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Maya and Dvir Rosenfeld. (Jenna Schoenefeld for The Free Press)

Miracle in Hell: The Baby Twins Who Survived a Massacre

On October 7, Hamas left two infants orphaned. I spoke to the aunt and uncle now helping raise them.

On October 7, Hamas terrorists stormed into the home of Hadar and Itay Berdichevsky in Kibbutz Kfar Aza, one of the Israeli communities along the Gaza border. Hadar and Itay—both 30 years old—were butchered in their own home.

Miraculously, their 10-month-old twins survived. The babies were found—rescued by the IDF—14 hours later, crying in their cots. Their parents’ bodies lie in pools of blood around them.

Today on Honestly, we’re talking with the twins’ aunt and uncle, Maya and Dvir Rosenfeld, who are now helping raise their orphaned twin nephews. Maya and Dvir also survived the massacre on Kfar Aza that day. They hid in their safe room for more than 24 hours with their own baby boy—holding their hands over his mouth to keep him quiet—as they heard the terrible sounds of their neighborhood being turned into a slaughterhouse around them.

Maya and Dvir flew to L.A. last week to share their family’s story. They’re doing this—even in the midst of mourning the loss of family, even while trying to recover from this unspeakable terror and tragedy—because they cannot understand how there are people who either don’t know, don’t believe, or simply don’t care about what happened that day. Or about the over 100 remaining hostages in Gaza.

There are so many stories from October 7 that need to be told. We’ve told some of them on this show. And still, we’ve barely scratched the surface of what happened that day, of the thousands upon thousands of stories—individual, human stories of horror and tragedy—each one deserving of being shared with the world. 

This one today represents a little light in a sea of darkness. These innocent babies—who will not remember the terror of October 7—represent both senseless tragedy and unbelievable bravery. Both pain and hope. Both ultimate despair and miracle beyond belief. Both death. . . and life. 

Our full conversation is available on Honestly (click here to listen) or as a video, which we are embedding below. And underneath that is an edited excerpt. —BW

About Kibbutz Kfar Aza and the Rosenfeld clan:

BW: Tell me about the kibbutz you were raised on and a little bit about your family. 

DR: We are a family of six brothers and sisters, born and raised in the kibbutz. The kibbutz is a small community, around 900 people. My parents arrived there in their twenties. Back then, it was paradise. There was no border, barely a fence. When I was a kid, we used to go to Gaza. The beach was amazing. We used to fix our cars there, get our furniture there, and buy our bicycles there. We used to work the fields just next to them. For the Jewish holidays, the workers from Gaza used to come to our house, and for the Muslim holidays, we used to go there. 

BW: Maya, you didn’t grow up in Kfar Aza, did you?

MR: I didn’t grow up there. A very short time after we started dating, the first time I went to visit Dvir, right away I knew this was going to be my house. I fell in love with the kibbutz. It was the most beautiful place in Israel. Everyone used to call it 95 percent paradise and 5 percent hell. Because it was paradise when everything was okay. But then when there was an escalation—when Hamas starts to shoot rockets—so that’s the 5 percent. But usually, people would just leave their homes, go up north for a few days, and wait for things to calm down and then come back.

BW: Tell us a little bit about the worldview of the people that chose to live on Kfar Aza.

MR: Ironically, on October 7, we were supposed to have something called an afifoniadah—a kite festival. It was organized by the Kutz family. The message of the festival was: they will throw rockets at us, but we’ll throw kites back—in order to show them that we want peace. That we want to be in a good relationship with one another. The Kutz family—a family of five—was murdered on October 7.

: Tell me about your sister, Hadar, and her husband, Itay.

Itay (left) and Hadar Berdichevsky with their twin boys. (Courtesy of Maya and Dvir Rosenfeld)

DR: Hadar is the youngest of the four sisters. She’s smart, sharp, beautiful. When you say someone is perfect, inside and out—this is Hadar. Everything she touched became gold. Always smiling, such a good soul. Which also makes it hard to believe that when the terrorists crossed through her house, they thought she was a threat.

: She was the most delicate thing—beautiful, skinny, tall. No one can be mistaken to think she’s a threat.

: And Itay—Itay became family in a matter of minutes. Such a good guy. He loved her so much. So gentle, so good, always helping, always laughing. Always there for you—no matter what. Amazing husband, amazing friend, unbelievable father. It was the perfect combination.

: So you have a baby that’s one year old. Hadar and Itay have babies that are 10 months old. So you’re all having kids at the same time?

DR: Yes, out of my six brothers and sisters, four of us lived on the kibbutz.

MR: And we all had five babies in one year—seven months apart. Everyone would say, “You’re taking over the kindergarten.” It was a lot of fun. We had so many dreams to grow them up together. We used to look at each other and say, these five are going to be together and grow older together, their whole lives together. We had so many dreams.

DR: So many plans.

