Finding family

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“We were not really interested in each other or in the fact that the war was over. Everyone had two preoccupations – staying alive and being reunited with any surviving relatives. After a few weeks, my aunt Miriam, who was in a nearby camp at Braunschweig, came to Belsen to look up the register of survivors, and found my name on it. I was so grateful that someone from my family had found me, and she took me back with her to Braunschweig.

After a few months, we made our way back to Lodz in Poland and I realised that I had lost my home, my possessions, my entire family, my health and my education.”

Renee Salt © Aegis Institute Survival: Holocaust Survivors Tell Their Story (Quill/Aegis, 2003) Beth Shalom Holocaust Centre

 

For most survivors, after the basic needs of finding food, clothing and shelter were dealt with, searching for relatives was the most important objective.

There were many routes to try. Some returned home where they often met hostility from the non-Jewish population; others searched through the camp network, others contacted the Red Cross or made contact with family members who had found refuge in the USA, Canada and UK.

This process could take years, and for many survivors still continues today.