Former Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard got engaged on Wednesday to Rivka Abrahams-Donin, granddaughter of a British Jewish officer who tracked down and captured the commander of Nazi death camp Auschwitz.
Abrahams-Donin, a mother of seven from Jerusalem, is a member of the Chabad Lubavitcher community and made Aliyah in 1996. She lost her husband several years ago.
Pollard lost his wife of almost 30 years Esther, who was also battling cancer, to complications of COVID-19 earlier this year. She led a campaign for the release of her husband who was serving a 30-year prison sentence for espionage. The two arrived in Israel in December 2020 after his parole restrictions expired five after his release.
During the engagement announcement, Pollard expressed his gratitude to his late wife for her "infinite love" and said it was she who introduced the two and "allowed this miracle to happen." The wedding is expected to take place in two months, after the High Holy Days.
Abrahams-Donin's grandfather, Karl Louis Abrahams, was an intelligence officer in the British military who was part of the mission to capture infamous Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Hoess who oversaw the deaths of 2.5 million people between 1940 and 1943.
In a 2020 interview with Ynet's sister publication Yedioth Ahronoth, Abrahams-Donin said that her grandfather had kept his involvement in Hoess's arrest a secret for decades, and kept documents to prove his part in the heroic operation.
Before his death, he asked his family to hand over the documents to Jerusalem's Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum.
The documents include Hoess's visitor log from his time as camp commander, alongside other personal papers, such as his Nazi party membership card.
Hoess was captured on March 11, 1946, by the British Military Police in a village in northern Germany and was interrogated by Karl and his unit.
"The interrogation lasted three days, during which I did not sleep. The atmosphere was strange and unrealistic when we heard him admit that he was personally responsible and overseeing the death of over 2.5 million people by gas and the cremation of their bodies, most of whom were Jewish," Karl wrote in a letter that he sent to his wife.
On May 25, 1946, Hoess was transferred to the Polish and sentenced to death by hanging on April 2, 1947. The punishment was carried out two weeks later, and on 16 April 1947 Hoess was hanged next to the crematorium at Auschwitz.