Holocaust survivors at Auschwitz..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Although 35 Israeli survivors of the Holocaust pass away every day, Magen David Adom’s tracing unit, which works to locate relatives and renew family ties, has its hands full bringing together their descendants. It has managed to find documents and over the years match up hundreds of families, most of them from the second generation of survivors.
As a member of the International Red Cross Movement since 2006, MDA offers humanitarian aid that is not limited to ambulances, first aid and blood collection.
The tracing service is provided to people who have been separated from their families, whether voluntarily or due to wars or disasters. It works in cooperation with national Red Cross societies around the world, the International Tracing Service and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
In Israel, many Holocaust survivors, their families and their descendants have lost contact with their relatives during World War II and seek information about their fate. The unit handles the search for family members with whom contact was cut off, locates documents and helps locate graves if they exist.
In the past year, MDA has received 145 files. Since 2008, 3,521 applications have been received and processed for tracing and obtaining information. In most cases, relatives were provided with documents attesting to the fate of their family members, and in six cases brothers and sisters were reunited, some of whom did not know each other.
Susan Edel, a volunteer in the unit, explained that most of the queries involve families of survivors seeking to identify their roots abroad. “When we receive a query, I work immediately with all sources and data banks to get information about where their relatives were during the war, what happened to them and where they died. We get tremendous satisfaction when we succeed,” she said.
Regarding the success of the unit, MDA director Eli Bin said: “Our unit has managed to bring together many families, contributing greatly to closing the circle and relieving those who believed they would never find information about missing relatives.”