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Heir hunters track down families of people who have died without leaving a will.
They hand over thousands of pounds to the long-lost relatives,
who had no idea they were in line for a windfall.
Could they be knocking at your door?
On today's programme,
the heir hunters encounter an astounding tale of courage
from a Jewish family who fought to survive the Nazi genocide.
I've dealt with a lot of cases like this and yours is unique.
And the hunt is on to find heirs for a reclusive man who left an estate of £30,000.
From that incident, it's almost like he closed himself off to the world.
And we'll have details of some of the hundreds of unclaimed estates.
Could you be in line for a windfall?
More than two thirds of people die without leaving a will.
If they have no obvious relatives, their money goes to the Government,
who last year made a staggering £18 million from unclaimed estates.
That's where the heir hunters step in.
Which is why the cousins, such as you, end up inheriting.
There are more than 30 heir-hunting companies
who, for a share of the estate,
make it their business to track down the rightful kin.
Last year, they claimed back £6.5 million for unsuspecting heirs
who would otherwise have gone empty-handed.
You can see the smile on the beneficiary's face
as they know they're going to receive sometimes tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds.
A real life-changing event when that cheque finally does drop on their doorstep.
It's Friday morning at Fraser & Fraser,
one of the oldest heir-hunting companies in the country.
Case manager Bob Smith is working on tracing heirs for a man who died earlier this year.
I have a case here which has been referred to us by a solicitor
of a gentleman by the name of Ronald Millar.
They only information they could glean from the papers and correspondence at Mr Millar's home
was that he may have had a relation by the name of Povey or Govey,
but we don't know quite how that family member ties in.
Cases like Ronald Millar's, which come from solicitor referrals,
account for more than half of the heir hunters' business.
While there isn't the same worry about the competition
as with the Treasury cases,
the aim is still the same - finding entitled heirs.
Ronald Millar died aged 80 in Edgware on the outskirts of London.
He was a private man whose main contact with the outside world
was from volunteers who helped with his shopping and banking.
John Wilks is the director of the Friend In Need community centre
who visit old and disabled people in the local area.
Ron was generous and warm-hearted from the point of view that
he would support charities regularly during each month.
The World Wildlife sticker on the door, so we can presume it was that one,
and something like the Cats Protection League and one or two other animal charities.
And he had these cats.
When we got involved,
there were just four and then the occasional strays.
No stray was ever turned away.
It was always given a welcome.
Four years before Ronald died,
a shocking event meant that he would never leave the house again.
The big change that occurred in Ron's life
was coming back from work... from getting his pension one day,
he found his door kicked in and the burglar still inside.
From that moment, he never left the house.
His neighbour said he was always out and about prior to this incident with the burglars.
You know, he was looking after himself.
But from that incident, it's almost like he closed himself off to the world.
Shut inside his house, Ronald relied on volunteer help
to run errands, but he remained financially independent.
He wasn't short of money and was pretty comfortable.
I'm told there's an estate of at least £30,000.
Ronald never wrote a will so his estimated £30,000
will all go to the Government if no heirs can be traced.
Genealogists start their research by looking for birth,
death and marriage records of the person who has died.
They can use the dates and names on them to start building up
layers of a family tree, which can lead to heirs.
While the office can do a certain amount of research from their desks,
they are also calling on the help of travelling researcher Ewart Lindsay.
He's been sent to Edgware to see what he can find out from any of Ronald's friends or neighbours.
I've just spoken to Bob in the office
and he's now given me the name of the deceased.
His name was Ronald Millar.
He died on the 6th of February 2009.
While Ewart is making his way to North London,
in the office, Bob has received Ronald's birth certificate.
It will allow them to cross-reference his place of birth
and parents' names with records for other potential family members.
Now that we've got the right birth certificate of our deceased,
we've also been able to, um...
establish that the deceased had a brother,
Frederick Ramsey Millar.
Finding a brother is great news but there may be even closer family.
They still don't know who the Govey relative is
that they've been told about.
If it was a child of Ronald's, they would inherit before his brother.
Back in Edgware, the neighbour enquiries have come to nothing,
but Ewart's detective work has led him to the phone number of a carer who knew Ronald.
We're trying to find out some information about the deceased.
First of all, if he was married, did he have any children, you know, et cetera?
Unmarried, lived on his own ever since his mother and father died.
There's apparently mention of a David Govey.
That's the name of David Govey, as a nephew.
You would assume, if David Govey was a child of Ron Millar's brother,
that the surname would be Millar, wouldn't you?
