JERUSALEM (Aug. 31)
Two survivors of the Holocaust, brothers from a Polish town, were reunited at Ben-Gurion Airport on Thursday almost 50 years to the day after the outbreak of World War II, when they were separated.
Mordechai Melubani, 67, of Givatayim, and Grisha Melubani, 65, recently from Odessa, fled their hometown of Ostra in different directions when Germany invaded Poland on Sept. 1, 1939.
Their family perished in the Holocaust and neither brother was aware the other was alive.
Mordechai emigrated from the Soviet Union to Israel after the war, but it wasn’t until 1960 that he learned from immigrants arriving from the USSR that his brother Grisha had survived.
He traced his address and the brothers began a correspondence which lasted until 1967, when Moscow severed diplomatic relations with Israel.
They resumed exchanging letters in 1980 and started talking by telephone in 1987.
Mordechai spent a year arranging immigration for Grisha, who arrived with his wife on Thursday.
The 50th anniversary of the war’s outbreak was observed with a modest ceremony at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial Thursday.
Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who spoke at the ceremony, said the first priority of Israelis was to create a “safe shelter” for the Jewish people.
“We have no one to rely on except ourselves, the Israel Defense Force and its moral power to establish a state in which we and our children will want to live,” Rabin said.