A 102-year-old Holocaust survivor has met the nephew he never knew he had after discovering just two weeks ago that one of his brothers had also survived the Shoah.
Eliahu Pietruszka left Warsaw in 1939 at the beginning of World War Two, travelling to the Soviet Union. His parents and younger twin brothers, Volf and Zelig, remained in Warsaw, where they were interned in the Warsaw Ghetto.
While his parents and brother were subsequently deported to Nazi death camps, Volf managed to escape the ghetto and flee to the East, where he contacted Eliahu. But Volf was then sent to a Siberian work camp by the Russians, and Eliahu thought he had perished there. In 1949 he made Aliyah to the newly established state of Israel, believing that none of his immediate family remained alive.
Two weeks ago, a Canadian member of the family discovered that in 2005, a Yad Vashem testimonial page had been filled out by Volf Pietruszka for his older brother, Eliahu.
Not only had Volf survived the war, but he had believed that he was the only member of his family left, and that Eliahu had died. He had passed away in 2011, but his only son, Alexandre, was living in the Russian city of Magnitogorsk. After some further communication, it was arranged for Alexandre to fly to Israel.
In an emotional meeting late last week, the two met for the first time.
“I haven’t slept in two nights waiting for you”, a tearful Eliahu Pietruszka told his equally tearful nephew.
“I’m so happy that I can see you and talk to you… you are a copy of your father”.
Alexandre Pietruszka said: “I never thought this would happen.
“I had relatives in Ukraine, but they were on my mother’s side. But nothing here. I searched the online archive in Poland”.
His uncle turned to him and said: “Now you have a big family here in Israel. You won’t be alone.”