And there was a vague possibility that there may have been a niece,
so there could have been a daughter.
It's been a useful call, and Ewart is quick to pass the news
on to the office so they can search for Ronald's brother's children.
There's still the mystery of why they might be called Govey
rather than Millar,
so Bob is enlisting some help to get to the bottom of it.
Who is doing the research on Millar?
-Can I hand some information over to you? Is that all right?
Ewart's done an enquiry.
He did have a brother - yeah? - who died when he was very young
but was married and had two kids, and that could be possibly that relation David Govey.
So he dies young and then...
Yeah, the two kids may be adopted or assumed maybe a second father's...
you know, second marriage father's name.
-So I'll leave that with you.
-All right? Just let me know when you get something, yeah? Cheers.
While Gareth tries to find a marriage and any family records for Ronald's brother and his children,
Bob also needs to get some evidence to back up what he's been told.
In our line of work, you have to deal with facts -
certificates that prove relationships rather than hearsay from family members or friends, you know.
The team knows that Ronald's brother's birth certificate
is in Camden which is only a few miles away from where Ewart is.
If he can get it, it will help them prove they're onto the right family.
-I know you're on your way to Enfield but could you re-route and go to Camden register office?
What we want you to do is pick up a copy of
a birth of a brother of the deceased, yeah? Our deceased. OK?
Birth, death and marriage certificates are the tools of the heir hunters' trade.
They contain a huge amount of information that can be used to build a case,
including maiden names, parents' names, crucial dates, and even if someone was adopted.
They are also needed as evidence to make a case to the Treasury solicitor on an heir's behalf.
In the office, Gareth's research has had some mixed results.
We found a very good marriage of Frederick Millar, two children,
one's born in Salisbury and the other one is Islington.
I like the Islington birth.
The Salisbury one, however - well, it's not exactly our area
so take that with a pinch of salt.
It ties up with what we were told, but at the same time it's not quite right.
But it might work out.
If we get a phone call done, they'll be able to tell us if it's right or wrong.
Gareth's record search through names and birth dates
has thrown up a potential niece and nephew to Ronald.
The very different locations of their births suggests that they may not both be right.
But more than that, the names Christopher and Christine
don't connect with the David Govey who Ewart has been told about.
Before they call the potential nephew, Christopher,
Ewart is on the way to the register office to get information to confirm they're onto the right family,
and so the office is waiting with bated breath.
-Ah, great. That certificate's ready.
Finding heirs to unclaimed estates can be a satisfying experience for heir hunters,
even in the most ordinary cases, but at Heirtrace, a Suffolk-based company founded by Derek Rodbard,
one of their specialist areas has a heightened importance -
that of uniting dependents of Holocaust victims with long-lost family money.
I've always been particularly interested in history of the 19th and 20th centuries,
and that's tended to grow, and it tends to matter more and more to me.
I'm careful not to be obsessive but it really does matter a lot
that we go the extra mile to make sure that these people get what is due to them.
The genocide of Jews in central and eastern Europe between 1939 and 1945
was the culmination of a long campaign to systematically extinguish them from society,
starting after Hitler came to power in 1933.
The campaign began with Nazi laws to strip away Jewish rights, wealth
and property, long before the first concentration camps were built.
Derek's work to restore these assets to their rightful families
begins with information sent to him from lawyers in Israel.
After the war, when the state of Israel was set up,
people would say, "Six million Jews were killed during World War II," and it trips off the tongue too easily.
It becomes an impersonal statistic.
Each one of these people was a person
and so it was very strongly felt in Israel that, wherever possible,
a record should be established of each individual person, so that they didn't just become sort of nothing.
Each one of these people is represented on a sheet which is called the Yad Vashem sheet.
As well as providing a tribute to each individual, the Yad Vashem sheets are like a death certificate.
They are useful for the heir hunters because often a relative will be listed as the informant.
In this particular case, the starting point was a Yad Vashem sheet
sent to us by the lawyers in Tel Aviv,
and it related to a certain Ernst Hornung
who had been a solicitor... in Czechoslovakia.
Ernst Hornung was a Jewish professional who had taken out
a life insurance policy which had never been paid after his death,
so there was lump sum outstanding
which any surviving heirs would inherit if Derek could find them.
These sheets, at the bottom, tend to have an informant who provided the information
which then goes onto the sheet, and we work from the informants.
In the case of the policy of Ernst Hornung,
on the Yad Vashem sheet, there's a son detailed
with an address in Wembley, and frankly we went straight to him.
