One more trip, one more disappointment – the train ride from Germany to Austria was just one of many Elias had taken in these months since the end of the war. He was living in a Displaced Persons camp in Germany, and like countless thousands of others, he made frequent trips to other cities… searching. He was hoping to find out something about his brother, Peretz, the only member of his family whose fate was unknown. All the rest of them were gone – his parents, his pregnant sister, his other brother – shot before his eyes. Against incredible odds, he, himself, had survived eleven concentration camps, and now there was hope for a new life, but not until he knew about Peretz. The chances were very, very slim that he could find out his brother’s fate, but still, despite everything, he continued to believe in miracles.
And so on this particular day, he sat down beside a young lady on the train leaving Vienna and returning to Germany. It was a faintly-remembered pleasure for Elias, this sitting beside a pretty girl, and the two struck up an easy conversation. It seemed she had made the trip to Vienna to see her brother who was in a TB sanitorium. As they continued to chat, she remembered the photo in her purse. Would he like to see her brother? Elias offered a polite yes, and she proudly produced the photo. A quick glance showed the young man, pictured with his roommates, each of them in some stage of recovery from serious illness. He started to hand the photo back when suddenly something, some hint of recognition dawned! One of the roommates – just there – he looked nothing like the young, healthy Peretz that he remembered, but he knew, he just knew! His young companion was startled by his shouts of joy and hugs and kisses! And at the next stop, she watched as Elias switched trains and headed back to Vienna, where, in fact, his own personal miracle awaited.
This is the true story of Elias G., c. 1945.