Siblings reunited 60 years after Holocaust
Updated Mon. Sep. 18 2006 11:26 PM ET
CTV.ca News Staff
A brother and sister have been reunited six decades after the Holocaust -- thanks to a website set up in Israel.
Simon Glasberg, who lives in Canada, and Hilda Schilk, who lives in Israel, long thought each other dead, but finally found each other following the efforts of Schilk's grandchildren.
The grandchildren had been searching the 'Central Database of Victims' Names' website in Israel and discovered a page of testimony filled out in memory of their grandmother.
The page had been submitted by Schilk's brother, who believed she had been killed during the Holocaust.
Using the website, the grandchildren were then able to trace their grandmother's remaining siblings.
After flying into Israel from Canada, Glasberg spoke to reporters Monday about the tearful reunion with his sister.
Flanked by family members at the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem, an emotional Glasberg said he "didn't even know she was alive."
"I looked and looked and I couldn't find her," he tearfully told reporters. "My parents also used to cry whenever they remembered her."
Simon Glasberg, 81, of Ottawa, Canada, left, and his sister Hilda Shlick, 75, from Ashdod, Israel, meet at the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem, Monday Sept. 18 2006. (AP / Emilio Morenatti)
An equally emotional Schilk said she was "very happy to see him. I am excited."
Schilk's grandson David described the reunion as "very emotional, and there were a lot of tears."
Speaking to Israel International News, David said "Simon landed in the airport, came out, and then stood there, not knowing where to continue. We then went in and his nephew said, 'Simon, this is your sister' and he burst out crying. They haven't left each other since then; they talk in Yiddish, laugh, cry, and tell a lot of stories."
The testimony on the Victims' Names website says Schilk was born in 1934 and the family lived in Romania during the Holocaust years, before travelling onto Poland and Ukraine.
Some of the family spent some time in a work-camp and after the War, some of the siblings moved to Israel.
Simon served in the IDF during the War of Independence, but moved afterwards to Canada, in the footsteps of his older brother, INN reported on its website.
Though they were both in Israel at the same time, Simon and his parents and siblings didn't know his younger sister was alive.
It was only via a Yad Vashem Page of Testimony that her elder brother later filled out for her, as if she were dead, that led to the reunion, INN said.
Another older brother, also in Canada, was too ill to make the trip to Israel, but the reunited family is planning to visit him in Canada soon, David told Voice of Israel Radio.
"We always wanted to know about the family's past, and we always tried to find new details," David told the radio station.
"She never liked to talk about it. One day I learned that her maiden name was Glasberg. I went to the Yad Vashem website, filled in her details without telling her, and within a minute I found a page saying she had been killed in the Holocaust."
After a few weeks, David and a sibling had tracked down their grandmother's brother's son in Canada, and he led them to their grandmother's surviving siblings, INN reported.
The Central Database of Victims' Names contains around three million names of Holocaust victims.
Some two million of the names come from 'Pages of Testimony,' while the remainder are from archival lists.
At least 10 million people have reportedly visited the website since the database went online in November 2004.
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