He's still living there.
Ernst Hornung's son Otto was in line to inherit the insurance pay-out,
along with any other surviving siblings if there were any.
The financial value of the policy was still unknown.
Usually the final settlement figure comes out anything from £20,000 to £50,000.
But the money was of secondary concern to Otto Hornung.
It could not in any way
bring back my family's existence.
We had been destroyed completely.
We had nothing to our name. But I was very impressed
that somebody took on this job, what Derek is doing.
Otto is 89 and now lives with his wife Chi-Chi
in Wembley in North London, although he was originally from Czechoslovakia.
I've lived in Moravska Ostrava.
It's the point where three countries meet
and it was very big, very important
because Ostrava sat on coal and there were mines everywhere.
In 1939, Otto was 18 and still at school.
All over Europe, storm clouds were brewing as world leaders
tried to second guess Hitler's next move in the east.
In Czechoslovakia, Otto's family's worst fears were confirmed
when German tanks rolled into their home town
of Moravska Ostrava in mid March.
I was in a classroom and a boy came running up
and shouted, "The Germans are here!"
So everybody, all the kids,
ran out to the square.
When I saw the Germans soldiers sitting on the lorry in the back
and holding a rifle between their hands,
I wanted a rifle.
I must get a rifle. How can I get it?
Otto was a young man with fighting spirit
and determined to join the fight against the Nazi invaders.
With the help of his family, Otto escaped Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia
to Poland, and joined an army of poorly equipped Czech soldiers
who were gathering in the countryside.
As Otto prepared to march against the Nazis,
the situation in Czechoslovakia,
where he had left his parents, was deteriorating.
In 1939, Ernst Hornung's name
was one amongst many prominent Czech Jews
to appear on a deportation order to Poland
while the extermination of the Eastern European Jews was still in its infancy.
They must have made up a list of who will be deported,
then they brought all those people together,
put them at the railway station in cattle wagons,
and, er...took them by train to Nisko.
It was not a deportation of him personally.
It was a deportation of a group
of permanent Jewish people to occupied Poland.
Unaware of his father's deportation,
Otto was still with the Czech Legion
who were moving away from Poland towards Romania
to escape the Nazi army.
They fell in with the Russian forces,
who gave them valuable supplies.
The reason why the Russians took care of us
is because they expected an attack by Hitler
and they needed every help,
everyone who could fire a rifle,
to help them.
In 1941, Otto was given the thing he had dreamed about
since the day Nazi tanks had rolled into his home town.
It was a First World War issue rifle
and it was kept for all those years
and some unknown power had written my name on it!
Each rifle was in a plastic packing.
Not a holder, it was packing.
And the rifles were full of grease,
so I pulled out my rifle - I think I gave it a kiss -
and started cleaning it.
I cleaned it for about two days!
The rifle was soon put to use
as Otto served with the British Army in North Africa.
He played a role in the Battle of Tobruk,
a fiercely fought struggle
for the control of this strategically important harbour.
Towards the end of the war, he had also helped
to push back the Nazi forces in France after the D-Day landings.
It was a fantastic adventure.
I loved every minute of it.
Whilst Otto was fighting the Nazis, his father Ernst was fleeing them.
After he had been deported to Nisko, he managed to escape German clutches
and fled into the nearby city of Lvov in Russian-occupied Poland.
Whilst there, he tried to keep a low profile.
He tried to disappear in the crowds.
He kept to his work.
In the factory, he was one of the blue boys there.
He really turned from a solicitor,
from a man who is working with his brains,
to a workman.
At this stage, the Hornungs were scattered over Eastern Europe.
Ernst was in Russian-occupied Poland,
his wife and daughter were in Hungary,
and Otto's Czech army unit were in modern-day Ukraine
being trained by the Russians.
But Ernst had managed to trace them all and remain in touch.
My father wrote the first letter
when he got to Lvov to me.
I was very happy about that.
He actually acted as a central post office because,
when I wrote to him, he then sent the postcard to Mother,
and vice versa.
Even exiled and in hiding, through keeping them in touch,
Ernst maintained his role as head of the family.
He was the boss all his life.
But he ruled, not with a fist,
but with charm and a smile and soul.
But the stability and comfort of knowing the whereabouts of his entire family wouldn't last long.
The Nazis were on the march again.
In 1941, Hitler flaunted his agreement with Stalin
and advanced into Russian-occupied Poland
where Otto's father was living.
