Tzvi Odzer Reflects on The Passing of Yehuda Wachsman

Apr 14, 2021 5:00 PM ET

In June of this year, 2020, Yehuda Wachsman at the age of 73 passed away. He spent his last years struggling with illness, but his wife now feels this last challenge has finally given him freedom that’s been needed for years. Tzvi Odzer is very familiar with this long journey; his relative was Yehuda Wachsman’s son, the Israeli Defense Force soldier who was murdered by Hamas terrorists after being kidnapped and held as a hostage for leverage. The soldier died during a rescue for him in 1994.

The Event Connected Everyone and Tzvi Odzer

Tzvi Odzer, like many in his family, was shocked by the events and saddened for years. Yet it was Yehuda that carried the greatest burden along with his wife, Esther. Both have had to repeatedly watch their son on hostage films in his last days, visit his grave multiple times, and remember their son in memories when he was still alive. It’s been hard for both, Tzvi Odzer has noted, but for Yehuda at least now there is freedom from this plane and maybe company with his son again.

A Day of Mistakes

Yehuda’s son, Nachshon, was 19 when he for some reason decided to leave his base and try to hitchhike his way to a destination. As Tzvi Odzer remembers and has been reported repeatedly, it was during this point that Hamas terrorists were able to get their hands on Nachson and kidnapped him. The terrorists then held Nachson, videotaped him to prove the capture, and threatened to kill the young soldier unless Israel released 100s of prisoners in exchange. As Tzvi Odzer and many others in Wachson’s family cringed on edge, a rescue operation had been launched. It failed, however. Nachson was killed by one of the terrorists before the rescue could reach him, and one of the rescuers was also killed as well. Yitzhak Rabin as Israel’s leader took responsibility for the failed rescue, but it didn’t do anything to bring Yehuda Wachson his young son back. Nachson was gone, and Tzvi Odzer and the rest of his family lived with this loss for years.


2014 was the 20th anniversary of the loss of Nachson, and the moment of passing brought everything back to Yehuda, Esther, and everyone in the family including Tzvi Odzer. It was a moment of memory and contemplation. Tzvi Odzer still takes a moment to think about Nachson from time to time. Yehuda’s passing in mid-2020 brought it all back again for Steven. However, with each year’s passing, the events now seem more and more distant. Tzvi Odzer can’t go back in time to make things right for Yehuda and Esther, but he remembers the loss of Nachson annually like the rest of his family.

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