Ernest “Ernie” B., 90, and Sara L., 88, have a relationship that transcends love, compassion, and loyalty. After surviving Auschwitz during WWII, the two cousins miraculously found each other at Bergen-Belsen, a displaced persons camp. It was a reconnection neither thought would ever happen and allowed them to form a bond beyond measure or explanation. When Ernie stumbled upon Sara in the wake of WWII, she was 16, weighed 60 pounds and had hardly any belongings. Ernie was able to get her a white dress with red flowers, which she wore home and became a symbol of their unlikely reconnection. Ernie’s Wish of a Lifetime was to see his cousin Sara one last time.
Ernie and Sara grew up in a small town near the border of Hungary and Romania. Their families were close and they saw each other often. When the Nazis entered their region, their families were split apart, and many loved ones were never to be seen again. The unlikely journey of survival for both Ernie and Sara was characterized by numerous near-death experiences and unspeakable terror. Both of their mothers, and many other family members perished at Auschwitz.
After WWII, Sara immigrated to Israel, started a family, and has lived there ever since. Ernie immigrated to the US, started a family in California, and worked incredibly hard to support them. Later in life, Ernie volunteered countless hours to give back to his community.
“I can’t express the feelings I have towards her,” said Ernie. The last time Ernie and Sara had seen each other was ten years ago. The two of them cried at the thought of being able to see each other one last time. Thanks to Wish of a Lifetime and your support, Ernie and his daughter Gilda traveled to Israel to reunite with Sara in April, 2015. Ernie, Sara, and Gilda had dinner with the mayor of Jerusalem, visited Yad Vashem, and spent the most valuable time with each other. “It was a dream come true,” said Ernie.