. It is made for missiles, not for a terrorist invasion. We were in our pajamas and missiles didn’t stop falling. At 7.45 they called Marcelo because a bomb had fallen on the drum,” Diana described.
“We look at each other with my son and think ‘something strange is happening here’. Never before have we been under the launch of so many missiles. As I was told that a missile had fallen into the tank, I went out and saw the destruction, I told all the workers to go to the shelter. When I was returning home I began to hear the shots, but I never thought there could be terrorists, it was unthinkable. I got home, opened the phone and saw that I had messages from my family asking me to let me know when I arrived at the house, so they opened me because there were terrorists in the area,” Marcelo added.
In the WhatsApp group of the kibbutz, horrible situations were described. “They’re shooting my house,” a neighbor wrote. “We couldn’t do anything, it was a tremendous impotence. It was a terrible moment, because you knew they were going house to house and you wondered what would happen to your children, your grandchildren. Many people struggled with the terrorists and they shot them at the doors, other neighbors burned their houses so that they had to leave. We have children who live in another house inside the kibbutz, and they didn’t answer our messages, we were desperate. In addition, we were with our grandson who is a baby and we didn’t know how to do so that he didn’t cry, we had to be silent so that the Hamas didn’t listen to us,” Marcelo recalled.
While they were in the shelter, they heard screams in Hebrew. Thus, Hamas members pretended to be Israeli soldiers. “It was all very confusing. At one point we thought that the terrorists had installed a machine gun on the roof of the house, but then we learned that it was an army helicopter. Only 12 hours later we were able to leave the shelter guarded by Israeli soldiers,” Marcelo said.
When they came out, the marks of destruction were everywhere. Five people died in Nirim. In neighboring Kibbutz, 25% of its inhabitants died and the devastation was total. “I remember the smell, it was burnt, gunpowder. The cars were destroyed, some houses as well. We entered the shelter and when we left it was a totally different reality,” Marcelo lamented.
“Finally they took us out and took us to a safe place. There we met our children and found out that they threw grenades at their house. Seeing them was an indescribable relief, I get excited every time I remember it,” he described.
After the attack, things changed in Israel. There was a climate of deep political divisions. However, Marcelo and Diana pointed out to this media that now everyone is united. “Our people are united with the sole objective of eliminating Hamas, there are no more divisions,” Marcelo concluded.