Sixty-five years after Simon Glasberg was separated from his sister Hilda at the start of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, the siblings were reunited Monday in an emotional ceremony at Yad Vashem. The two were almost miraculously brought together thanks to the on-line database of 3.1 million names of Jewish victims of the Nazis stored at Yad Vashem. Glasberg, 81, a Montreal furrier now retired in Ingleside, Ontario, near Cornwall - a picturesque town overlooking the St. Lawrence River - last saw his younger sister Hilda Shlick, today 75 and living in Ashdod in late June, 1941, when the Wehrmacht and the Romanian army were advancing toward their home town of Czernowitz 30 km. from the Romanian border. Bertha Schaeffer, the eldest of the seven Glasberg siblings, escaped with her baby sister to Uzbekistan - then a part of the Soviet Union far from the front. Their parents and remaining siblings, including Simon, stayed behind. All contact was lost. After World War II Hilda settled in Estonia, believing her parents, brothers and sisters had all been murdered by the Nazis. Simon made his way to Israel, and similarly believed his sister hadn't survived the war. In the 1960s Simon moved to Canada to join his brother Mark Glasberg. The two became partners in Montreal's Model Furs. Meanwhile, after Hilda's husband Elya Itshok died in Estonia, she moved to the Ashdod to be with her son Zali and grandchildren. During the course of a family discussion a few months ago, those grandchildren - Benny, David and Yefim Shlick - learned of their grandmother's maiden name. Doing an on-line search in Yad Vashem's archive, they discovered a page of testimony about her had been mistakenly filled out in 1999 by Karol Weiner of Montreal. Karol, like his brother Simon, assumed his sister had perished during the Holocaust. While Karol himself died in 1999 not long after his testimony, Benny and David Shlick continued to pursue their genealogical research. Through the Web site of the Montreal Burial Society and on-line forums of survivors from Chernowitz, they were able to track down Karol Weiner's son, Dr. Eric Weiner, who today lives in Florida. With that connection they finally put the puzzle together and told their grandmother that she had family alive in Canada. When the phone rang at Simon's house last week, he was speechless when his sister Hilda came on the line. "I was so happy, I couldn't talk," he said. A reunion in Jerusalem for Rosh Hashana was quickly arranged. The remaining brother, Mark Glasberg, who is currently residing at Montreal's Maimonides Hospital, is too ill to make the trip. Speaking in Russian, Hilda tearfully recounted her story. But she noted, with terrible irony, that she never knew her parents Henia and Benzion Glasberg had survived the war and were living in Montreal until the 1980s when they died at the ages of 98 and 92, respectively. Hilda added she hoped to visit Montreal soon to see her brother Mark, and her parents' graves. Speaking in English, an overwrought Simon said "the whole world cried" last week when he learned his sister was alive. "Everything was burning," he remembered of the day his two sisters left Czernovitz fleeing the Nazi onslaught. Hilda's grandson David added "Without the pages of testimony, we wouldn't have found him." Speaking in the Hall of Names at Yad Vashem, the institution's director, Avner Shalev, urged families gathered together for Rosh Hashana to fill out pages of testimony to document relatives who died in the Holocaust. The computerized database, which is in English, Hebrew and Russian, is a "virtual tombstone," he said. Today a metropolis in southwest Ukraine which is the capital of its own oblast, Czernovitz in 1941 was a mixed city that had repeatedly changed hands in the opening decades of the 20th century. From 1775 until the dissolution of Austria-Hungary in 1918, the city had formed part of the province of Bukovina. Renamed Cernauti, it was incorporated into Romania, which held it until 1940 when the USSR seized the city. Today it lies in Ukraine and is known as Chernovtsy. Some 3,000 Jews remain among its population of 190,000 people.

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