Ernst, along with the rest of the Jewish population in Lvov, was now in terrible danger.
Could Ernst survive, and would his family ever see each other again?
large community of Lvov was decimated.
For every case that is solved, there are still thousands that stubbornly remain a mystery.
Currently, over 3,000 names drawn from across the country are on the Treasury's unsolved case list.
Their assets will be kept for up to 30 years
in the hope that eventually someone will remember and come forward to claim their inheritance.
With estates valued at anything from 5,000 to millions of pounds,
the rightful heirs are out there somewhere.
Could you be the key?
Mary D'Arcy-Cordigan of Cheshire died in 2006.
Does her unusual name ring a bell?
Could you be the one person entitled to her estate?
William Thomas Cozens died in Bedworth, Warwickshire, in 2006.
The heir hunters have run out of leads.
Do you know anything about him?
Maybe he's your long-lost uncle or cousin.
Could your help get to the heirs of Mary D'Arcy-Cordigan and William Cozens,
and thousands of others just like these?
Is there a fortune out there waiting for you?
Fraser & Fraser are working on an estate that never made it onto the Treasury's list.
The case of Ronald Millar who died in Edgware in London came through a solicitor referral.
Ronald left £30,000 but died intestate.
He never left a will.
There is a reluctance to leave a will.
It's almost like you're probably signing your death warrant
or acknowledging, yes, I am mortal.
Alan, my colleague, was actually talking to Ron
about the necessity of having a will,
and they got so far as actually getting some attorneys to actually go to Ron's house.
They spent a few hours with Ron and eventually phoned Alan
who told me that he'd decided against it completely,
so a will was never set up.
These solicitors contacted the heir hunters in the hope that they could find heirs for Ronald.
So far, the team knows he had a brother, Frederick Millar,
who they think had two children, Christopher and Christine.
They've also been tipped-off that he was related to a David Govey
but they can't work out where he fits in.
To try and get to the bottom of the matter,
Ewart is at Camden register office to pick up the birth certificate of Ronald's brother
and make sure they're onto the right family.
Ah, great, that certificate's ready?
In the office, they've got a number for a Christopher Millar, potentially Ronald's nephew,
but they've been holding off ringing until Ewart's call from the register office
confirms that they were right about Ronald having a brother.
-I've now got the birth of Frederick.
-Frederick Ramsey Millar...
-Born 5th of July 1925.
His father was Frederick Walter Millar,
mother was Hilda Millar, formerly Sykes.
Good news. Ewart has now picked up the birth of the brother of the deceased,
which we were rather hoping was right.
It is indeed right.
The parents are the same, so now it looks a safe bet
to contact the nephew of the deceased who is the son of the brother,
and hopefully arrange an appointment for Ewart to go and see him today.
This is where certificates are invaluable
as the team now can prove that Ronald and Frederick were brothers.
If they can also prove that the potential niece and nephew they've found are Frederick's children,
they'll have found two heirs.
It's time to make the call.
Hello, is that Mr Millar?
We're trying to track down children of a gentleman by the name of Frederick Ramsey Millar.
Now, would that be your father?
Right. So your father's not Frederick Ramsey Millar born 1925?
OK. All right. I'm sorry to have troubled you.
Thanks very much. Bye-bye.
Well, it seems our diligent research has come up with the wrong family.
The fact that this particular Christopher Millar,
which seems to tie up with the birth that we'd identified, is wrong,
doesn't actually mean that the other birth
that we think goes with the marriage of our brother of the deceased is wrong also.
The sister was born in a completely different area to this chap,
so it may be that they're two different families.
Um...obviously we had a current address and a phone number for him,
so it was the obvious thing to give him a call,
but obviously, with a female,
there's a good chance that she'll have married and obviously have a different name.
So we're going to have to go back to the drawing board
and see if we can identify a marriage for her.
It seems the Christopher Millar they tracked down isn't related to Ronald's brother Frederick.
It may be that he didn't have two children, just one.
All hopes are now pinned on Christine being Frederick's daughter and Ronald's niece.
I've been sitting here waiting, Bob, to try and find out if you've rung this heir or not.
Well, I put the phone down to him about five minutes ago.
'He's wrong, yeah. But that doesn't mean that the sister's not right.'
Oh, right. Hold on a moment. I think we might have some news.
I'm just being passed something.
Ah, right, we've got the death of the brother of the deceased now, right?
Sorry, we've got the probate. OK?
And it names Christine Rose Govey
as...his daughter, so Christine...
is married to David.
