Hadar Hen had stopped believing it could happen. She had been searching for him for decades, dreaming of the moment she would finally find him and he would explain why he had left and never come back. But after years of searching for her birth father, she found nothing but disappointment.
When she turned to MyHeritage and asked for our help finding the father who left her as a newborn 70 years ago, she never imagined that in a short while, she would be embracing her two biological siblings — and finally solve the mystery.
But that’s exactly what happened.
A few weeks ago, Hadar Hen landed at the Paris airport and met, for the first time, her sister Zizette and her brother Daniel Krief, both children from her father’s second marriage — both located in Paris by MyHeritage’s Research team. The 3 siblings could not hold back their tears. “I discovered that they had been looking for me all those years, too. It’s a dream come true,” Hadar said with much emotion after the reunion.
Hadar was born in Israel 70 years ago to a single mother, Juliet Ohayon, an immigrant from Morocco. From a young age, she knew that her birth father left her mother shortly after she was born. She has her parents’ divorce record from 1952, which lists some details about her father: his name was Albert Abraham Krief, he was a construction worker, born in Tunisia. The record includes a remark at the bottom: “The woman above is nursing a daughter.”
“My mom didn’t tell me much about him,” says Hadar. “They divorced, but I never understood why he left.” From the information she was able to gather, Hadar learned that her father left Israel shortly afterwards, and returned to Tunisia, where he apparently started a new family, and perhaps migrated to France later on. For years, she searched for him and gathered all the information she could. She has a document created in the 80s from the border police stating that her father had not returned to Israel.
“I was able to gather a lot of information, but I didn’t know what was true and what wasn’t,” she says. “Some of the information indicated that he was living in Tirat HaCarmel in Israel, some indicated that he was in Paris, some that he stayed in Tunisia. That he started a new family and had more children who might be living in Israel or might be in France. Every angle I examined didn’t bring the results I was hoping for.”
Hadar’s search took her all the way to Tunisia. In the early 2000s she received information from Tunisia that indicated that a man named Albert Krief who apparently lived and died there. But the information didn’t match another source she had, and there was no proof that this man was the right person. “Of all the information I gathered, I wasn’t able to reach a solid conclusion and I wasn’t able to track him down,” she says.
A few months ago, Hadar decided to approach a detective service in Israel. Based on the information she’d collected over the years, the detective was able to identify the names of a few people who might be her father’s descendants, but he was not able to track them down to verify the information. Hadar understood that she had reached a dead end, and would have to give up her dream of finding her father.
But then, a friend of hers whose daughter worked at MyHeritage suggested she approach our team and ask for our help tracking down her father.
She did, and the Research team got to work. They began building a tree and filling it with all the verified details Hadar had about her father, based on the documentation she’d collected over the years. The divorce record from 1952 indicated a birth date and place as well as the name of Albert’s father. This information was entered into the tree, and an automatic match popped up immediately: there was another family tree on MyHeritage, managed by a French user who was listed as the daughter of Albert Krief, born in 1952.
It turned out that this user, Zou Krief, who had built the little tree containing a few details about her family tree, had taken a DNA test in the past. To confirm their relationship, the Research team suggested that Hadar take a DNA test as well. If the Albert Krief who appeared in this tree was indeed Hadar’s father, she would match with Zou as a half-sister.
Hadar took the test and it was sent to the lab. Shortly after, the results were in with a conclusive answer: Zou was Hadar’s half-sister, and Albert was their father. 70 years of searching had finally come to an end.
A member of our Research team reached out to Zou and asked to speak with her. “We have important information to share with you,” he wrote after introducing himself. 24 hours later, his phone rang. “You were looking for me, what’s this about?” asked Zou. When she heard the details, she burst into tears. She told the researcher that she had been searching for many years for the older sister her father, who had died a few years ago, had told her about. “He told us about her and asked us to find her,” she told him in tears. “That’s the only reason I took the DNA test, to find my older sister.”
The research was complete.
Just one day after the emotional conversation with Zou, the sisters spoke on the phone for the first time. Despite the language barrier — Zou speaks no Hebrew and Hadar speaks no French — they spoke for a long time. Hadar found out that she has five younger half-siblings from her father Albert’s second marriage. They agreed to meet as soon as possible.
During that conversation, Hadar learned a great deal about her father, who, as it turned out, took his own life in 1972. “He was deeply depressed,” Zou told her sister. “He was in long-term treatment with medications and was under observation, but the deep sadness was bigger than him.” On his 47th birthday, December 17, 1972, he died by suicide in Paris. Zou says that her father had told them about his eldest daughter, who lived in Israel, and asked his children to find her and be in touch with her. “He told them that he was forced to divorce [my mother] because of pressure from his mother, who was opposed to the marriage,” says Hadar.
On the Jewish New Year this September, Hadar got on a plane to Paris and met her two siblings, Daniel and Zizette, in person for the first time. Over the next 4 days, they had to catch up on an entire lifetime. “We were together for 4 days, and it feels like we had been together all our lives,” says Hadar. “It’s unbelievable, a big miracle.”
During her trip to France, Hadar visited her father’s grave in Paris. It felt like closing a circle.
The siblings have been in touch regularly since then. The family was deeply shocked by the war that broke out in Israel on October 7. Not long ago, Hadar’s sister wrote to her from Paris:
Hadar, the world is changing and we’re all involved in this war that affects all of us, and for once we agree on this universal message. We’re here, there will be better days and may god watch over you all…I send you a big hug and I hope you’ll be in my arms soon!
“They love me so much as their big sister,” Hadar concludes. “It’s just amazing, how much they missed me. They are very worried because of the situation and we’ve been in constant contact. I am so happy I got to meet them before this terrible war.”
Many thanks to Hadar and her family members for sharing their beautiful story with us. If you’ve also made an amazing discovery using MyHeritage — we’d love to hear about it! Please share it with us via this form or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Source: My Heritage