What happened at Kfar Aza on October 7:

BW: Take me back to the morning of October 7.

MR: At the beginning we just thought it’s another escalation that’s starting. So we went straight away to our safe room. Then friends started to write, “We can hear gunshots.” “We’re starting to hear Arabic.” Dvir said people were exaggerating. But then after a few minutes, we started to hear Arabic and gunshots. We didn’t even imagine this could happen. Our house was right in the middle of a battlefield. The shooting didn’t stop the whole time. 

DR: I held the door for 20 hours straight, and Maya held Ziv for 20-some hours, just like in the Holocaust. Dummy in his mouth, a hand on his mouth, so he won’t make any noises. Each one of us knew exactly what we needed to do. The first thing was to keep Ziv safe. During that time, we are getting these messages from other people: 

“He got shot, he needs help.” 

“They’re burning me alive.” 

“They killed my parents.” 

MR: Someone wrote:

“She died in front of her kids.” 

“Someone needs to go and help him, he’s wounded.” 

DR: And you have to understand that when you get a message of “Please, he’s dying,” this is someone you grew up with and is 50 to 100 meters from your home. We couldn’t go save our friends. They were stuck 50 meters from our home. My sister Hadar and her husband, Itay, were only a three-minute walk from my house. We couldn’t do anything.

The Berdichevsky home at Kibbutz Kfar Aza after October 7. (Image courtesy of Maya and Dvir Rosenfeld)

MR: I think at that point we understood, okay, we’re occupied. We’re not in Israel anymore. This is something different. The army isn’t taking control, and we’re stuck here.

MR: We were 24 hours in the safe room. And I think gradually we started to get depressed. Things were really desperate. The air was hot; it was dark. There was no electricity. The phone went out. We had no phone, no communication to the outside world. There was heavy fighting going on around our house. And we just felt like, that’s it. There’s nothing more we can do. I looked at Dvir, and I said, “Really? This is how it’s going to end?” It was heartbreaking. 

BW: Tell me about what happened to Hadar and Itay—because you’re there in your safe room with a baby, and they’re there in their safe room on the same kibbutz with two babies. When did you realize that they were in graver danger than you were? 

DR: The last message from Hadar was at five minutes to seven, and she wrote, “Such a great time to be stuck in the shelter room with two diapers,” or something like that. And everyone was laughing because no one thought this is what’s going to happen.

DR: Around noon, a neighbor sent a message that said, “Their door is open. There is an empty magazine of an AK-47 Kalashnikov on the steps, on the stairs. And I hear the twins cry.” We also got other messages from people saying they could hear babies crying.

DR: Then around 8:30 p.m., we got a phone call from Maya’s friend, who is in the Special Forces, that said, “The twins are rescued. They’re out, they’re healthy, they’re alive, they’re out.” And we asked him, “What about Hadar and Itay?” And his answer was, “They’re not on the kidnapped list.” Okay. . . what are you not telling me? 

DR: Around 15 minutes later, my brother rang me. And he told me, “I’m sorry. They are not with us anymore.” This was the breaking point.

DR: Later, we understood that they found Hadar’s body on the kitchen floor with two bottles in her hand. She went out to make bottles for the twins. The window in Hadar’s kitchen is facing the street, so they probably saw her because she was making the bottles in the kitchen. And we know that they shot her through the window.

MR: Then, they went inside and shot Itay in the head. All of that while the two babies are inside the room. The two babies were crying for 14 hours. For me, I can’t hear a baby crying for two minutes without picking him up. These terrorists were in this house for 14 hours, nobody picked up the babies. Nobody gave them something to eat, something to drink. No water. Nothing. The babies were wet. They were dehydrated. They weren’t dressed. What kind of people can do this? 

Maya and Dvir Rosenfeld. (Jenna Schoenefeld for The Free Press)

BW: My understanding is that there were many attempts made to save the two twins. But ultimately it was the 13th Battalion of the Golani Brigade under the command of a man named Tomer Grinberg that managed to save the babies. 

MR: They told the whole rescue story, how they couldn’t believe their eyes. They came into the house, and they saw these two babies. They dressed them with the help of the neighbor. They gave them bottles. They took them to an armored vehicle. And these are tough men, right? They said not a single eye in the car stayed dry, like they all cried inside. They couldn’t believe what they just saw. Especially Tomer.

DR: Because Tomer and Itay knew each other. They had been in the same platoon.

BW: One of the turns of this story that I really couldn’t imagine is that the twins recently turned one, and on the day of their birthday, Tomer Grinberg, the commander that rescued them, fell in battle in Gaza. 

MR: You say that, and it gives me the chills. 

DR: Yeah. Tomer and his soldiers gave the babies their second chance, rescued them, and then fell on the same date that the twins had their one-year birthday. And Tomer himself has family, kids, and it’s hard. The funeral was two days ago. My family went there. . . and it’s hard. 

