Long-lost siblings share first holiday together since Holocaust

By Stephen Hooker - email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A brother and sister separated for decades following the Holocaust have been reunited, thanks in part to the efforts of the American Red Cross.

This season can bring people together like no other. You can see it in their step, a time to catch up and moments to share.

When was the last time you saw your relatives for a holiday? Maybe it was last month during Thanksgiving. How about 65 years ago in Germany, during World War II?

Elfrieda Nixon's siblings became lost in the closing months of the war. Ten years later, she was married to an American and living in the states.

But she never heard from her lost family again, until the Red Cross found her brother.

We brought you their story in April from the Red Cross office. "I have actually found your brother's house," Susan Benesh told Nixon. "He's outside Berlin. That's his street, and that's his house."

Elfrieda and her younger brother Arnold are finally together, sitting in that same Red Cross room. "We are spending our holiday together for the first time in 65 years," said Nixon.

And that first meeting since World War II? "When I saw him, it was like I knew him," said Nixon.

Questions across the years could now be asked. "I could not remember the death of my mother to bury her, for instance," said Nixon. "I could not remember where my family went. So many things, and he brought it all to light."
The search took two years but found Arnold alive, well and married. "Very excited," said Darlene Hersey, who started the search. "It's like meeting an old family friend, it really was."

Wonderful for Elfrieda and Arnold, now with a new memory -- their first meeting. "I was standing on one side, he was on the other and he was just as anxious to see me as I was to see him."

Elfrieda now plans a visit to Germany, and Arnold, next fall.

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