Southlake family learns that long-lost relative survived the Holocaust




Posted on November 25, 2010 at 1:28 AM

Updated Thursday, Nov 25 at 7:50 PM

SOUTHLAKE — A Southlake family has experienced one miracle; now they're looking for another one.

Earlier this year, Anna Eisen discovered that an uncle who was long thought murdered in the Holocaust actually survived the nightmare. Now her family needs your help to track him down — more than 60 years after he disappeared.

Lucek Salzman was 11 when the Germans came to Tyczyn, his small town in Poland. By the time he was 14, his parents had been murdered in the death camps.

He and his older brother, Manek, were prisoners in a labor camp.

"He would say, 'I promise mother and dad that I would take care of you. You are my kid,'" Lucek recalled.

One day, Manek was deported as well. Eventually, however, a note arrived from him:

"Something is going to happen that will prevent me from being in touch with you. Be well; we will see each other after the war."

In May of 1945, Lucek's camp was liberated. He wrote to an aunt and uncle in America — the names his father had given him and Manek — a lifeline to each other.

"Our destiny is to listen to my father's instructions..."

But when the telegram arrived in America, there was no news of Manek.

"I had to accept the notion that given that millions were murdered, he was killed, too," Lucek said.

Lucek Salzman took the name George Salton in America, wanting a new, less German identity. "George" is in honor of George Washington.

Decades passed, full of love and joy. George Salton took a wife and fathered three children. They gave him grandchildren.

Then, one day in August, in Southlake, daughter Anna Eisen found a list of survivors from her father's village on the Internet.

"I was just in shock," she said.

There — in black-and-white — was the name "Manek Salzman" — proof he was alive more than a year after Germany surrendered.

"It is a wonderful, overwhelming joy for me to know that I who knew what misery, and what imprisonment meant; and I who knew how wonderful freedom was; I now know that he also enjoyed it," Salton said. "For a year-and-a-half he was free to come and go and have opinions."

But that's all he can be certain of.

Despite a global search by the family and professional researchers, no further confirmed trace of Manek Salzman has been found.

Sometimes, George Salton says, when he goes to synagogue the rabbi will ask, "Who has a joy to share?"

"Somebody says, 'Well my daughter just got engaged,' 'Me and my husband celebrated our 27th wedding anniversary,' and I cry."

He cries with a longing that he says makes his soul tremble.

"Thinking that one day I can raise my finger and say, 'I found him.'"