After 60 Years of Searching, Holocaust Survivor Finally Reunites With the Family That Risked Their Lives to Save His
“It’s not just a good deed. It’s risking your life — pure and simple.”
The Holocaust, one of the darkest periods in human history, saw millions of Jews and other minorities systematically murdered by the Nazis.
And while so much of what happened during this time revealed the absolute worst in humanity, there were those incredibly brave souls who stepped up, at great risk, to prove that there was still hope for humankind.
Including an unassuming father of 4 from Belgium, Georges Bourlet.
In 1944, Georges Bourlet, along with his four teenage and young adult children, Paul, Jacques, Anne-Marie, and Christiane, secretly hid a Jewish mother and her young son, David, in their home, risking everything to save them.
An amazing and heroic act that holocaust survivor David Rossler never forgot. He would spend nearly 6 decades searching for the family of the man who ultimately saved his life.
The Holocaust Survivor Georges Boulet Saved
David Rossler, born David Langa, was only a year old when WWII began. Born to Jewish parents in Brussels, his family, along with the entire Jewish community, would become the target of unspeakable horrors wrought at the hands of Hitler and his army.
According to Newsweek, Rossler and his family were able to evade the Nazis for years by moving multiple times. Eventually, however, their luck ran out. Rossler’s father and uncle were arrested and never seen again. Young David and his mother, Haja Sura Zoltak, found refuge in a Catholic convent in Brussels.
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It didn’t last long. The convent was raided but thanks to the help of Mother Superior the duo were able to escape. It was then that they ended up on Georges Bourlet’s doorstep and found their savior. Rossler was five years old.
“People who protected Jews were simply risking their lives. You wouldn’t end up in jail, but in Auschwitz — and in Auschwitz you didn’t end up anywhere but in the crematoria,” Rossler said in a video for My Heritage.
Finding the Bourlet Family
After the war, David’s mother remarried and eventually lost touch with Georges.
For over 60 years, David Rossler tried to track down the family he credits with saving both him and his mother, but to no avail. With his health failing, his son Lionel knew there wasn’t much time left to make his father’s wish come true.
Exhausting all other avenues, Lionel Rossler finally turned to social media for help.
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And help? Well, it arrived. In the form of Marie Cappart, a genealogist and manager for MyHeritage.com in Belgium.
In less than two months, Cappart was able to do what the Rossler family had spent six decades trying to do. She found the descendants of Georges Bourlet.
In an emotional reunion, Rossler was finally able to come face to face with the family that had saved him all those years ago.
The Emotional Reunion
On a bright, sunny day, David Rossler returned to the refuge of his childhood. It was the culmination of a journey more than 75 years in the making.
MyHeritage caught the emotional reunion on tape and shared it on YouTube.
“You couldn’t go 100 meters in the city without meeting the Germans,” Rossler told Georges’ grandchildren, who all came to meet him.
As Rossler toured the familiar three-story white home, still owned by the Bourlet family, he broke down, weeping.
In one powerful moment, Rossler recalled how Bourlet feared he would be discovered and denounced for hiding Jews. For nearly a month, he hid in a cafe rather than go to work.
“The fact that I’m alive, the fact that I have a family that I am very, very proud of, very happy with, I would tell him that,” Rossler said tearfully. “It is thanks to him.”
Bourlet didn’t just save two lives all those years ago, he saved nine.
“There is a saying among the Jews which says that ‘He who saves a life, saves humanity,'” Lionel shared. “Today we could say that there are nine lives here today, thanks to his actions.”
Bourlet wasn’t alone in his actions. During the war, many people risked their lives to save others, and in doing so, saved countless more.
This story is not only a testament to the human spirit but it is also a reminder of the importance of preserving and honoring the memories of the Holocaust. It is through stories like Rossler’s that we can learn from the past and ensure that such atrocities never happen again.