Best friends separated by the Holocaust reunite after 82 years: “She was always on my mind”

Ana María Wahrenberg And Betty Grebenschikoff they were better friends inseparable when they said goodbye for the last time in the courtyard of a German school in May 1939. Now a warm embrace has brought them together, 82 years later.

Best friends separated at 9, together again

The two schoolmates were separated at just nine when their Jewish families were forced to flee the Nazis and have lived ever since in fear that the other had died in the Shoa. On November 5, the 91-year-olds finally reunited in a hotel room in St Petersburg, Florida, thanks to the USC Shoah Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by Steven Spielberg that records and preserves the audiovisual memories of survivors of the Holocaust.

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Betty was one of 20,000 European Jews who settled in Shanghai, while Ana Maria and her family fled to Santiago, Chile. They both tried to find their best friend, but only when a foundation indexer noticed similarities in their accounts. they have finally reconnected. ‘It felt like coming home’, ‘it was always on my mind. We had this feeling, like we really belonged to each other, ”Betty told the Washington Post after the meeting.

“It was very emotional,” said Ana Maria. “It was as if we had never been apart. It was very special how two people, after 82 years, still love each other ». The two, both widows, said they then spent four days together shopping, talking, eating and drinking champagne. “We’re not the girls we were when we were nine, that’s for sure, but we kept giggling like we were little girls,” Betty told the Post. “It was such a joy for both of us.” Betty said their reunion demonstrates how “good things can come from a bad experience. It was the plus side of all the pluses. It was the realization of a dream ».

Zach Shipman

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