Friday, May 08, 2015

The secret of Erikoussa

The following is from MyHeritage.

I wanted to tell you about a genealogy investigation MyHeritage has been involved in, which brought genealogy onto prime time news.

MyHeritage has been working closely with Emmy Award winning writer, producer and author, Yvette Manessis Corporon. About a year ago Yvette published a book called "When The Cypress Whispers". The book is fictional but some of it is based on true stories she grew up hearing from her grandmother, including the secret of the Greek Island of Erikoussa.

When the Nazi's invaded Corfu, most of the Jewish citizens were killed, but a tailor by the name of Savas was able to escape with his three daughters, and a girl called Rosa, to the nearby Island of Erikoussa. Savas' had customers and acquaintances on the Island, but what was incredible was that the entire Island joined forces - at risk of death - and gave refuge to Savas and his girls, and kept their identity secret from the Nazis, for the duration of the war. 

Yvette's grandmother was one of those Islanders. She was good friends with one of the girls, and so Yvette turned to MyHeritage to ask if we could help find the family. We did, and an emotional (although virtual) reunion took place between Yvette, and Rosa's sons. 

How Gilad Japhet, MyHeritage Founder and CEO found the descendants - is a true example of genealogy detective work at it's finest, but I don't want to ruin it for you - I invite you to watch this segment from Israeli prime time news (with english subtitles embedded) to see for yourself:

There's more information about the story in the following article:

This is an unfolding story, there are still puzzle pieces we're putting together, but until then it's great that the heroism of the islanders has come to light, and we were happy to be able to connect two families with a remarkable shared history. 

In June these families will be reuniting on the Island for the first time since the war. They will be attending a special ceremony in which the Islanders' bravery will be recognized, and an award presented to Erikoussa.

Best regards !!!
Daniel Horowitz
Chief Genealogist Officer and Translation Manager

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