A 72-year-old Auschwitz survivor has taken to Facebook in search of his long-lost twin.
Sixty-eight years after he was separated from his brother, Menachem B., who now lives in Israel, enlisted the help of a genealogist to create a Facebook page under the name "A7734." An old, black-and-white photograph of a little boy stands in as the profile picture, and the first post, published on March 2, lists a cryptic set of facts: “Looking for Jolli [Jeno] – child survivor A7734 from Auschwitz, 4.5 years old at liberation."
"Born in 1940. Clues lead to possible adoption by a Christian family, then to the USA. Whatever name and location, his tattooed number is A7734. And his brother still hopes to meet him," the post reads. "Please help us by spreading the word.”
As of Thursday night, the page had been shared 50,000 times, received 2,500 comments and gotten nearly 9,000 likes. According to the page’s administrators, more than a million people from all over the world have viewed it.
Menachem B. and his twin brother were sent to Auschwitz in May 1944, just shy of their fourth birthday, where they were subjected to cruel medical experiments, the Facebook page states. Both survived the war and were separated just two days before liberation.
“Jolli's brother was taken out of camp, leaving behind all memory," states one post. "For the next 67 years he had a different name and no knowledge about his family. Now he knows. We also know that Jolli was very much alive at liberation. Maybe he too changed his name, maybe even changed his religion. The only definite link between them is the number tattooed on his arm – A7734. He may be your neighbour, a friend, or even a relative."
The story of the Israeli survivor's search for his long-lost brother was published for the first time last week on the Daily Beast news site. After liberation, Menachem B., as he is now called, was adopted by a Jewish family who immigrated to Israel. Only at age 20 did his adopted father tell him he had a twin brother.
About a year ago, his relatives enlisted the help of Rehovot-based geneaologist Ayana Kimron to search for the boy. Kimron discovered a Red Cross document dated February 9, 1945, two weeks after Auschwitz was liberated, mentioning 4-year-old twins named Elias and Jeno Gottesmann.
One had the tattooed number A7734, and the other A7733. The second number matched the one on Menachem B.’s arm. It was the first time he had ever heard his real name: Elias Gottesman.
And so, last year, he set out for his city of birth, now in Ukraine, to search for his brother. While there, he says, an old woman told him she remembered twins who lived nearby – in a house that he is now sure he remembers.
Several more months of searching yielded no results, however, and Kimron suggested she create a Facebook page. The first post was dated earlier this month.
Kimron invites anyone with information to contact her at FamilyRoots2000@gmail.com.
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