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updated: 2/12/2013 1:56 PM

Moving Picture: Mundelein Holocaust survivor finds past

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  • Video: Moving Picture: New Identity

  • Adam Paluch of Mundelein was taken by the Nazis as a child, and sent to the notorious Majdanek prison camp in Poland.

       Adam Paluch of Mundelein was taken by the Nazis as a child, and sent to the notorious Majdanek prison camp in Poland.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • Paluch walks up the ramp that leads to the German rail car at the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center in Skokie, the type used in Nazi deportation programs.

       Paluch walks up the ramp that leads to the German rail car at the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center in Skokie, the type used in Nazi deportation programs.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • Holocaust survivors Adam Paluch of Mundelein and his twin sister Ida Kersz of Skokie sit in the Pritzker Hall of Reflection at the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center. The twins were separated during the Holocaust, and reunited in 1995.

       Holocaust survivors Adam Paluch of Mundelein and his twin sister Ida Kersz of Skokie sit in the Pritzker Hall of Reflection at the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center. The twins were separated during the Holocaust, and reunited in 1995.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • The blue ribbon that Adam Paluch of Mundelein wears proudly, signifying that he is a Holocaust survivor.

       The blue ribbon that Adam Paluch of Mundelein wears proudly, signifying that he is a Holocaust survivor.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • Holocaust survivor Adam Paluch of Mundelein in the Room Of Remembrance at the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, which pays homage to the six million Jews and millions of others murdered during the Holocaust.

       Holocaust survivor Adam Paluch of Mundelein in the Room Of Remembrance at the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, which pays homage to the six million Jews and millions of others murdered during the Holocaust.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • An old family picture of Adam Paluch, far right, sitting on his mother's lap with his twin sister Ida.

       An old family picture of Adam Paluch, far right, sitting on his mother's lap with his twin sister Ida.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

 
 

It took 45 years, but Adam Paluch finally found out who he was.

The Mundelein man is a Holocaust survivor who in 1942, at the age of 3, was snatched from the Sosnowiec ghetto in Poland, and spent two years in the notorious Majdanek Nazi prison camp in Poland. It was there that the Nazi's were doing medical experiments on twins, experiments on bones that he still suffers from today. After being liberated from the camp after the war, he was taken by a Polish family from a Russian orphanage, and given the name Jerzy Dolebski.

"When I was 6 years old my grandma told me I was foundling, this hurt me very much," Paluch said, "When I found my birth certificate, there was two years difference. The birth certificate was made in 1944 and was written that I was born in 1942, and that I am girl, and I knew that this is wrong birth certificate."

Although he was beginning to learn about his roots, it seemed the more he discovered, the less he understood.

"The Dolebski family that raised me said I was a Jew, this bothered me and I started to run away from home to look for my true family," Paluch said, "But I didn't know my name, I didn't know where I was born, when I was born, nothing."

That first night, Adam slept in a cemetery, and continued to run for five years, until finally being caught on a train. After finishing high school, he began again to look for his roots.

In 1995 he got a call from a woman in the United States claiming to be his twin sister. Ida Kersz of Skokie saw a picture of a man in a publication called Jewish Living that resembled her grandfather. She followed some leads, and finally contacted a man named Jerzy Dolebski living in Poland, who she thought was her long lost twin brother. "We exchanged correspondence for 3 months," he said, "When she convinced me that I was her brother she came to Poland, we met, and since then I'm here in United States."

"I received my true identity in 2001, I am Adam Paluch, I am Jew, Holocaust survivor."

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