Ben Sira, the boy who survived the Holocaust alone, stared for decades on stages and in movies. He acted in some of the great classics in Israeli culture. He died at the age of 88 at Ichilov Hospital last night.

Yaakov (Yankele) Ben Sira

Yaakov (Yankele) Ben Sira Photo Credit: PR/Channel 2 News

Esteemed actor Yaakov (Yankele) Ben Sira passed away last night (between Wednesday and Thursday). The 88-year-old actor was transported in serious condition to the hospital, where the medical staff was forced to pronounce him dead. Today (Thursday), his coffin will be placed at the Cameri Theater in Tel Aviv at 10:30 AM. At noon, a brief ceremony will take place at the theater and then his coffin will be escorted to the Kiryat Shaul Cemetery.

Ben Sira was born in Brussels in 1927. He escaped from Belgium when the Nazis took over. He immigrated to Israel in 1942. He was the only Holocaust survivor among his family members.

He started his acting career in 1957 when he established the Theater Club Quartet with Gideon Singer, Simon Bar and Reuven Shefer. At the same time, Ben Sira began participating in other performances, such as, Romeo and Juliet, The Good Soldier Švejk, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Sallah Shabati.

His success continued on the movie screen, where he acted in several classic films, such as, Ervinka, Nurit, A Bit of Luck, Kazablan and Lemon Popsicle. He also participated in the hit TV show for children Rechov SumSum (Sesame Street).