Lily Ebert was able to track down the American soldier's name and surviving family thanks to her internet-savvy great-grandson

By Rachel DeSantis
July 10, 2020 12:07 PM
Advertisement

A Jewish woman who survived Auschwitz as a teenager will soon meet, for the first time, the family members of an American soldier who helped liberate her, and who gave her a special gift she’s held onto for 75 years.

Lily Ebert was 16 years old when she was liberated while on a death march alongside her two sisters in April 1945, Sky News reported. The girls lost their mother and two other siblings during the Holocaust, and had little to their name.

“We had not a piece of paper. We had nothing,” she said.

That changed, however, with a kind soldier who gifted her a German bank note he’d inscribed with a special message: “As a start to a new life. Good luck and happiness.”

“This man was really the first nice human touch. And that means something,” Ebert, now 90, said. “That, you remember. That is important.”

Ebert, who was originally from Hungary but eventually settled in London, kept the bank note over the years, and recently re-discovered it while going through her possessions with her great-grandson Dov Forman, 16.

“I joked with my great-grandma that I’d be able to find the soldier in 24 hours,” the teen told Sky News. “And lo and behold, with the help of Twitter, we managed to find him in 24 hours, which is just amazing.”

Those eager to help quickly determined that Ebert’s hero was Pvt. Hyman Schulman, a Jewish-American soldier who served as an aide to Rabbi Herschel Schacter, the first Jewish chaplain who entered Buchenwald, according to The New York Times.

Schulman had offered a hint as to his identity on the bank note, writing “assistant to Chaplain Schacter.”

Though Schulman died in 2013 at age 91, Ebert is now in touch with his children, and the group will soon meet over video chat.

RELATED VIDEO: Woman Reunites with Holocaust Survivors She Helped Save

“It means so much that we can now connect with the family,” the mom of three told CNN.

Schulman’s story was coincidentally covered in a 2015 New York Times article, as his wife Sandy had recently discovered a series of letters he wrote to her during the war, and was working to digitize them.

After the war, Schulman went into the jewelry business, and performed as a singer under the name Howard Shaw, according to the Times. He and his wife, who recently died, had five children.