Eliahu Pietruszka escaped from Poland at the beginning of the second world war thinking his entire family had perished. But two weeks ago he discovered that a younger brother had also survived and that his brother’s son, 66-year-old Alexandre, was flying from Russia to see him.

The reunion was made possible by a comprehensive online database of victims created by Yad Vashem, Israel’s official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust.

Given the dwindling number of survivors and their advanced ages, the event seemed likely to be among the last of its kind

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