I Found Descendants of the Man Who Saved My Father from the Nazis

Lionel Rossler, 55, of Rebecq, Belgium, tried for years to search out the household that hid his father and grandmother and saved their lives through the Holocaust. When he took to social media to ask for assist, MyHeritage’s Marie Cappart responded — and due to her analysis, Lionel and his father, David, have been capable of meet the descendants of David’s rescuer within the very place the place he hid them so a few years in the past.

Watch this profoundly transferring reunion within the following video:

That is Lionel’s story:

My father, David Rossler, was born Daniel Langa in 1938, and his household lived in Brussels when the persecution of the Jewish group started. They moved a number of instances over the course of the struggle, and at one level, his father and uncle have been arrested and by no means got here again. My father was a younger baby then, and he and his mom have been taken in by the Catholic convent in Brussels; however then, the convent was raided, and so they solely escaped due to the courageous actions of the Mom Superior (who was later granted the title of Righteous Among the many Nations).

After their evacuation from the convent, my father and grandmother have been taken in by the Bourlet household: George and his 4 younger grownup youngsters, Paul, Jacques, Anne-Marie, and Christiane. The Bourlet household gave them shelter in Auderghem, one of many boroughs of Brussels, in direction of the top of the struggle in 1944.

My father remembers that on the finish of the struggle, Georges Bourlet was afraid of being caught and denounced, so he quietly skipped work: with out telling his household and even my grandmother, he known as in sick and spent his days in a close-by cafe, coming residence each night time as if getting back from work. He by no means revealed this to his household, and it was solely after the struggle that he talked about it to my grandmother and my father.

Due to his heroic motion, Georges was capable of save the lives of my father and grandmother. 9 individuals have been saved due to what he did; my brother, myself, and our youngsters wouldn’t be right here right this moment if not for his braveness and kindness.

After the struggle, my grandmother remarried, and my father took the final identify of his stepfather, who was a survivor of Auschwitz. They moved to Austria and misplaced contact with the Bourlet household.

Looking for the rescuers

For a few years, I attempted to assist my father discover the Bourlet household, with no success. Lastly, in January 2022, I attempted my luck on a social media group, asking if anybody had any details about this household.

I obtained a response from Marie Cappart, Nation Supervisor for MyHeritage in Belgium. She instructed me that she believed she might assist me, and instantly set to work.

After shopping data and cross-referencing information, Marie discovered an Anne-Marie Bourlet, born in Auderghem in 1929. She found that this Anne-Marie married somebody with the surname Dedoncker and had 5 youngsters — all of them presumably nonetheless alive.

After a bit extra analysis, Marie discovered Xavier, certainly one of Georges Bourlet’s grandsons, and managed to contact him. She realized that Xavier had heard slightly about this story, however not a lot.

From there, Marie was capable of contact different descendants of Georges, together with those who nonetheless owned the household residence in Auderghem the place Georges hid my father and grandmother. We had an exquisite thought: why don’t all of us meet there?

The house where it all began

The home the place all of it started

And so we did. It was an extremely emotional day for us. I used to be capable of see, with my very own eyes, the place the place my father was saved protected from the Germans all these years in the past. My father returned to the place the place his life was saved for the primary time in nearly 80 years, and had the unbelievable alternative to personally thank the descendants of his rescuer for all they did for him and for us. In Jewish custom, there’s a saying that “He who saves one life saves all of humanity”; Georges Bourlet saved humanity 9 instances over. We’re submitting our testimony to Yad Vashem in hopes that he might be acknowledged for his heroism and granted the title of Righteous Among the many Nations.

David (center) with the Bourlet descendants

David (middle) with the Bourlet descendants

It was a day I’ll always remember, and I’m very grateful to Marie and to MyHeritage for making it doable.

It’s necessary to my father for youthful generations to listen to his story and perceive that there should be no extra hate and no extra struggle. The price of struggle, as he skilled it, was too nice. We hope and pray that this message might be heard, for the sake of all these nonetheless affected by violence.

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