All right? So this is a niece of the deceased, OK?
David's the son-in-law. OK, got it.
At last, the team have solved the Govey mystery.
Unlike Ronald, his brother Frederick did leave a will
and this has helped prove the case.
The will mentions his daughter Christine by her married name, Govey.
She is Frederick's only child and is Ronald's niece.
The mysterious David Govey was not Ronald's nephew, but Christine's husband,
and he is not entitled because he is not related to Ronald by blood.
The office has made the breakthrough and confirmed that Christine is the sole heir.
As they don't have a phone number for her, Ewart is heading off to call at her address.
Yeah, it's all come together very nicely.
Research has been good
and it's just a question of now whether the heir themselves is going to be willing to see us,
and then obviously enter into a contract with us,
so all the work we've undertaken will be, you know, worthwhile for us.
The trip is looking worthwhile so far, as Ewart has arrived
at Christine Govey's house,
and she and her husband are happy to meet him.
Did your father have any brothers and sisters?
Yes, he had one brother who was two years younger.
And his name was?
When was the last time you had contact with him?
Just after my father died, ten and a half years ago.
-Strange man. And his cats.
Hundreds and hundreds of cats.
Christine didn't see her uncle for several years before his death.
However, she is keen to see the certificates Ewart has collected.
This is the birth of...
-My father. Yes.
You're saying 1925.
I thought he was born in 1926.
That's when he was born.
It's funny how things change slightly.
So you always thought it was 1926?
Christine is the sole heir to Ronald's £30000, something that
came as a surprise to her since she hadn't seen him for so long.
I didn't really know if I'd ever find out what happened to him,
to be honest, because we don't go in that area at all,
don't know of anybody down there.
All his neighbours - he had outlived everybody.
So there was no way we'd ever know what happened to him,
except now we do know.
And I just think it's very sad that there was nobody...
for him, near to him, you know.
Derek Rodbard of Heirtrace
works on uniting descendants of Holocaust victims
with money that belongs to their family.
One of his cases was that of Ernst Hornung, a Jewish solicitor
who left an unclaimed life insurance policy
which could be worth between £20,000 and £50,000.
We know that Ernst Hornung had a policy with Assicurazioni Generali.
It was appropriated, or I should say stolen, by Mussolini in 1938
and he dispossessed all the Jewish policy holders
and split the proceeds basically between himself and Hitler.
Ernst's assets had been stolen but, at this point in time,
this was the least of his worries.
He was on the run from the Nazis and had fled to Lvov
in Russian-occupied Poland.
The city had a strong connection with the Jewish community,
as Rabbi Marcus of the Central London Synagogue explains.
Lvov is known as a major Jewish centre.
In pre-war Europe,
it was known as a place of a very, very vibrant Jewish community,
extremely vibrant, with some very well-known personalities
who lived there, some very great scholars.
It was a place of learning and where there were books printed,
and certainly a very, very productive and positive place.
But in 1941, the Nazi army crossed over into Russian-occupied Poland
and into Lvov, which was known as Lemberg to the Germans.
This was a disaster for the Jewish community.
Massacres were carried out by both the departing Russians
and the advancing Germans in the city and the surrounding area.
The once-vibrant, large community of Lvov was decimated
and all those who'd had to flock there to find some kind of refuge
were wiped out when the ghetto was liquidated.
Otto Hornung, Ernst's son, knew his father was in danger
and found out what had happened to him
while he was fighting for the Allies in the Middle East.
My father had the faith of all the Jewish people
the Germans could get hold of in Lvov.
And he was lined up with the others and was shot.
The loss of his father devastated Otto.
He was an inspiration in everything I did.
When he was not there, really I missed him.
That was one of the reasons why I wanted to fight the Germans -
Lvov had seemed a safe haven for Ernst,
but in fact it became the opposite.
By the end of the war, there were only an estimated 3,400 Jews
left in a city that had once boasted over 100,000.
When Derek realised that Ernst's assets could be restored
to his family, he contacted Otto immediately to inform him.
I wrote to Otto because we always write first so that people
have time to consider things, and he phoned me the next day.
We had a lengthy conversation and it rapidly became apparent
that he had the most amazing story to tell,
and not just from his point of view,
because his father had been very enterprising.
What's more, his mother was amazing, a most doughty fighter,
an incredibly brave woman.
She must have been the most amazing character.
While her husband was in Poland and her son fighting all over Europe,
Aranka Hornung, Otto's mother,
was left to look after her daughter Kitty in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia.
