LOOKING FOR MY COUSIN PLEASE…
One day I received a mail from Monique, a B’nai B’rith member from Paris, who is also my very good friend. She received a call for help from her very good friend Irene living in Grenoble (near the Alps). Irene had a very good friend in Melbourne (Australia), Anita, who hadn’t heard news from her cousin living in Nice for months. She had tried everything, including the police, with no results. This is how it arrived to me, living in Nice.
Edith Silber was living alone at the 9 Marechal Foch in Nice. She has had health problems, broke her leg months ago, had to be in a clinic, and the last words she said to her cousin was that she was going to a nursing home near Nice.
As the climate of Nice is wonderful, there are many aged people who come for retirement, and of course many nursing homes.
At first I called the two Jewish nursing homes in Nice but they didn’t know her. Then I called a member of my lodge who is working at Social Security to see if she could find some information. Yes, she found her: she saw she was born in 1931 and made a 2-months stay in a clinic, leaving in May. I immediately called the clinic: the answer was not great as by phone they didn’t want to give any information. And they added that family only could meet the doctor and get the information.
So I tried another way. It happened that at the same address, 9 Marechal Foch in Nice, I knew a couple who were members of B'nai B'rith… I tried to call them but nobody answered. It is summertime and people are on holiday. So I sent a mail and waited.
The answer came very quickly. Josiane was on holiday in Israel, but of course she knew Edith and gave me the names of neighbors who were very close to her. I called one of the neighbors, who said he didn’t know where she was, but she had her sister coming to pick up her mail in the mail box.
Meanwhile I gave the information to Anita, who was very pleased to learn her cousin was alive, and we were trying very hard to find her. But she said she didn’t have any sister… Who was that person? It was a mystery.
And suddenly I had a great idea: as someone was coming to pick up the mail, the easy way was to write a message and put it in the mail box, so I did.
The day after, I was delighted to receive a phone call from a lady, who told me she found the message. She gave me the name of the nursing home where Edith was staying, and I sent the information to Anita who was very happy.
I thought my mission was fulfilled as two days later, I received a phone call from… Edith!
She was so nice I decided to visit her, and so I would give full news to the cousin!
The nursing home was 30 km from Nice, in a mountainous region, which is a very nice place during summer time compared to Nice, which was so hot. I t looked to me as a good place to live, well organized with medical services. As I knocked at the door, I was welcomed by a charming old lady, unhappily walking with much difficulty. She looked very happy from the little plant with colored flowers I brought her, and then we started to talk.
She told me about her life, not a very easy life considering her age.
Anita was delighted to learn all these news, and happy to have a phone number to call her. As we talked thru mails, I learnt… she was also a member of B'nai B'rith in Melbourne!
And I have been delighted and very moved to have been a little something in that chain of BBI friendship to help find Edith.
B'nai B'rith International has served as the Global Voice of the Jewish Community since 1843.