Although it has been seven decades since the end of World War II, many Holocaust survivors are still looking for their lost family members.
Approximately 1,000 annual requests, from all over the world, are sent to Magen David Adom’s Restoring Family Links Department.
One heartwarming story occurred just last month. Eran Witt, a 77 year old Israeli from Kibutz Beit-Haemek, was reunited with his cousin, Tania Mak, from the Netherlands.
Tazpit News Agency interviewed Witt who spoke about discovering his cousin. “Tania Mak is my uncle’s daughter; she was born in the Netherlands in 1942. Because my uncle was murdered during World War II, his connection with my father was lost. I didn’t think I had any lost relatives,” Witt told Tazpit.
“I was approached by Susan Edel from Magen David Adom. She informed me that I have a cousin in the Netherlands. Susan gave me Tania’s phone number, and since then we rekindled our family tie,” Witt continued.
“The first time I spoke to Tania was very emotional, it felt like a fairytale. I hope I will get to meet her in the near future, in Israel or the Netherlands,” Witt told Tazpit.
Magen David Adom is Israel’s emergency medical service. In 2006, it was officially recognized by the International Committee of the Red Cross as the national aid society of the state of Israel. The organization is also a member of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
Through the connection between Magen David Adom and the Red-Cross, Tania was able to find her lost cousin Witt in Israel.
Susan Edel, a volunteer at the Restoring Family Links Department at Magen David Adom told Tazpit News Agency that the department receives countless requests for locating family members each year. “We get lots of requests from all over the world; a lot of them come from Israelis who immigrated to Israel from the former Soviet countries of Eastern Europe. It’s only recently, that they understood that there is a real chance of finding lost relatives.”
“It usually takes a lot of time to restore a broken family link; we search archives, the internet and governmental authorities. When we succeed, it is very emotional,” said Edel.
“I recall one successful story of a restored link, in which we were able to connect lost siblings, a brother and a sister. They hadn’t seen each other for over 60 years; it was very humbling and emotional,” she told Tazpit.