Restoring a Father’s Identity

For much of her life, Anna Hershey searched for information about her father, Salomon Zdrojewicz, a Holocaust survivor. She typed his name into search sites, such as JewishGen.org, and tried in vain to find records in Poland, where he was born.

“My father died when I was two years old and I’ve been looking and looking and couldn’t find anything about him,” Hershey said at the Museum’s Los Angeles tour event. “And they found him. Right here. They found him.”

Hershey gave her father’s name to Museum researcher Laura Vento, who typed it into the International Tracing Service search engine. (The Museum is the United States’ repository for this collection of documents assembled by the Allies after World War II; it cannot be searched online.) Vento found information on Salomon Zdrojewicz and his wife, Bela, as well as Hershey herself. Her parents fled Poland in 1939 and traveled via Uzbekistan, where Hershey was born, and Iran, arriving in Palestine in 1943.

Before Vento pulled up the information, Hershey said, it was like her father “never existed. … Now, suddenly, he has a life.”

Hershey, whose husband was also a Holocaust survivor, attended the Los Angeles event with two granddaughters, Emma and Alexandra. “I grew up not having grandparents. I would have loved having a grandfather or grandmother who adored me the way we adore them.”

To submit an International Tracing Service research request, a free service provided by the Museum, visit www.ushmm.org/remembrance/registry/service

Photo: Anna Hershey, flanked by her granddaughters, holds a page of information a Museum researcher found about her family. US Holocaust Memorial Museum