When Holocaust victim, Karolina Cohn, was about to be led to the gas chambers, she left her pendant, one very similar to a pendant Anne Frank used to wear, under the floor boards. After it was discovered decades later, this pendant reunited many of Cohn’s relatives from around the world.
Recently, these long-lost relatives were able to attend her family’s memorial service, where Cohn and her sister, Gitta, and her parents, Richard and Else Cohn, were honored with “stumbling stones.” These stones are laid across Europe in memory of Holocaust victims, placed between cobblestones near where the person used to live or work.
The discovery of the pendant set off genealogical research by Jerusalem- based entrepreneur Chaim Motzen, who swiftly managed to trace the surviving members of Karolina’s family…
“It’s really amazing to be here in her [Karolina’s] hometown and to feel her presence, that she walked on these streets,” said Molly Bruckman, great-granddaughter of Richard Cohn’s brother, Sigmund Bruckmann.
Molly Bruckman’s cousin Cynthia Bruckman said she was moved to tears by the ceremony, which was sponsored by the Claims Conference, which also funds the Yad Vashem database that enabled the researchers to find the pendant’s owner.
Bruckman said she was particularly touched by the words of Greg Schneider, executive vice president of the Claims Conference, who spoke of the family’s “sacred obligation” to remember Cohn.
“Sometimes, I imagine that Karolina dropped it purposefully between the floorboards as she prepared for death, hoping that clue would survive even if she didn’t,” Schneider told the gathering.