Building and being rebuilt on ruins and acts of forgetting
Tales of the kibbutz and the 1948 war
By: Idan Segev Simsolo
“Where’s Pluto?” is a very popular Israeli children’s book. It’s the story of a dog from Kibbutz Megiddo; one day he runs away to the fields and comes to a pool. Could it have been the spring belonging to the neighboring Palestinian village of Lajjun that was destroyed in the Nakba?

A book called Local Legends has been with me since I was a child in Kibbutz Ha’Ogen. It is a collection of stories about the time the kibbutz was founded and its subsequent years. Already as a child those stories told to us in the children’s house before bedtime has been deeply engraved in my memory. Rereading them immediately raised the question of what made me love them so much as a child. The study I carried out gave me an answer: reading them made me feel that I belonged to that place and to this community. “Ha’Ogen2 Stories” – which is the name I gave to the dozens of kibbutz accounts I examined – are what Pierre Nora refers to as “sites of memory” – a place where one’s intimate, personal memories crumple when confronted with the history of the group. The moment when one’s particular memory is expropriated on behalf of the history of the collective is the moment in which the identity of the group emerges, the moment in which the “I” is replaced by the “we”.

Summarized and edited the Hebrew version: Shira Hazan-Grinbaum
Translation to English: Charles Kamen 

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