A Lost Soldier, Found

A Lost Soldier, Found

I started my first assignment as a new Restoring Family Links caseworker with Karl in September of 2015. He contacted the American Red Cross looking for help in locating the final resting place of a missing family member, last seen leaving for battle with a horse-drawn artillery unit heading for Russia in March of 1944. The German soldier, Heinrich M., had come to Frankfurt to check on his family and had married his fiancé one day before rejoining his unit. He was never heard from again. Karl, Heinrich’s nephew, wanted, once and for all, to provide his mother and aunt, Heinrich’s sisters who were now both in their 90s, an answer as to what had happened to their brother during World War II.

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Reconnecting Families and Changing Lives: The Power of the Red Cross

Reconnecting Families and Changing Lives: The Power of the Red Cross

Two families’ lives were changed recently. That is the power of the Red Cross.

A few weeks back, a request to locate John P. Smith a.k.a. John Jr.* landed on my desk.  Reconnecting families after disaster, war, or other humanitarian emergencies is a fundamental activity of the Red Cross. When families are separated across international borders, the Red Cross’ Restoring Family Links program is there to help.

In the case of John Jr., I was a little skeptical about our chance at success. He has a very common name, and Philippo, the seeker and John’s uncle, had not had any contact with him or his sister Maria in 40 years.

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1942: A Survivor's Story of Reconnection

1942: A Survivor's Story of Reconnection

[VIDEO POST] Earlier this month, we shared the story of Marta, who was separated from her family when she was taken to work in a forced labor camp for the Nazis. For fear of retribution from the Soviet Union, she did not search for her family for decades. Finally, at the urging of her daughter, she initiated a search with the American Red Cross. Through its Restoring Family Links program, they were able to find the fate of her family, and unexpectedly, reconnect her with her older sister.

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Long Lost Sisters Reconnected by Red Cross

Long Lost Sisters Reconnected by Red Cross

Marta Kruk Lysnewycz was born in Hai, Chernigovskaya oblast, Ukraine in 1926. She currently lives in Sandpoint, Idaho with her daughter, Christine Lysnewycz Holbert. After surviving Stalin’s genocide of the Ukrainian people known as Holodomor or “Death by Starvation” during 1932-33, Marta was taken to a forced labor camp in Hitler’s Germany when she was 17 years old. She lost all contact with her mother and nine siblings.

While in forced labor in Germany, she married a Ukrainian partisan. Because of his political activities during World War II in support of Ukraine’s freedom from Soviet rule, Marta was unable to look for her family after the war. For decades, she didn’t know what happened to her brothers, sisters, or mother; she was too afraid of the Soviets to start a search.

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This Week in Restoring Family Links 1/25/16 - 1/29/16

This Week in Restoring Family Links 1/25/16 - 1/29/16

On Wednesday, the world came together to remember and reflect upon the Holocaust and all of its victims. The United Nations General Assembly declared on November 1, 2005 that this annual day of remembrance would occur ever January 27, the day that Soviet troops liberated the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in 1945. The United Nations urges member states to observe this day every year, to honor the victims of the Nazi era and to develop educational programs to help prevent future such genocides from ever occurring again. President Obama marked the day by stating "we are all Jews", a quote told by Sergeant Roddie Edmonds to his German captors during the war; the president also encouraged the world to fight remaining antisemitism across the world, and affirmed the United States' support for the Jewish state of Israel. 

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