Brother and sister separated by Holocaust reunite after 65 years
An Ottawa man was reunited in Israel this week with theyounger sister he thought had perished in the Holocaust 65 years ago.
Simon Glasberg, now 81, last saw his sister Hilda Shlick when she was only 10 years old.
For more than six decades,he thoughtshe had met the same sad fate as six million other Jews who were killed by the Nazis during the Second World War.
Meanwhile, half a world away in Israel, Shlick, now 75, thought her big brother Simon was among the dead.
Recently, the brother and sisterwere overjoyed to learn they were both wrong — thanks to another brother, Karol, who submitted a note to preserve his sister's memory at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem.
This week, Simon Glasberg laid eyes on Hilda for the first time in over six decades.
In spite of her grey hair, he said he recognized her at once, and he cried as he embraced her for the first time since she was a little girl.
"The world was swirling around, and I looked at her," recalled Glasberg of the moment. "I just kissed her â¦ I couldn't stop kissing her."
Grandsons found Shlick's name in Holocaust victims database
Unfortunately, the brother in Montreal who broughtGlasberg and Shlicktogether did not live to see his sister again.
But in 1999, the year he died, Karol Glasberg filed a note with the Yad Vashem memorial, adding Hilda's name to the memorial's Hall of Names.
There, black binders lining the walls are filled with the names of millions of Holocaust victims. Biographical data of victims, entered by family members, is also kept at the museum.
To date, 3.2 million of those records have been computerized and 10 million people have visitedthe databasesince it went online in 2004.
This past summer, Shlick's grandsons, Benny and David, learned that their grandmother's maiden name was Glasberg. They searched Yad Vashem's database and found her mistakenly listed among the dead.
That was how theylearned that members of Hilda's family had not all died asShlick believed, but some had fled to Canada.
Further internet sleuthing helpedShlick's grandsonstrack down Karol's son, who put them in touch with their long-lost relatives.
Family torn apart in 1941
Simon Glasberg last saw his sister in 1941 when he was a teenager in their hometown of Chernowitz, Romania.
That was when Shlick's older sister Bertha fled with her to Uzbekistan while the rest of the family hid in a basement.
Later, Glasberg and Shlick's parents, Henia and Benzion, moved to Canada with their sons, Simon, Karol, Markand Eddie.
Mark and Simon fought in Israel's war of independence, then joined their parents overseas.
No one knows what happened to one other sister, Pepi, but her relatives still believe she was killed by the Nazis.
Shlick and her sister later moved to Estonia, and Bertha died there in 1970. Henia and Benzion died in Montreal in the 1980s, and Eddie died in 2004.
Mark Glasberg, who lives in Ottawa, was too sick to travel when he learned his sister was alive.
But Simon Glasberg took advantage of his opportunity to fly to Israel and spend the Jewish New Year with his sister this weekend.
"My poor parents, they always said, 'We wish we would find all our kids' " Glasberg told Associated Press. "It is such a tragedy, but now I am so happy."
In Israel, where Shlickimmigrated in1998, brother and sister caught up on decades of each other's lives.
Together, they visited Yad Vashem, the museum that brought them together.
During his visit to Israel, Glasberg asked Hilda to return to Canada with him.
Afteryears in Israel, Hilda is reluctant to leave her home, her children and her grandchildren for Canada.
But she has promised Simon she will comefor a month to visitrelatives such as her brother Mark, and the graves of her parents.
Avner Shaley, director of Yad Vashem, said he hopes the story of the happy reunion will encourage Jews worldwide to search the database and submit information about their lost relatives.
With files from the Associated Press