By The American Red Cross
It was a typical quiet day in San Rafael, when Tamara Terichow received a phone call from the Red Cross that would change her life. They had found her long-lost sister, Lidia, who now lives in Finland with her family.
Tamara recalls the day the Germans came and invaded her childhood home in Leningrad back in 1941. Her father, Alexsander, was moved to a labor camp, forcing Tamara, Lidia, and their mother, Tatiana, to flee towards the town of Pskov. It wasn’t long before Tatiana fell very ill. “Starvation, sickness, I don’t know,” Tamara said. “All I know is she died. I was 5 years old and don’t remember. I do remember seeing her dead.”
Left alone, Tamara and Lidia, moved south to Lithuania, to an orphanage with no heat and no running water. “All we had to eat was dried peas,” Tamara said. “I remember looking for food in the dump.”
The sisters later moved farther south to a monastery, where they were reunited with their father, Alexsander, who had miraculously escaped the Germans. Shortly after, the sisters were separated when a married couple, Peter and Adele Filatov, adopted Tamara, leaving Lidia behind with their father in the old Soviet Union.
It has been 74 long years since Tamara and Lidia have last seen each other. With the help of Lidia’s granddaughter, Anna Haltsonen, and the work of Red Cross’ Restoring Family Links program, these sister were finally able to be reunited again.
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