Eliahu Pietruszka lived for years under the assumption that his younger brother had died in a Russian labor camp during World War II. But his brother had survived, a detail recorded in Yad Vashem’s genealogy project.
Thanks to Yad Vashem, Pietruszka learned that his brother, who passed away some years ago, had a son. The two were able to meet for an emotional reunion, something that is becoming rare due to the diminishing number of survivors, writes Aron Heller from The Times of Israel.
Upon meeting, the two men clutched each other tightly and chatted in Russian as they examined each other’s similar facial features.
“You are a copy of your father,” said a shaking Pietruszka, who has a hearing aid and gets around in a rolling walker. “I haven’t slept in two nights waiting for you.”
[Their reunion was possible] thanks to the Yad Vashem database of pages of testimony, whose goal is to gather and commemorate the names of all of the estimated six million Jewish victims of the Nazi genocide. The Names Recovery Project has been Yad Vashem’s flagship mission in recent years. The memorial’s very name — Yad Vashem is Hebrew for “a memorial and a name” — alludes to its central mission of commemorating the dead as individuals, rather than mere numbers like the Nazis did.