I feel incredibly lucky and privileged to have found Malinka’s relatives and know that she will be with me on my Bat Mitzvah journey
The Yad Vashem UK Foundation Twinning Project twinned me with a little girl called Amalya Malinka Leder. We share the same Hebrew name – Amalya.
I wanted to be a part of Yad Vashem’s twinning programme to remember a young victim who died in the Holocaust and to make sure they are not forgotten and that their memory will always be kept alive. This is a significant time for me leading up to my Bat Mitzvah and knowing that someone like me was not as lucky to have reached the age I am now.
My parents tried to trace Amalya’s cousin Viktor, who had given testimony to Yad Vashem. However, we did not hear anything from the family. We were lucky enough to visit Israel in the summer of 2018 and unexpectedly but fortunately, Viktor’s son made contact with us by email, a few days before we were due to leave.
Although Viktor was alive, his son Joshua told us that he is very old and finds it too hard to talk about the family he lost in the Holocaust. However, Viktor’s son Joshua has kindly kept in touch with me and my family and sent us a beautiful photograph of Amalya – which the Yad Vashem organisation did not have. He has also given us his father’s memories of his cousin, who he said was affectionately called Malinka and who he remembers as “a smiling blond child who looked always happy”.
This is quite incredible and special. Malinka has gone from being a name on a page for me, to a real person that I can see and identify with, and I know from what Viktor’s son has told me, that they have found it profoundly moving and touching that Malinka will be remembered thanks to me, for herself and as a symbol of the 1.5 million Jewish children who were murdered in the Holocaust.
I feel incredibly lucky and privileged to have found Malinka’s relatives and know that she will be with me on my Bat Mitzvah journey. I hope Viktor, Joshua and the rest of Malinka’s family approve of what I am trying to do; to remember a little girl and honour her memory.