Menachem Bodner last saw his twin brother at age 4, when he was liberated from the infamous Auschwitz laboratory of Dr. Josef Mengele. Now, armed with proof that his brother also survived, he’s watching his search go viral online.
It’s most likely that Menachem Bodner last saw his identical twin in 1945, in Dr. Josef Mengele’s gruesome Auschwitz laboratory. He was 4 then and doesn’t remember his time in the notorious death camp. But in the 68 years that have followed, Bodner says he’s “always” been certain he was one of a pair. He just didn’t have any proof until this past year. Now, he’s searching for Jeno, a man who probably looks just like him, and who has a distinctive “A-7734” tattoo on his forearm. And 1 million Facebook users are helping him look.
Mengele, known among prisoners as “the Angel of Death,” was deeply fascinated with twins and used them for research experiments in his macabre Auschwitz lab. Thankfully, Bodner, now 72, has no recollection of the cruelty he most certainly endured while undergoing experiments, though he can remember a sense of paralyzing fear. Unfortunately he also has few impressions of his family’s prewar life in a small town east of Munkacs, Hungary which is now in the Ukraine. But despite the lack of memories from a war-marred childhood, Bodner says that throughout his life he’s felt a deep connection with his twin—and is positive he’s still alive and out there. But where?
“I was astonished by the amount of comments, and I’m very grateful for each and every one one of them,” Bodner, who speaks Hebrew, says of the rapid response. Before talking to The Daily Beast, he and KimRon had been watching the page, mesmerized as the comments and countries rolled in: China, Argentina, Ireland, Portugal, Finland. The success is galvanizing, and Facebook is just the beginning. “I’m going to maximize the Internet,” KimRon says, explaining that her next plan is to build a YouTube channel of Bodner speaking (a Twitter account launched Sunday night).
As the pair walked out of the camp a few days later, they saw a battalion of Soviet soldiers approaching. “I don’t like them,” he told the man. “They didn’t save my brother, Jolli.” Five years later, the ramshackle family moved to Israel. When Bodner turned 20, his adoptive parents told him about those words. Despite searching through Jewish agencies and publishing requests, searches using the name Bodner had yielded no clues about the fate of his brother.