Viktor and Lena Bogdanovich 248 88.
(photo credit: Magen David Adom)
Viktor Bogdanovich was convinced he would never see his sister again after the two were separated at the end World War II, but swore to never stop searching for her.
After an almost a 64-year separation and a 44-year search, 73-year-old Viktor and his 85-year-old sister Lena were finally reunited recently thanks to help from Magen David Adom's Tracing Unit.
The Bogdanoviches, who lived in Rostov, Ukraine, were separated as a result of the swirling chaos in Russia and Eastern Europe in 1945, while the war raged on.
When Viktor began his search in 1966 to try to find out what happened to his family, he turned to the Russian Red Cross Tracing Service, but the initial search brought no results.
Forty-one years later Liz Suda, Lena's daughter now living in Australia, turned to the Central Tracing Service Center of the German Red Cross to find out what had happened to her mother's family.
No records were located, but they did find that someone else had begun a similar search in the past, a man named Viktor.
Suda immediately identified him as her uncle and launched a search for her mother's brother, who by now had moved to Moscow, though an address could not be found.
In 2009, the Bogdanovich case was reviewed during an international conference of the tracing services of the Red Cross held in Bad-Arolsen, Germany.
The local tracing staff consulted with their overseas colleagues about the prolonged search, and based on advice by Yolanta Michaelova of the Russian Red Cross Tracing Services, ITS personnel decided to apply to the MDA tracing unit in Israel, since Viktor and Lena are Jews.
Within days the tracing unit's volunteers, Suzan Adel and Eli Starik, had succeeded in locating Viktor's son in Moscow.
He was notified that his aunt, Lena, was alive and was searching for her brother as well. The information was then relayed to Viktor that his sister was still alive.
"He was filled with excitement so strong it is difficult to put into words, and offered to break the happy news to his father who now lives in Moscow," said Adel.
Lena and Viktor established contact with one another last month, after 64 years of separation; the two were reunited in Northcote, Australia.
"Our story is a typical story of many families of our time, but from our point of view, it is our unique history," Lena said after the meeting.