My 84-year-old father, Robert Kash, received a phone call from a woman who introduced herself as a cousin, with the same great grandfather. She said she was working on a Family Tree from a website called www.Jewishgen.org.
About seven weeks ago she emailed me the Family Tree and shared the newfound cousins she contacted, including one from Israel. My newfound cousin, who deserves all the credit for her arduous, detective-like work in tracking down the family, is Toni Dee; we just met for the first time and shared a warm, long overdue hug.
For more than 30 years, I have been looking for any remnant of family from the Holocaust. My grandfather was one of 13 brothers and sisters, but only three survived, along with his elderly parents who made it to the United States from Poland well before the war.
Recently, based on information from the Family Tree that Toni provided, I called a newly discovered cousin in Tel Aviv. He was surprised that I spoke Hebrew and I explained that I served in the IDF more than 25 years ago. I started to cry, realizing that I had not really been a Lonely Soldier and had family in Israel; I just didn’t know it back then.
I have also found cousins living in the same county as me and never knew it even, though we have shared friends. This experience has brought to life the black and white pictures I use to stare at as a teenager of the Old Country.
Surely hundreds of our relatives perished in the Shoah.
The new family members plan to connect later this year in Israel during the celebration of my 50th birthday and 50th visit to Israel; it will be a reconnection of a generation of cousins that will meet for the first time in four generations. I will meet descendants of all five of my great grandfather’s siblings; I now I have over 60 cousins in Israel that I didn’t know existed until a few weeks ago.
I guess that along with the adage “Never Again,” we can add: “Never Give Up.”
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