Brothers reunited after 61 years

By Sima Stein
The Jerusalem Post Internet Edition

JERUSALEM (August 18) — It is not every day that brothers who have been separated for over 60 years are reunited. On Wednesday, Lazar Sheiman, 78, and his brother Leonid, 79, both Holocaust survivors, met at Yad Vashem for the third time since their first reunion with each other last month after 61 years.

“It’s not every day that miracles happen,” said Leonid. “I feel like I’ve found a new brother.”

“We reminisce about stories from home,” he said when asked what brothers who have been separated for 61 years speak about. “There has been nothing hard about this meeting,” he said. “It has all been easy.”


The brothers last saw one another in their hometown of Tomaszow in 1941, as the German Army advanced on Soviet-occupied Poland. Leonid was drafted into the Red Army, and Lazar was recruited into the youth groups deployed on work details throughout the Soviet Union.

Lazar immigrated to Israel from Poland in 1957, and Leonid in 1995 from Ukraine. For the past five years they were unaware they were living only 80 kms. from each other — Lazar in Herzliya and Leonid in Kiryat Gat.

It was only in response to his daughter’s suggestion that Lazar filled out a form at Yad Vashem’s Hall of Names earlier this year that ultimately connected him with his long-lost brother. Each thought he was the sole survivor of a family of two parents, five boys, and one girl.

“I was sure there was no one,” Lazar said.

The brothers communicate in Russian, since Leonid does not yet speak Hebrew. Though neither plans to move closer to the other, both intend to meet and speak often, “to make up for lost time.”