Mordechai Ronen [né Markovits] survived Auschwitz, along with his two brothers. After the liberation, the three returned to their hometown in Romania and debated whether to remain Jews:
So there we were, we three brothers, in Dej, Romania, with a serious decision to make. We had just endured unspeakable horrors, all because of our religion. We discussed whether to keep our Jewish identity or abandon it. After all, if these tragedies happened once, they could happen again. There was only one reason why we were targeted for extermination: we were Jews. We knew anti-Semitism had been around for millennia, and in all likelihood, would continue well into the future. All it would take was another obsessed, manipulative dictator for us to be targets once again. . . .
As you might imagine, these were intense conversations for someone of my age. I was only thirteen years old and my brothers were barely into their twenties. We discussed it every day while staying in Dej. We tried to weigh all the pros and cons, considered the history, and our possible futures. We had just escaped from hell and shuddered at the thought that future generations of Markovitses would have to endure similar experiences.
But I could never get the words my father told me out of my head. “Go to Israel,” he said. I just couldn’t betray his trust, his love, and his hopes for me. I just couldn’t stop being Jewish.
So we three brothers decided to be loyal to our heritage, our parents, our religion, and our roots. We feared the risks could be high. But at the end of the day, there really wasn’t any other option. We simply couldn’t live with ourselves unless we were Jewish. And we figured the best place in the world to be Jewish was Israel.