- Ram (Abraham) Noam was born in 1955 in Tel Aviv, Israel, to David Nachmias (B. 1915, Salonika, Greece) and Jenny (Jeanne) Ezratty (b. December 24, 1920). His older sister Ilana was born on April 30, 1948 in Israel. Jenny was one of six children of Haim Ezratty (b. 1884, Salonika) and Reina-Malka Brudo. Reina was the daughter of Emanuel Brudo who was the head Rabbi of Salonika until 1926. Haim was very involved and an important community member, studying at the main Talmud Torah and one of the founders of Mizrachi Histadrut.
Salonika was the center of Sephardic culture in the Balkans. The Spanish consulate was headed by Jenny’s uncle Salomon Ezratty, for the last 28 years. In the 30’s Spanish citizenship was granted to citizens in Greece who were able to prove with supporting documentation that their families has been evicted from Spain during the Spanish Inquisition. Haim and Reina and their children thus all became Spanish nationals, as did Haim’s sister Sol and their aunt Esther Ezratty. When the Germans entered Salonika on April 9, 1941, there were 511 Spanish nationals, including the Ezratty families. Those who had Spanish citizenship in Greece, were free to move around in the city, shop in local stores and continue to work under the protection of the Spanish Vice-Consul Salomon Ezratty, Jenny’s uncle. Growing antisemitic propaganda and rampant hunger led to some Jewish Spanish citizen’s attempting to immigrate illegally to Spain. Nevertheless, the Ezratty family remained in Salonika until 1943, despite the Spanish government’s promise that they would allow Spanish citizens to immigrate to Palestine.
On July 1943 the Gestapo rounded up the Ezratty family, and the other members of the Salonika’s Jewish community who held Spanish citizenship, in the Shaoul synagogue. They were told they would be deported to Germany where they would remain until they were to be sent onwards to Spain. Immediately afterwards, everyone was taken to the Baron Hirsch ghetto, previously a deportation center for Salonika’s Jews. They remained there for five days. On August 2, 1943, they were put into cattle cars for 12 days, and on August 13, they arrived in Bergen Belsen concentration camp. In Belsen there were four barracks, two for men and two for women. The water was undrinkable as it was polluted, so the Ezratty’s only drank the watery coffee they were given every morning and evening. While food was meagre, all of the Salonikan Jews with Spanish citizenship were able to barter at the black market to obtain additional products. The Germans treated them better, by providing soup, milk, eggs and healthcare to the young children, with a doctor coming to visit every day. Haim recalls even being allowed to light the menorah on Hanukah for all eight nights.
On February 2nd, 7th and 13th, 1944 all Spanish nationals got on trains to Barcelona, six months after arriving in Bergen Belson. The Ezratty family remained in Barcelona for five months. The Joint and the Spanish government helped with all their needs. Afterwards, they moved to Casablanca, Morocco, where they remained for four months. Representatives of the Joint offered the Salonkian Spanish nationals aid to get to Palestine. Around 150 people wanted to go to Palestine, while the remainder preferred to return to Salonika. The Ezratty family sued the Spanish government for 10 million Swiss francs. Haim with the aid of his brother Shlomo, aided the Spanish consulate in Athens with this lawsuit, but nothing came of it. The funds the Spanish government received were given to priests and others. Thus these efforts together with the Union of Greek Jews in Israel and with the World Jewish Congress were useless.
David was one of six children, all whom survived the war. During 1936-1938 he moved to Belgium where he studying engineering and was a member of the Dror youth movement. In 1938 he immigrated to Palestine to Kibbutz Alonim. It was there that he married Jenny Ezratty, after the war.