Holocaust survivor Menachem Bodner was just four years old when he was liberated from Auschwitz concentration camp in 1945. Now 72, retired, and living in Israel, Bodner is on a quest for his identical twin brother, last seen at Auschwitz when the two were separated.
After connecting with Ayana KimRon last year, the genealogist has helped Bodner "maximize the internet" to find 70 blood relatives that he never knew existed.
You may ask yourself, why has it taken 68 years for Bodner to start his search? There's a simple answer: he never had proof.
Not until KimRon ran his unique tattoo number (A-7733) did Red Cross records show Bodner's brother was alive two weeks after Auschwitz was liberated, giving him hope that he was still alive and out there. Further research conducted by KimRon found Bodner's true birth name, Eilas Gottesman, and his brother's, Jeno Gottesman (nicknamed Jolli); tattoo number A-7734.
Menachem and Jolli shared a unique bond from the beginning as they were used in experiments by the infamous Nazi doctor Josef Mengele. Menachem was so young the only thing he remembers from Mengel's lab was paralyzing fear, something he certainly shared with his twin brother. Bodner claims he's felt a deep connection with his other half throughout his entire life.
As a fellow identical twin, I find it extremely hard to imagine a life without my best friend. The chances of being an identical twin are about 3 in 1,000 and I wouldn't trade being part of this 0.003% for anything in the world.
Liam and I have one of the most unique relationships human beings can experience. From an early age, we dressed in matching attire and conversed through twin-talk just to drive our parents insane. As children, we played catch in the backyard, we endured adversity together, he was my fishing partner, and my wing-man at school dances. As adults, he's now my running competition, my inspiration, my guidance, and my future best man.
Through thick and thin, we have and always will be there for each other, and that's why it saddens me to hear of Bodner's story. Reconnection is still a possibility and that's why I'm hoping you will join me to see what use social media can do to reconnect these long-lost brothers.
Bodner plans to travel back to Auschwitz with some family members for the first time since his liberation from the concentration camp 68 years ago. Hopefully his Jolli will be able to join him on this emotional, historic day.
Part of me is lost for words when trying to comprehend the absence of Bodner's twin brother and the fact that he's lost a life full of connection, love, and friendship.
But it's never too late. A reunion of the two brothers is surely the missing piece they've both been searching for their entire lives. From one twin to another, I know how tremendously important this search is to Bodner.
Let's help him find Jolli.
Please like A7734, a Facebook page dedicated to Menachem Bodner's quest for his long lost, identical twin brother.