Christian woman in Alabama and Jewish man in Israel discover they’re related through WWI photo

  • 29 Aug - 04 Sep, 2020
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Mag Files

A Christian woman living in Alabama and a Jewish man from Israel were able to reconnect their families after discovering that they were related through a shared photograph taken during World War I. Pini Doron tells PEOPLE he started building his family tree more than 20 years ago as the older generations were dying. Eventually, Doron, 75, joined MyHeritage, where he continued to piece together his family history and connect with long-lost relatives while holding onto a family photograph that was taken during WWI. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Marysia Galbraith, an Alabama-based cultural anthropologist, blogger and author of Being and Becoming European in Poland, was looking to piece together her own roots in 2011. Two years later, Galbraith stumbled upon Doron's family tree on MyHeritage, where she noticed some of her family members. "I contacted him and said, 'I think I see my grandmother,'" Galbraith recalls. "Pini said he wanted proof, but I didn't know what that would be so I sent the photograph from WWI because that was all I had." After receiving the image, Doron said he "was shocked because I have the same picture." As it turns out, the pair discovered that Doron's grandmother, Rachel Piwko Kolski, and Galbraith's grandmother, Halina Piwko Bereda, were sisters that ultimately lost contact following WWII and the Holocaust.