A Magen David Adom ambulance stands by near the Western Wall.
(photo credit: MAGEN DAVID ADOM)
Seven decades after the end of the Holocaust, Magen David Adom continues to look for documents to identify relatives and bring together families that have lost contact with their loved ones during World War II. The voluntary first aid, ambulance, and blood supply organization has a special unit working to identify such people around the world.
Every year it receives some 1,000 requests, most of them from next-generation descendants of Holocaust victims or survivors.
Documents in numerous languages are sought to verify family connections. MDA upgraded its computer software and hardware recently to make the searches more effective. The organization also cooperates with the Red Cross, the Interior Ministry, and Yad Vashem.
Recently, MDA’s findings led to the reunion of brothers from Jerusalem – the children of Holocaust survivors – whose uncle in Holland died during the war but left no children.
Susan Edel, who volunteers in the MDA unit, said that most of the requests are from families who want to identify their roots abroad.
“From the moment we receive a query, we work in all possible ways to find relatives abroad, and in most cases we locate documents on where they were during the war, where they died and what happened to them. It is important information for the families, because it helps close the circle for them. We get so much satisfaction from out efforts from helping them,” said Edel.
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday that six months ago, it and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany started a program to visit at home isolated and lonely Holocaust survivors who have received mental health care.
So far, they have helped some 300 of them.