The Red Cross is working with a Jewish seniors' centre in Snowdon to help Holocaust survivors and their families track down family records that can help answer questions about their family histories.

The first Holocaust Survivors' Tracing Centre in Canada opened Tuesday at the Cummings Jewish Centre for Seniors. The tracing centre has access to the International Tracing Service in Arolsen, Germany, in addition to the resources of various Red Cross societies internationally.

"Some survivors got disillusioned by the process because it took so long to trace a family member. Some survivors waited an excess of two years," said Myra Giberovitch, who is the woman responsible for helping Holocaust survivors at the senior's centre. "Now the waiting period is much shorter so I think that will add new momentum. People are more optimistic about initiating a search."

The service is free and confidential. It is open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and is run by volunteers supervised by the seniors centre. Seniors can be served in Yiddish, Hungarian, Hebrew, Russian, English and French.

The first training session for volunteers was held in December.

The tracing centre is open to everyone with a link to World War II, regardless of age.

Restoring Family Links

The tracing centre is part of a broader Red Cross program, Restoring Family Links. It aims to connect family members who may have been separated by war, natural disaster, or any other situation where families may find themselves physically torn apart and looking for information.

If you are interested in reaching the Tracing Centre, contact 514-343-3529 x7206.