Israel-Hamas War

Former Chicago residents hold out hope for son taken hostage by Hamas

Hersh Goldberg-Polin was last seen when Hamas militants loaded him into the back of a pickup with other hostages abducted from a music festival.

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After Hamas released two American hostages -- a mother and daughter from Evanston who were kidnapped two weeks ago -- loved ones of others being held in captivity are holding out hope, longing for their relatives to be freed as well.

An estimated 200 people, including 10 other Americans, were believed to have been taken hostage by the terrorist organization during its Oct. 7 rampage on Israel.

Hersh Goldberg-Polin, a Jerusalem resident whose parents grew up in the Chicago area, hasn't been seen since that day.

"All three of my children feel Chicago is, you know, in their DNA and part of who they are," stated Rachel Goldberg, Hersh's mother. "Their grandmas are both in Chicago."

Goldberg-Polin was last seen when Hamas militants loaded him into the back of a pickup with other hostages abducted from a music festival where at least 260 people were killed.

Hersh's mother, speaking to NBC Chicago, said he is in urgent need of medical attention.

"I don't know if he bled out the first day," she said. "You know, they... blew his arm off. They put him on a truck. I don't know enough about medicine to know, you know...supposedly eyewitnesses said he fashioned some type of tourniquet, but how long can a tourniquet hold when you are driving into a war zone?

Friends and family have started a social media campaign using the hashtag #BringHershHome, and in the days since, it has gained immense traction.

Goldberg said the messages of support from near and far are making this heartbreaking situation heartwarming at the same time. Her focus now is asking others to share her son's story.

"Every little bit helps," she said. "Just having his name out there helps all the hostages."

Family hopes Hersh will come home in time for a backpacking trip to southern Asia, which he has been long looking forward to.

"Everyone is praying for the safe release of all of the hostages and that our Hirsch can go on the trip that he's been planning for his whole life," Goldberg said.

Israeli military spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari previously said that Israel was continuing to work to return hostages and find the missing, and its goals had not changed. “We are continuing the war against Hamas and ready for the next stage of the war,” he said.

President Joe Biden, in a conversation with released hostages Judith Raanan and Natalie Raanan, said, "“I’m just delighted we’re able to get you out. We’re going to get them all out, God willing.”

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