Is This Your Name?
This is a newspaper article printed in the B’nai B’rith Messenger that was published in America. The article titled “Is This Your Name?” asks people to help locate survivors of the Holocaust. There is a list of names including, for example, Raphael Wisholtz, who had survived the war, had arrived in Israel, and was now searching for his cousin Bezalel Glasman who had immigrated to the United States before the war. People who recognised a name were asked to contact the Search Bureau of the Jewish Agency in New York.
After the war ended, Jewish survivors were scattered throughout many different countries. The survivors’ main goal was to find out what had happened to their families and friends and to be reunited with any who had survived. Jewish organisations and media, such as this newspaper, published names of people and any available information in order to help people locate one another. The International Red Cross also helped locate people, but many survivors spent months, or even years, trying (and often failing) to locate someone, as millions of people had been displaced.
What do all these announcements have in common? What are some of the differences?
Why it was so hard for survivors to find one another?
(Many people changed their names on arrival in Israel. Sometimes, they moved around. Technology was not particularly advanced in terms of knowing people’s whereabouts and Israel was only a few years old at the time. Even making a telephone call to Israel was almost impossible.)
Israel’s Holocaust memorial museum was built in 1953 and called Yad Vashem. What is the significance of this name?
Why are names so important for peoples’ identity?
Discuss the names of your family members. What do your names symbolize? Do our names influence who we are?
What Jewish traditions, blessings, or other practices incorporate names?
Watch Yad Vashem’s two-part video Holocaust Survivors: Liberated But Not Free. Discuss the problems that freedom presented to the survivors who are mentioned in the film.
How were some of these problems solved? Who solved them? Did it always work? Why was it so important for people helping Jews in DP camps to learn their names?
Article searching for people after World War II, 1952