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Holocaust Survivor Siblings Reunited

The brother and sister find out about each other by chance at a museum in Jerusalem.

December 22, 2003|From Reuters

JERUSALEM — A brother and sister who were split up as children in Poland and survived the Holocaust apart have been reunited in Israel after 65 years.

Shoshana November, 73, and Benny Shilon, 78, had lived in Israel since 1948 without knowing the other was alive.

November said Saturday's reunion only came about by chance after a friend pushed her to visit Jerusalem's Holocaust museum, Yad Vashem, last week. She started looking through the archive for her husband's family because she "had no one left." A member of the staff then came up with the news that her brother was alive.

Shilon had left his details just two weeks earlier in the museum's "Pages of Testimony."

"We jumped on one another and we hugged and kissed and it was hard to talk -- it was hard to think," November said.

Shilon then found out that one of the photos in the museum was of November. He had passed it many times without recognizing the girl staring through the wire fence at Auschwitz. "I looked for her and my siblings during all the years after the war. In the end it happened like a Hanukkah miracle," he said.

Shilon and November were split up in 1936, when their father left home for financial reasons. Their mother could not cope with four children, and they went to separate orphanages. They met two years later for the last time before Saturday.

In 1942, November was sent to Auschwitz and later was moved to the Birkenau camp.

Shilon escaped to Russia and volunteered for the Red Army. He took part in the operation to liberate Auschwitz, but by then his sister had been moved.

"You cannot describe this in words," Shilon said. "I grew up alone and I was immune to crying, I didn't know how to. But last night, I cried."

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