WJC, An Auschwitz survivor’s quest to find his twin brother he last saw in 1945 through Facebook has received an unexpected boost more than a year after it was launched. In recent days, coinciding with Yom HaShoah, Israel's Holocaust remembrance day, over 380,000 users shared a post from the World Jewish Congress Facebook page about Menachem Bodner’s search for his twin brotherJeno (nicknamed Jolli). So far, more than 20 million Facebook users world-wide have seen the post and nearly 40,000 commented on it.
Menachem Bodner, 73, lives in Israel. He was separated from Jeno when Auschwitz was liberated by the Allies in January 1945.
The Israeli genealogist Ayana KimRonhas helped him prove that he had a twin brother and that his sibling also survived the Nazi concentration camp in occupied Poland. KimRon was able to track down the twin brothers real names as Elias and Jeno Gottesmannwith the help of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum and the International Tracking Service in BadArolsen, Germany .
After months of searching proved fruitless, the pair turned to Facebook, creating a page called A7734 - using the concentration camp number which was tattooed on Jeno's arm by the Nazis. The Nazis kept meticulous records of their crimes which revealed this information. Elias Gottesmann (now Menachem Bodner) was tattooed with the number A7733.
The brothers were born in the village of Stroino, in what was then part of Hungary and is now situated in Ukraine. Menachem was four-and-a-half when Auschwitz was liberated. In the chaos and confusion, he doesn't remember how he came to be separated from his brother, but he sought a way out. "I was in the camp. A man came in who was looking for his wife and daughter," he told CNN last year. "I stood before him and asked if he would be my father. He picked me up in his hands and took me out of the camp." His adopted father named himBodner and took him to Israel, where he still resides.