One of them lived in Asia and the other settled in Chile. Reunion through a foundation was in the United States.
The story of Betty Grebenschikoff and Ana Maria Warrenberg is about a friendship that lasted 82 years.
The two were best friends from their childhood, and at the age of nine they had to separate: it was in Germany in 1939, at the end of World War II, and both families were forced to flee the country and the Nazis.
Years later, thousands of miles apart, the two friends met again at a hotel in St. Petersburg, Florida. For more than eight decades, the two women, now 91, have embraced once again.
“I felt like I was coming home,” Betty said, to which Ana Maria added: “It was like we never parted.”
Survivors from the Holocaust spent years searching for each other, analyzing databases and gathering information until they finally believed the other was dead.
“She was always on my mind,” Betty Grebensikoff said.
Produces and preserves audiovisual testimonies with the help of the USC Shoah Foundation, a voluntary charity founded by Steven Spielberg, which was discovered. When they analyzed the data, the Foundation found that the two women had identical testimonies and contacted them.
The meeting between the two friends was very special for the Showa staff: “The reunion of these two extraordinary women after their disappearance is a testament to the hope,” said Corey Street, deputy director of the USC Showa Foundation.
According to Street, watching the story unfold was “a treasure in a world that is hard to believe.”
Every friend left the war: Betty Krebensikov was one of 20,000 European Jews who settled in Shanghai, while Ana Maria Warrenberg left for Santiago de Chile, where she now lives.
Box eventually moved to Florida, USA, where the two friends chose to meet.
With the help of the foundations, the two women joined Zoom in November 2020 and promised to see each other again in their native German.
The original idea was to meet Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year in September, but the epidemic postponed their plans. Finally, in November, Warrenberg became very comfortable traveling with his son and daughter-in-law and booked a ticket.
Friends met in the hotel room, “Like we met yesterday.” Box
When they hugged for the first time in 82 years, Grebensikov said, “We felt like we were really together.”
Medio, Jazz and Mia
Ana Maria shared her feelings about reunion: “Two people, after 82 years, still love each other so much.”
The two women, both widows, stuck together for four days as if they were children: they went shopping, shared lunch and talked for hours, making up for lost time.
Since reuniting they have been calling and texting each other frequently. Every Sunday, they keep their phone “date” where they chat and share coffee, each with his or her place in the world.
Although 82 years have passed and the two women have relied on walking poles, they still have the same friendship they had when they were nine.
“It’s not like the girls we used to have when we were nine, of course, but we laugh like little girls,” Krebensikov said. “It was a lot of fun for both of us.”
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