Have you seen Menachem Bodner’s twin brother? He once was called Jeno, or Jolli, Gottesman and he’s out there somewhere. Bodner feels it.
Sixty-eight years after the Holocaust survivor left the Auschwitz laboratory of Dr. Josef Mengele in 1945, Bodner – who back then was Elias Gottesmann – has launched a search to find his long-lost twin brother, whose name was Jeno.
Age four when they was liberated from Mengele’s lab, the two were somehow separated. Bodner, who is now age 74, has no memory of the horrible medical experiments he most certainly endured. Only a sense of paralyzing fear remains, plus a few scattered memories of his family’s life before the war in a small town east of Mukacs, Hungary. Now the area is Ukraine.
Bodner says that throughout his life he’s felt a deep connection with his twin—and is positive he’s still alive and out there. But where?
A professional genealogist in Israel, Ayana KimRon, tracked down the boys’ information in a record of twins “identified as having been liberated at Auschwitz or from a subcamp” put together by the “Candles” organization.
Their Holocaust numbers were: A-7733, Gottesmann, Elias, 4 A-7734, Gottesmann, Jeno, 4
Elias Bodner today is Menachem Bodner, a retired Israeli tax service employee living in Rishon Lezion. The genealogist meanwhile has found in the course of her search for Bodner’s twin brother nearly 70 other extended family members in Israel and the U.S.
Meanwhile, with KimRon’s help Bodner is still searching, because he feels his brother is still alive. This past March, the genealogist created a Facebook page to broaden the search still further, The Daily Beast reported. She called the page “A7734.”
To date it has seen more than 50,000 “likes” and well over 23,000 “shares.” Bodner and KimRon are hoping that the global reach of the billion-plus users on Facebook will help him find his brother.
“I never lost hope,” Bodner says.Hana Levi Julian