Still seeking information about relatives who went missing in Holocaust

MDA tracing department has received 3,800 inquires in past decade.

April 11, 2018 14:44
2 minute read.
Holocaust survivors

Survivors attend a ceremony in the former Nazi German concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oswiecim, Poland January 27, 2016, to mark the 71st anniversary of the liberation of the camp by Soviet troops and to remember the victims of the Holocaust. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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About 200 requests to trace relatives have been received by Magen David Adom since Holocaust Remembrance Day last year.

Since 2008, MDA ’s tracing department, acting as a representative of the International Red Cross, has received 3,800 requests for assistance in locating or finding information about family members. In most cases, relatives or documents attesting to the fate of the family were found, and in six cases, brothers and sisters were reunited, some of whom had never known each other.

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The service is given to people who have been separated from their families due to wars or disasters. It is done in partnership with national Red Cross societies around the world, the International Tracing Service and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Special attention is given here to Holocaust survivors, their families and their descendants who lost contact with their relatives during the war and seek information about their fate. After receiving applications, the department tries to trace family members whose contacts were lost, locate documents and find graves.

Shulamit Rosenthaler, who heads the department, said: “Most of the requests received by the unit are from families of Holocaust survivors who wish to locate information about their loved ones. Due to the general sensitivity and importance of family reunification and the receipt of information about the family and the Holocaust in particular, we treat and act in every possible way and with all possible factors in order to locate information for the applicants.

Indeed, in most cases we succeed in locating documents and information about the family’s history during the Holocaust.”

Meanwhile, Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center is making an effort to find all patients who are Holocaust survivors, to inform them of their rights and help them take advantage of them.

Many Holocaust survivors are unaware of these, according to Sarah Noam, head of the hospital’s administration services department.

When patients register at admissions, a computer program notes their date and country of birth. The names are forwarded to the volunteers of the Yehidat Segula organization working in the hospital who contact each patient, check if they are survivors of the Holocaust, and if so inform them of their rights, and instruct them on how to take advantage of these rights.

Among the benefits are free medications and 50 hours of nursing care at home after hospitalization.

The staff of the division joined the challenge, formulated a plan of action, and today identify all the eligible patients hospitalized.

Since the service began a few weeks ago, the volunteers have found five to 10 survivors every day who were eligible and unaware of the benefits.

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