Twins reunited after the Holocaust

“No matter how much they want to kill us, we will survive,” says Ida Baloch defiantly at the end of this animated documentary. This movie boils down to two sentences: “We are the winners.” And: “Hitler is lost, and there is a glint of happiness and sadness in the eyes of Adam, Edda’s twin brother, whom she has searched for almost all her life.

At the age of three he was sent to a concentration camp

There seems to be a touching agreement with the sister’s more eloquent words, but there is also doubt as to whether all this can be considered a victory. After all, for five decades he had a vague feeling that he had lost half. But he couldn’t remember a twin sister. At the age of three, the two were torn apart, Adam was sent to the Majdanek concentration camp, from which he probably survived only because medical experiments were conducted on him and the Gestapo believed during the evacuation that the boy would die anyway in the toilet. which he had thrown in.

But Ida is not naive either. I have experienced the fragility of every happiness in life. “It can happen again,” she says, “and it can happen to you, too.” Another wound that does not heal. The tragic story of the Baloch twins is so amazing, that it gained widespread media coverage in 1995, when the two found each other. Like a modern fairy tale. But it is also a story that reflects the twentieth century: atrocities, the dehumanization of German soldiers, the decades-long consequences for survivors, small moments of hope, and the fear of being forgotten.


Photo from Ida Baloch’s album.
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Photo: NDR / Ida Paluch

The siblings take turns telling their story, which is repeatedly illustrated by emoji, which fits so well because memory functions in a similar way to notable objects. It starts terribly. Young mother Esther Baloch, from whom German soldiers in the Sosnowiec district wanted to take her three children from in 1941 – the father had volunteered in the Polish army – jumped to her death in front of the children.

While Adam ended up in a concentration camp at the age of three, Edda was pushed over barbed wire and taken illegally by a Polish family. She was raised as a Christian under the name Irina and was treated lovingly. Touching the heart, as Ida Baloch describes, here she became an anti-Semite, and she was afraid of the Jews because of the blood-drenching propaganda. When her father picked her up after the war, she scratched his face and face. “It is a shame that Hitler did not kill all the Jews,” she cried. “My father cried.”

The father thinks the children are dead

At a minimum, the father and daughter get closer again, and at the same time there is another loss for the mother. A dark fate awaits Adam after the war. He was also adopted by a Polish Christian family, but he was never loved and had to work nonstop. He mocked circumcision, because he knew it didn’t belong. In the meantime, the father was done with the past. It was believed that the other two children and his wife ended up “in the ovens”. remarried. Ida began a long search for her siblings, which she continued in Israel where she married, and beginning in 1963 in Chicago. Adam also searched extensively, but did not know his name. Finally, he told his story to a newspaper that had fallen into Ida’s hands. So on April 28, 1995, there was an emotional reunion at the Warsaw airport, where the production of Jan Tenhaven (“Herbstgold”, 2010), created in collaboration with Tilman Müller, began.

The film, made long after that quest, feels more distant than the powerful documentary Aida’s Secrets (2016), in which two brothers separated as children find each other (and their mother) again after a long time. Directed by the affected nephew, this film developed into a thriller about “homeless people” and the taboos of the iron family.

“Adam & Ida,” arranged very quietly, has a different focus, as the original “almost a fairy tale” subtitle makes clear. It’s a measure of that “almost” killer word. For the twins, who have lost their essential trust in their fellow human beings, it must be admitted that their story, contrary to what the newspaper article from 1995 suggests, does not know a happy ending, and that they remain crippled. Not only did Ida’s marriage fail, but she also persuaded Adam to move to America with her – leaving his family behind. Adam builds a house, finds a new wife, says he’s “satisfied,” but stays away from anything American, Ida laments.

The uprooted cling to each other salvation. The images at the end of the film become more like a fairytale from a television movie perspective, depicting familiar local scenes. But the sadness in their eyes contradicts that. Adam’s lifelong search for “who I am” doesn’t seem to be over yet. Ida, on the other hand, just has it. The rescue seems almost tangible. Then, after the last dance, it says in white on a black background: “In memory of Adam Baloch 1939 – 2022.” Now Ida has also lost her brother.

Adam and Ida It works at 11.50 pm on the first. As a long version worth watching in the media library.

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