Auschwitz Survivor Searches for Family

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Menachem Bodner was a twin survivor of the infamous Mengele twin experiments. He lost his entire family at merely age 3, and has been on a quest to be reunited with his twin brother Jeno (Yoilly) and the rest of family ever since.

Bodner was born as Elias Gottesman in the tiny village of Stroino, then located in Hungary though it would be the country of Ukraine with today’s national borders. He was not even five years old yet when Auschwitz was liberated. Having been separated from his family in the camp, he asked a random man, Maurycy Bodner to be his father. Maurycy agreed, adopted Menechem, and moved to Israel where Menechem was raised and lived the remainder of his days.

"Sometimes I stare at people in the street, and I look for someone who looks like me," Menechem said. "My biggest hope is my brother will be here. Maybe from another country. Or maybe another survivor can tell me something, recognize me or remember us both. Anything."

While in Israel, Menechem never gave up hope of being reunited with his family even though he later learned his immediate family perished in the death camps sans his mother who later died in a pogrom in 1948 after the war ended. Maurycy helped him in his quest for family reunification.

Through DNA testing, a genealogist by the name of Ayana KimRon eventually helped him locate some cousins in California who he did not know even existed. Unfortunately Menechem was never reunited with his twin brother.        

Written by Erin Parfet





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