Retired teacher Sol Factor, 60, of Ohio had been looking for 17 years for his mother, a Holocaust survivor who disappeared after World War II. He finally found her, but it hasn't exactly gone as he had planned.
We regret to inform you that we located the above mentioned person, but she would not like to be contacted by the inquirer," reads the message from Magen David Adom, the Israeli counterpart of the American Red Cross.
Factor, who had found clues to his past with the help of the Red Cross and a vast archive of Nazi records, knows only that his mother, now 83 years old, is living in Israel.
"Of course I'm disappointed because one likes searches like this to end with happy reunions," he said in an interview in his home in this Cleveland suburb.
"There's a sense of actual relief too, because now some of the mystery has been solved," he said.
Born Meier Pollak in Munich, Germany in 1946 to Romanian-born Rosa Pollak, also spelled Polak, Factor located documents showing that Rosa and her newborn son were discharged from a maternity hospital on July 9, 1946, went to a hospital for refugees and became separated soon after. He was adopted by a Massachusetts couple in 1950 and began looking for his biological mother in 1990.
The story touches on the Bad Arolsen archives, Magen David Adom (Israeli Red Cross), and Amcha, an Israeli organization assisting survivors. Factor received the letter through the Holocaust and War Victims Tracing and Information Center of the American Red Cross in Baltimore. Since the end of World War II, it has checked on more than 40,000 missing people and located more than 1,200 alive.
Factor is still holding out hope that his mother might change her mind, and speculates on the reasons why the letter was sent.