A Family Torn Apart in the Wake of the Holocaust Reunites Through MyHeritage

A Family Torn Apart in the Wake of the Holocaust Reunites Through MyHeritage


The tragedy of the Holocaust extends far beyond the unfathomable number of lives that were lost and the thriving communities that were wiped out without a trace. Families were torn apart, and the survivors were forced to pick up the pieces of their lives after losing everyone they loved. This unimaginable trauma irreversibly affected future generations.

MyHeritage user David “Dudi” Lenchner grew up knowing that his grandmother had survived the Holocaust. Born in Lodz, Poland, then-15-year-old Myrale Malagold escaped to Russia when the Nazis invaded. Dudi remembers her speaking of her parents and 2 brothers who were left behind and eventually perished in Lodz and Auschwitz, but she never mentioned any other family members. He assumed that all her extended family had been wiped out as well.

Dudi’s grandmother died in 2004, and 11 years later, Dudi — the family historian — began researching his family’s experiences during the Holocaust. He discovered a testimony submitted to Yad Vashem that piqued his interest: it was submitted by a Holocaust survivor whose last name Gershonowitz, claiming that Noech Malagold (Myrale Malagold’s father) was his uncle.

Noech and Mania Malagold, Dudi’s great-grandparents in Lodz

That would have to mean that there was at least one cousin of Dudi’s grandmother who survived the war.

Dudi contacted his aunt, who confirmed this. She told him that the families were in fact in touch briefly, but lost touch at some point. She also shared a new piece of information: there might be a shared uncle who lived in the United States.

Spurred by the startling revelation that he had surviving relatives he’d never known existed, Dudi set out to learn more. His grandmother’s family name, Malagold, was fairly rare — which can be good news for a genealogist, because records that come up in searches are more likely to be relevant. So he searched for other Malagolds on MyHeritage… and discovered more than he could have imagined.

His research on MyHeritage led him to 2 breakthroughs.

First, he struck gold with a historical record he found through SuperSearch™: a passenger list of a Hersch Maragold, which documented that this 18-year-old tailor had moved to the U.S. from Russia on the S. S. Furnessia from Glasgow in 1907. Hersch’s parents were listed as Israel and Rachel Malagold — Dudi’s great-great-grandparents.

Until Dudi’s aunt had told him, he’d had no idea that his grandmother’s uncle had moved to the U.S. He wasn’t sure if his grandmother had known, either. Hersch (who changed his name to Harry after moving to America) moved to the U.S. before Dudi’s grandmother was born and passed away at a young age in 1937, when she was only 13 years old and still living in Lodz. She may have known that she had family living in the U.S., but probably didn’t know much more.

Later on, Dudi found another uncle who followed Hersch to the U.S. whose name was Philip Malagold

Even more exciting, Dudi discovered through MyHeritage that Harry and Philip had living grandchildren. He contacted Michael — Harry’s grandson — who responded at first with surprise and suspicion. He had always believed they were the only Malagolds, and had never known about his ancestors further back than Harry. He was stunned to discover all the work Dudi had done. 

Dudi soon learned that Michael had many photos of relatives that had been lost to Dudi’s side of the family. Michael sent him pictures of his great-great-grandparents and almost all of the other family members, which he had never seen before. These newfound cousins have since come to visit Dudi in Israel.

One of the family reunions with Michael Malagold and family

Below is one of the photos Dudi received from his American uncle’s grandchildren, taken in 1936 next to his great-great-grandmother’s gravestone. It features Noech, Dudie’s great-grandfather, and Shlomo and Mira Gerschonowicz — parents of Rafael, the Holocaust survivor who submitted the testimony Dudi found.

Noech Malagold (center, leaning on the stone) and Shlomo and Mira Gerschonowicz (left) at the grave of Rachel Malagold (Dudi’s great-great-grandmother) in 1936
Dudi pictured next to that same gravestone on a trip to Lodz

Dudi’s second incredible breakthrough via MyHeritage was a search result on MyHeritage for an individual in a family tree containing the Malagold surname: Moshe Gulbas, son of Cyrel Malagold.

David contacted the Israeli MyHeritage user, Libi Ben Gal, and confirmed that they were indeed family. Libi’s grandfather Moshe was a Holocaust survivor too, and it turned out that he was first cousins with Dudi’s great-grandfather Noech Malagold! Even more amazing, the two families live in the very same city in Israel — Holon!

Dudi’s first meeting with Libi and her family

After meeting up and searching through old pictures of family events, they were able to see that the cousins had been in touch after the war, but had fallen out of touch. Thanks to MyHeritage, a family that had lost touch 50 years ago was reunited.

Since these incredible discoveries, Dudi has expanded his family research located more relatives from the Malagold family in South America. His MyHeritage family tree now contains 440 people and is constantly growing.

“There are so many families looking for connections,” says Dudi. “Everyone I found that I contacted, once they understood the connection, was so excited and amazed to learn about new relatives. Some people don’t even know the names of their grandparents or have a picture of their grandparents, and having the ability to show them is incredible. I received pictures of family who I know about, but had never seen photos of. That was really special.”

“The potential of MyHeritage for family research is so huge,” he goes on.

One of MyHeritage’s most important missions is to help families who were torn apart by difficult or tragic circumstances to find each other again. The Malagold family was broken apart by the Nazi genocide, and we are honored to have helped the remaining pieces of this family reconnect, so they can move forward into the future together.

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  • Oláh Károly

    January 28, 2020

    Nagyon meghato tőrtènetvolt!Majdnem vagyishát őszeálltak a kèpek a család,akor hát sokboldogságot nekik.Most megnèzem hogy vajon egy másik családnak Andersonèknak sikerűlt már ugyanez,megvan egy Capri nevűcsalád is akik keresik a csalládfájukat,aztán megnèzem aBerlini muzeum ellőadását meg van az a V ghog csallád át mèzem holnap meg a Peter csalládot a 16-századbol.