James H. Keeffe II in 1942 (age 19)

Now this is what I’m talking about: Google bringing Holocaust survivors and WWII veterans together. This story is reminiscent of my mother-in-law’s, but not as cool or interesting, in my humble opinion. [Keep up with my blog and you’ll soon discover more about my mother-in-law’s incredible story…]

James H. Keeffe II was an American B-24 bomber pilot whose plane was shot down over southern Holland during WWII. He was rescued by the Dutch Underground and spent five months eluding capture by going from safe house to safe house in Rotterdam. One of the homes also hid a Jewish family, a mother, a father and their eight-year-old daughter.

Keeffe’s son, James H. Keeffe III, recently wrote Two Gold Coins and a Prayer: The Epic Journey of a World War II Bomber Pilot and POW, an as-told-to memoir about his father’s war adventures. He also posted excerpts on Google Reader, which were discovered by 76-year-old Israeli Helen Cohen-Berman, who recognized herself as the little girl in the story.

James and Helen in Seattle, September 13, 2011

Helen and her family had been captured by the Nazis and that was the last Keeffe had seen or heard of them. He could only assume they’d been taken to a concentration camp and killed. Imagine his surprise and delight when Helen wrote to let them know she was alive and well and had been living in Israel since 1978.

On September 13, 2011 — 67 years later — Helen flew to Seattle to reunite with 88-year-old Keeffe. The power of good that is Google. Amazing. I have a feeling there are more of these Google reunion stories and I can only hope people write about them and share them with the rest of us.

Watch this quick clip of their reunion.

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