Family Of Mother And Daughter Separated At Auschwitz Finally Reunited In Person

A family heartbreakingly torn apart 75 years ago at the infamous Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz has finally had its members reunited face-to-face in the U.S.

Earlier this month, Dena Morris, 73, and Jean Gerhart, 75, were reunited in person with their niece Clare Reay, 52, in Louisville, Ohio, after their family experienced a catastrophic separation during World War II, according to WKYC, an NBC-affiliated television station in Cleveland.

Dora, Dena and Jean's mother, and Eva, Clare's mother, were captured in Poland and taken to Auschwitz concentration camp where both ended up being separated.

Following the liberation of Auschwitz, Dora emigrated to the U.S. where she settled in Canton, Ohio, with her husband, Dena and Jean.

But, Eva was never reunited with the family she had lost and was later adopted and raised in the U.K.

Dora would return to Europe on several occasions, searching in orphanages, but never found her daughter and died from cancer in 1996.

"That was well prior to the computer age. So until Jean and I got older, we were at a loss to try to help find her," Dena said in a report aired on the network.

Following their mother's death, Dena and Jean vowed to keep on trying to find Eva for her sake and eventually turned their attention to online genealogy platform, MyHeritage.com.

Dena said in the segment: "We hit a few brick walls and we were disappointed and it was up and down from there. Until we found myheritage.com."

Thankfully, a DNA match was found in England—but with Eva's daughter not their sister who had died in February 2014.

In June last year, the aunts were reunited with their niece via Zoom on the Today program, but were prevented from seeing each other in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But, earlier this month Clare finally took a flight from England to the U.S., and after 33 hours of travel was finally reunited with her long-lost family members.

Clare arrived unannounced and was met by her two aunts whom she had longed to meet ever since learning of their existence.

"What are you doing here?" Dena said, in the aired segment.

Jean added: "I thought I was seeing things. I'm feeling like it's surreal. Like, it can't be real, but it is real. And it just kind of completes you."

Clare said: "I just think it would've changed [Eva's] life. Had she been here."

"Jean and I grew up with no grandparents, no cousins, no uncles, no aunts, no anything like that. It feels really good to know that we have a family. And, I don't know if anybody can understand that except for someone that's been through it. And...it's just an amazing feeling," Dena added.

Dora pictured with her daughter Eva
Dora (top) and Eva (bottom) were separated at Auschwitz and died before being reunited. Their family members have, however, finally been reunited face-to-face after decades apart. MyHeritage