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Siblings reunite after 60 years

Tears welled in Rivka Bromberg's eyes as the younger brother she thought had died in a Nazi death camp walked toward her.

"Sister," Solomon Bromberg said simply, and the two embraced for the first time in 60 years.

The siblings learned of each other's survival three months ago. On Tuesday, Solomon arrived in Israel from Moscow, in time for breakfast with the sister he had not seen since 1936.

The two, both white-haired and walking with canes, held each other in a long disbelieving embrace as they reunited at Rivka's apartment. Solomon kissed his sister's hand three times.

"I can't describe the feeling," he said, holding Rivka's hand. "I want to cry, but that wouldn't be enough."

In 1936, Rivka _ then 19 _ bid her family goodbye and left Poland for a new life in British-ruled Palestine. After World War II, she learned that her parents had died in the Treblinka death camp and thought her three brothers and sister had been killed, too.

But Solomon had escaped to Russia, where he settled outside Moscow, also believing he was the family's sole survivor.

Last year, Solomon's son Alexander, who was working with an Israeli company in Russia, asked a colleague about locating missing relatives in Israel. The colleague contacted Israel's Jewish Agency, which tries to reunite family members separated during the war.

In April, Rivka received a telephone call with the news that Solomon was alive and living in Russia.

Solomon's wife, Anastasia, his sons Alexander and Michael and their wives all accompanied Solomon, now 76, on the trip to Israel.

Hugging and kissing, Solomon and Rivka looked each other up and down.

"You were beautiful," Solomon said to his petite 79-year-old sister.

"I still am," giggled Rivka, who was dressed for the occasion in a black dress trimmed with white lace.

The siblings' emotional reunion quickly turned into a noisy family gathering. Not only had Rivka and Solomon found each other, but their families discovered new uncles and aunts, cousins, nieces and nephews.

"This is amazing. I see them here and it's hard for me to believe," said Sharon Feingold, Rivka's granddaughter, who picked up the newfound relatives at Israel's Ben Gurion airport.

With the Russian side of the family only in Israel for 10 days, Rivka and Solomon wasted no time catching up _ looking at Rivka's photographs of their parents and reminiscing about their youth.

"I remember Father was so worried about you going so far away," Solomon said.

"Another hug," said Rivka, beaming, and the two embraced again.

Still amazed by her brother's presence, Rivka looked around her small apartment at her grandchildren and her brother's family.

"Look at this," she said proudly, gazing around the room. "Look at this."

Hundreds, probably thousands of such reunions have taken place since the Holocaust, said John Lemberger, director of AMCHA, a private support organization for survivors and their families.

"We have had cases of survivors mourning years for loved ones and then finding them alive," he said.

Lemberger said about 300,000 Holocaust survivors live in Israel, and 150,000 others are scattered around the world, mostly in the United States, Canada and Australia.

Even today, so many years later, survivors are still looking for their missing relatives, he said, adding, "The element of not knowing is the worst."