Avraham Havron’s family sensed the winds of antisemitism picking up in 1930s Germany. They packed up 7-year-old Avraham and moved to a dry and sparsely populated stretch of land between Lebanon and Egypt on the Mediterranean.
As World War II broke out in Europe and Nazis hunted Jews down to murder or round up into concentration camps, Avraham’s vision of a peaceful community where all members contribute started to crystalize.
In 1947 he and his young bride, Rina, founded the Be’eri kibbutz, a communal farming village, in the Negev desert.
Avraham and Rina Havron founded Be’eri kibbutz in 1947.Courtesy Shira Havron
“It was built on values of equality and community and togetherness,” his granddaughter Shira Havron told NBC News.
Seventy-six years later Be’eri became the scene of a massacre at the hands of Hamas and 10 members of Avraham Havron’s extended family would be missing, presumed to be held hostage by terrorists in the underground tunnels of Gaza manned by Hamas.
Terrorists killed more than 120 Be’eri residents, including children, and kidnaped others, then torched people’s homes, according to Israeli authorities and video of the carnage reviewed by NBC News.
Seven of the 10 missing family members of Shira Havron hold dual citizenship with European countries and Israel.
Follow live updates from NBC News here.
Shira Havron in front of the E.U. Parliament in Brussels on Wednesday with a photo of her missing 3-year-old cousin.Dan Soboviyz
Havron, who lives in Tel Aviv but was traveling in London when the attack occurred, was in Brussels on Wednesday meeting with European Union leaders to urge them to take action to find the hostages in Gaza.
Inside European Parliament, she described being met with a warm welcome.
“Everybody was giving their condolences and hugging us and greeting us very warmly and taking long meetings with us,” she said. “But it’s easy to speak and to listen, and eventually we have an expectation to see actions from that.”
Shira Havron, far left, meets Wednesday with the president of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, right.Dan Soboviyz
Havron, her father, missing aunt and cousins — one as young as 3 — all hold German citizenship through her grandfather Avraham.
Other family members believed to be held hostage hold dual citizenship with Italy and Austria.
Avraham Havron died last year at the age of 97. His two daughters, who were attacked and possibly kidnapped by Hamas, have lived their entire lives in the village he founded.
The 10 missing members of Shira Havron’s family.Courtesy Shira Havron
One of them, Shoshan Haran, fights the global hunger crisis through her NGO Fair Planet. The other, Lilach Kipnis, is a social worker who supports survivors of trauma.
The 10 missing family members make up roughly half of Avraham and Rina Havron’s descendants and extended family.
“Thank God they[my grandparents] did not live to see this,” Shira Havron said.
The devastation to one family underscores the brutality of the horrific Hamas attack on Saturday, where terrorists who entered Be’eri went door to door, spilling blood at every turn.
“I saw babies murdered. I saw children murdered. … I saw children and teenagers tied together and burned to death,” said first responder Yossi Landau, commander of the aid organization ZAKA South.
Havron’s remaining family has received no information yet from authorities.
But one of the missing relative’s cellphone pinged from Gaza on Saturday, leading her and her surviving relatives to believe the family is being held hostage there.
Havron has seen video of the two houses her family lived in in Be’eri, torched by Hamas.
On Wednesday they learned that her uncle Eviatar Kipnis’s caretaker, Paul Castelvi — who helped Eviatar’s with mobility due to his auto-immune condition — was identified among the dead.
The remaining members of the Havron family are holding out hope their loved ones are still alive.
Shira Havron’s extended family, 10 of whom are missing.Courtesy Shira Havron
CORRECTION (Oct. 12, 2023, 6:55 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misstated the name of Shira Havron’s uncle. He is Eviatar Kipnis, not Avshalom Haran.
Anna Schecter is a senior producer in the NBC News Investigations Unit.