Varda Cohen, nee Resi Rappaport, was born in Germany and arrived in England, aged 15, with the “Kindertransport” shortly before the outbreak of war.
As a Zionist, I joined the “hachsharah” at Great Engeham Farm, in Kent. From there my group was moved to Bydown, near Swimbridge in Devon where I was assigned to various work projects and received my Zionist education, including history and philosophy, which was my favorite subject. When Bydown was dissolved, I joined a hachsharah at Bredon’s Norton, which at one point I left to be by myself. I went to Leeds where I stayed one year and then decided to join the British Habonim and to return on hachsharah.
After the war, in 1947, some of our group left for France where we worked with people who had been liberated from concentration camps. Eventually I joined a group of illegal immigrants to Palestine, the so-called Alyah Bet. Our illegal immigration boat was seized by the British who sent us to an internment camp in Cyprus. I stayed there one year until I was released, and in 1948, arrived in Israel. Soon our group started a new kibbutz and I stayed there for five years after which I went to live in Tel Aviv for one year, and then with my sister, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for four years.
When I returned to Israel, I lived with my husband in Jerusalem where I worked as a travel agent. We have no children. Now that I have successfully survived cancer surgery and a rare life threatening illness, I feel encouraged to look to the future with hope and determination.