Debit/Credit Payment

Credit/Debit/Bank Transfer

Lost Cousins Reunite After 66 Years

May 9, 2006
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Friedvald girls grew up in Warsaw in the 1930s. After the Nazis invaded Poland, their families fled to Lvov. Although they escaped the Germans, Ella, Lila and their parents were taken by the Soviets to a labor camp, while Krystyna and her parents went back to Warsaw.

Krystyna’s last piece of information about her cousins for the next six and half decades was a letter that Lila wrote her from the Soviet camp in which she said that her parents and older sister were dying of hunger. The two sisters were indeed soon orphaned, but they managed to survive the war and moved to Israel, married, and raised their families.

Krystyna was taken to a labor camp in Germany, where she remained until the war ended, when Krystyna’s uncle brought her to England, where she met her husband. The couple decided to move to the U.S.

Then, five years ago, her cousin Ella began to make inquires about possible remuneration from the Generali Company for life insurance taken out by her family members before the war. The Polish offices of the company did not find any policies for her parents or grandparents, but they did find one for her cousin’s father.

Ella then contacted a Polish organization where he had worked, which wrote back that the sisters’ cousin had informed them in a letter in 1947 that her father had been killed in 1942. That letter opened up a whole new world for them. “At that moment we knew that she had survived the war,” Ella said. The next thing to do was to see if she were still alive.

Coincidentally, around the same time that Ella began to make inquiries, her cousin had answered an advertisement put out by the Polish Consulate in New York in search of survivors of the Warsaw uprising. A representative of the consulate then visited Krystyna in her home, and when he asked her if she had any memento for a museum to mark the uprising, she gave him a postcard she had written from the German labor camp 60 years earlier. The museum subsequently put it on its Internet site, which would prove critical in her cousins’ search for her.

Last month, Krystyna got a call from the Polish museum. “Someone is looking for you,” the voice on the other line said in Polish. “Who?” she asked. “How about Ella and Lila?” the voice asked. “Where are they?” Krystyna cried, thinking her cousins were in Poland. “They are in Israel,” came the reply. The next morning at 5 a.m. Krystyna’s phone rang. It was her long-lost cousin calling from Israel. “We talked and we talked and we talked,” she said.

The following week Krystyna was on a plane to Israel to reunite with her cousins. After 66 years, the three were clearly trying to squeeze a lifetime into Krystyna’s one-week visit, her first ever to Israel.

Excerpted from an article by Etgar Lefkovits, The Jerusalem Post

Latest News

Current Issue

View e-Dispatch

PDF Dispatch

Search Dispatch Articles

  • Order