Lost 1948 locket honoring deceased soldier to be returned to nephew

During renovation works in an apartment in Nachlaot, a locket carrying the name 'Eliaz' was found. Eliezer Zeltzer died in 1948. Four years later, his father founded a winery naming it after him.

A JEWISH solider stands guard outside a building days after the British Mandate ended in 1948 (photo credit: REUTERS)
A JEWISH solider stands guard outside a building days after the British Mandate ended in 1948
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Few areas have been able to maintain a palpable atmosphere of the Israel of the past more than the Nahlaot neighborhood in Jerusalem. On Wednesday, a resident’s exceptional discovery brought to light a story from that newborn country where even the most immense tragedy could not suppress the hope and the striving to build a brighter future.
During renovation works in an apartment in Nahlaot, David Samucha found an old-looking tin box in the attic. The box contained a lot of coins dating back to 1948 and a locket. On one side, the locket read the name “Eliaz,” on the other, it carried a design featuring a bottle of wine, a glass and the traditional Jewish blessing over the wine.
Curious to understand more about the story, Samucha started to do some Internet research and that Eliaz was Eliezer Zeltzer, son of Joseph, a Holocaust survivor.
In Hungary, the Zeltzer family had been in the winemaking industry for generations, and were so highly regarded that they were even awarded a certificate of appreciation for their work by Austro-Hungarian Emperor Frantz-Joseph I – as it appears from documents kept by the National Library and available on their website.
In Israel, Joseph, one of the very few members of the family who survived Nazi persecutions, decided to devote himself to the family business once again. In 1952, he founded a winery and named it Eliaz, after his son who had been killed in the War of Independence in 1948.
As the company’s website explains, the winery changed owners several times over the decades. Today, it is called Binyamina and it’s one of the country’s leading wineries.
Once Samucha figured out who Eliaz’s identity, he decided to take to social media in an attempt to get in touch with Zeltzer family descendants.
On Wednesday, he posted the story and the pictures of his findings on Facebook, including in some Facebook groups for history lovers, asking for help.
The post caught the attention of some employees of MyHeritage, an Israeli genealogy platform that, among others, collects historical records and documents, and offers a DNA service to their clients to find out more about their origins and family.
According to a statement, their employees were able to locate a nephew of the deceased soldier, who was named Eli after him. It added that Samucha will meet David to return the locket to him in the coming days.