How Maya and Dvir survived after 24 hours in the safe room:

MR: I think at three in the morning, we fell asleep or passed out. We woke up at five-thirty with soldiers above our heads, weapons in our faces, and they said, “Come, hurry up, you need to pack your stuff. We’re going.” And we started walking to the building behind us, which was 30 meters from us—should be a one- or two-minute walk—but it took us 15 or 20 minutes because Hamas were shooting. So the soldiers just kept telling us, “Get down, get down.” 

DR: And everything was happening with a baby in your hand and bullets are still flying around. Every few steps they put us on the ground while they’re shooting, throwing grenades, RPGs. They took us to a different house. But then the terrorists start to shoot at the building. And the soldiers were afraid that they would shoot an RPG and the building would collapse with all of us inside. So it was a huge battle outside.

DR: On the way out was the first time we saw that everything we thought or felt or heard, while we were in our shelter room, is not even close to what really happened. You saw a white pickup truck just outside of our house bombed completely. You saw a car of someone from the kibbutz that got the phone call from his daughter that she’s dying, and he had come to rescue her—but they shot him. They shot him in the car, bullet holes all over. The glass was shattered. And you saw bodies all over. And you see houses burned.

DR: When we came back to the kibbutz two weeks later, you smelled death. You smelled the blood. Two weeks later, you still smell exactly what happened.

MR: Even our house that didn’t have any blood in it smelled like death. 

Life after October 7:

BW: Who’s been taking care of the twins since October 7? 

DR: For the first month, they were with their other grandma, Itay’s mom. And in the past month and a half, they are with Ofir, one of my sisters. They’re happy, they’re healthy. Everyone around them is taking care of them. It’s sad because every time we look at them, it reminds you of Hadar and Itay and how unfair it is. But at the same time, it fills you up. It gives you this feeling: at least we have them. At least we have something that continues what Hadar and Itay meant to us. The sacrifice they made. All of us as a family are here for them, from that day until we’re not here anymore. To make sure that they’re healthy and smiling. And when they get to an older age, to make sure that they will know who their parents are and what they did for them. And this is one of the reasons we are here telling their stories. 

BW: The twins are only a year old now. They’re not going to remember their parents. What are you going to tell them about who they were and about what happened that day? 

DR: They’ll know exactly who their parents were, the kind of people, the kind of parents, the bravery. And again, this is one of the reasons we’re going around and telling their story. It’s important for us that other people will know who Hadar and Itay were. What’s important is to take care of them, to make sure they’re happy. But I don’t think that you can run away from it—what happened that day, to thousands of people, hundreds of families. 

We will keep all the videos, all of the articles, and when they’ll be old enough to face the story, face the facts, they will watch it. They’ll read it. 

Hadar (left) and Itay Berdichevsky with their twin sons. (Courtesy of Maya and Dvir Rosenfeld)

Why they are traveling across the country to tell their story:

MR: It’s crazy for us that people are starting to say this didn’t happen or that Israelis are exaggerating. I wish it didn’t happen. I wish we were exaggerating. I wish this was all just made up. But we came here to say that this happened, and we saw it and we were there, and we felt it. And all the world needs to know that this happened. I can still smell fire from the house behind my house burning. I can still feel the fear when we got the message from one of the people in the kibbutz that said, “If they’re burning your house, stay inside, it’s better to get burned than to be caught by Hamas.” I can still feel the fear of, are they going to burn their house on me? I’m sitting on my safe room floor with my baby, the room is hot, and I’m just touching the floor to feel, is it hot? Because if they’re going to burn the house, will I know? What am I going to do? If they’re going to burn down, will I go out the window? But then they’ll be waiting for me outside the window. So what will I do?

I wish all of our friends, all of our family, were still here with us. I wish we were still in our home—we’re not in our homes for over two months. We can’t go back to the kibbutz. I don’t know when we will be able to go back to the kibbutz. We’re basically refugees in our own country. We have nothing. The clothes we’re wearing are stuff that people brought us. It’s not our stuff. It’s not our clothes. So I wish everything didn’t happen.

But no, it happened.

This is what we came here to say. And I think the most important thing we came to say is that we have hostages there, and no one can go on with their lives until they are home. These people have done nothing wrong. They need to be back home. And all the international organizations, all the governments, everyone in the world needs to focus now on getting these civilians back because this is the worst war crime that’s ever been committed— 

DR: —since the Holocaust. 

MR: These people need to be back home, and that’s it. That’s the most important thing. We don’t care about anything else. 

On hope for the future:

MR: I want to believe that the common person in Gaza is like me. He wants peace. He wants, at the end of the day, to go home to his kids. He doesn’t want to have missiles around him. He doesn’t want to be in a war zone. He just wants to live and to provide for his family.

BW: Do you still believe that after October 7?

MR: Yes. 

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