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How nanny saved toddler Moshe
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December 05, 2008 15:24 IST

Sandra Samuel, the daring Indian nanny who risked her life to save baby Moshe Holtzberg during last week's terror strikes in the Jewish Centre in Mumbai, says she felt like a "coward" hiding during the incident and regrets she could not save his parents as well.

"My first thought was always for the baby....Even today, I am thinking I should have sent the baby and done something for the Rabbi and his wife," Samuel told CNN.

Samuel said she was in the kitchen when she first heard gunshots and came face-to-face with terrorists.

"I was in the kitchen, I came running and saw that one man was shooting at me, he shot at me." That's when I was in the storeroom hiding like a coward," she said, narrating the events of the day when terrorists targeted and seized the prominent Jewish building, the Nariman House, in Colaba.

Samuel grabbed Moshe in her arms as terrorists stormed the Chabad House in Mumbai and fled while the attackers pumped bullets into her employers Rabbi Gavriel Hotzberg and his wife Rivika at the centre.

Recounting her feeling of helplessness, she said, "I have nightmares about this. Me sitting between the fridge and another worker near the fridge. We want to do something but we can't do anything and we go to the window and as we came out we find it is being bombed and glass being shattered everywhere."

"It was next morning when the baby called me. When I went Moshe was standing next to Ima (mother) and crying my name. That's what I know," said Samuel.

When asked whether she knew where the gunmen were when she picked up the toddler and whether she was scared, Samuel replied in the negative.

"No. I was just thinking, just take the baby and run, frankly. When I heard gunshots it is not one or two, It's like hundreds of gunshots, grenades bombs in the Chabad. Even I am a mother of two children, so I just picked up the baby and ran."

"I don't think of fear. Does anybody think of dying at that moment when a small precious baby is there?" she added.

Samuel, who is currently in Israel after being flown with the baby and his grandparents, said she was just coping with the tragedy. "It is just that the baby's there and Sandra is there. That is it."

Six Jews, including Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and Rivika, were killed during the terror siege of Nariman House where the Jewish couple ran a cultural and outreach centre for the Chabad-Lubavitch movement.

The Israeli government is considering conferring the top national honour "Righteous Gentile" to Sandra for rescuing the child. The honour, usually reserved for saviours of Jews from Holocaust, may facilitate her stay in Israel as a resident.


Moshe was scared and thirsty 

Moshe leaves for Israel, in pictures 

'The congregation dissolved in tears at Moshe's grief'

'Rabbi Holtzberg has suffered a lot of hardship'


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