It took a war in Ukraine for this woman to finally find the family that saved her grandparents’ lives

Dori Ekstein, left, and Danute Protc have been searching for each other for years—and finally met on a Zoom call in 2022.

Just before Passover, Dori Ekstein was taking part in a webinar held by the March of the Living program. She heard a speech by a British/Israeli aid worker about the work his group is doing in Ukraine, helping the roughly 18 Righteous Among the Nations who were still alive. That news prompted Ekstein to bring up that her mother and grandparents had been hidden by a Ukrainian family in their barn in Dolyna for two years, and she had been searching for that family for years.

What Ekstein didn’t know was that a Ukrainian woman had been searching for her, too. Danute Protc’s grandparents owned that farm in Ukraine, and she, too, had spent years trying to connect with descendants of the Jewish couple her own grandparents saved.

It was fate that the two should finally meet, albeit over Zoom. On today’s episode of The CJN Daily, you’ll hear from both Protc and Ekstein, who was finally able to say thank you to the family that saved hers during the Holocaust—a family that is now, themselves, trapped in a country at war, again.

What we talked about:


The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Victoria Redden is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To learn how to support the show by subscribing to this podcast, please watch this video.