Holocaust Survivor Tracing Unit
In the past year, a special unit of MDA has been set up to trace and locate more than 100 relatives with whom a connection had been lost during the Holocaust
Alongside the life-saving routine, and now in the wake of the national battle with the Corona virus, MDA also operates a tracing unit for locating relatives, responsible for a large number of exciting family reunions of Holocaust survivors and their families, with their relatives in Israel and around the world.
The unit, which is part of MDA’s humanitarian activities, has been active since the late 1940s. Since becoming a full member of the International Red Cross, the unit has expanded its volunteer recruitment, training and activities.
Over the past year many new inquiries were received from citizens from all over the country, and a total of 100 cases or important information about their fate were found in the past year. Thousands of requests for help locating relatives and receiving information were received over the years in the tracing unit. In many cases, relatives or documents were found to indicate the fate of the family members, and in a few cases siblings were reunited, some of whom did not even know about each other.
As part of the unit’s activities, it cooperates closely with the ICRC and other entities operating in the field. In addition, the unit works regularly with the Ministry of the Interior and the Yad Vashem Archives, and promotes collaborations with various international agencies involved in locating relatives.
MDA’s special service is open to anyone who wishes to locate a missing person, and can be contacted by phone at Magen David Adom’s office and filling out the relevant forms for locating relatives.
“Requests for the unit’s assistance come mostly from families of Holocaust survivors, who are looking to find their roots abroad,” said Susan Edel, a volunteer with the tracing unit. “From the moment we receive the request, we work in a variety of ways, with all agencies and databases to locate relatives around the world. In some cases, we find documents proving where these families were at war and what they went through. This is very important information for families to close the circle. The satisfaction from this volunteering is tremendous. The feeling that we are able to help someone after so many years is wonderful.”
MDA Director General Eli Bin: “At Magen David Adom, we remember the Holocaust every day throughout the year. We set ourselves the goal of trying to make it easier for Holocaust survivors and future generations, and to help them find information about family members who had lost contact with them during the Holocaust. MDA has been able to unite and bring together family members in dozens of cases over the years, and receive information on thousands more cases that have come to us. The tracing unit has greatly contributed to the closure of the circle, facilitating many families whose hopes of getting information have already been lost. The strenuous work of the unit’s personnel in MDA deserves much appreciation, and I have no doubt that thanks to their hard work we will have another exciting union. “