It was becoming an increasingly dangerous place for a Jewish woman,
and a letter from her sister in Hungary prompted her to drastic action.
She had to have the permission of the Germans to go to Hungary
and therefore she went to the Gestapo.
She dressed up as if she was going to a ball
and she used her best perfume.
She looked like a film star.
As a Jewish woman entering the Gestapo headquarters to ask to leave the country,
Aranka could not have been making herself more visible
in a time when keeping a low profile could make the difference between life and death.
And she said,
"could I have a permit
"to travel with my daughter to Hungary?"
The colonel looked at her and said,
"I am not an absolute idiot, but I'll tell you something.
"I shall give you the permit for only one reason."
"I admire your courage."
Once in Hungary, Aranka knew that she and her daughter Kitty
still weren't safe, but help was at hand
in the form of a renegade Swedish diplomat called Raoul Wallenberg.
Raoul Wallenberg, for us, is one of the great heroes,
one of the great men of courage,
the man who not only saved people but saved our faith in humanity.
Raoul Wallenberg's work to save thousands of Jews in Hungary
was to have a direct impact on the Hornung family.
He was driven by...
the finest and most noble of all human drives,
and that is the value of human life.
They created all these safe homes where Jews were put with others,
he gave out these special documents which allowed them free passage,
because basically all these Hungarian Jews now became Swedish citizens.
That was what he in fact did by handing out these documentations
so that the Germans couldn't actually transport them.
By 1944, over 400,000 Jews had been transported from Hungary
to the death camps in Poland.
The ship's passes that Wallenberg issued to thousands of Hungarian Jews
identified the bearers as Swedish citizens awaiting repatriation,
which prevented them from being deported,
sometimes at the very final moment.
He was also seen at the train station
where people were already on transports
and, despite obvious threat to his own life from German officers,
was actually handing out these visas, these documents,
to people on the trains and pulling them off the train.
According to most historians and others,
he probably managed to give out documents
and save close to 100,000 human beings.
Otto's mother Aranka obtained papers from Wallenberg
which meant she could live in a Swedish-owned safe house.
That is the so-called Swedish passport of Wallenberg.
He has signed it and...
It gives the name, the date of birth, and where she was born,
and she signed it in the name of Doctor -
as she was advised it would be more important -
Doctor Aranka Hornung.
Why he is a hero is because he didn't have to do what he did.
He didn't have to be in Hungary in the first place.
He could've easily sat out the war years in Sweden,
but he chose to do what he did, to go to Budapest
at a time when the situation was extremely critical,
for Jewish people mainly, and he did what he did.
So, if you want a real hero, look at Wallenberg.
In Marylebone in London, a statue of Wallenberg
pays tribute to his amazing achievement.
He stands tall on 100,000 ship's passes,
each representing a life saved.
Amongst them, Aranka and Kitty Hornung.
By the time the war had ended,
Otto hadn't seen his sister or mother for six years.
I did all I could to get the family together.
I came to the house of my uncle where she was staying.
She saw me but she didn't recognise me,
so I said, "How are you, Mother?"
and went over and gave her a kiss.
That's how I found her.
Having united his family, Otto went back to Czechoslovakia
and worked as a journalist, but life was tough in his now-Communist homeland,
and he moved to England in the 1960s, where he remained.
Today, Derek is going to see Otto to finalise details
so that he can act on his behalf to claim the money
from his father, Ernst Hornung's insurance policy.
It'll be the first time the two have met.
I'm very excited that I'm actually going to meet Otto in person.
The striking thing about the Hornung family
is the strength of character of all of them.
Sometimes we say a family was very strong and so on,
but basically we may mean the mother or the father
but, in this case, every single family member...
fought, and showed huge strength of character.
This is the thing, Otto, which I find so really inspiring.
You went through all these things during the war,
a huge lot of things during the war.
You faced up to the most amazing situations.
In other words, you survived, and we admire survivors, of course.
And I've dealt with a lot of cases like this, and yours is unique
in the sense that three members of your family have survived.
I deal with lots of cases where only one has survived
because they came on the Kindertransport or something like that,
but for virtually all the family to survive except your father is truly remarkable.
With Otto's mother and sister now deceased,
he is the sole beneficiary.
Until the claim comes back, he won't know how much it is worth,
but Derek's work to unite Otto with his father's assets
has a value far beyond the monetary gain.
I was surprised that this exists
and I was very happy, not because of the money,
but because of the fact that I was given back
a piece of my father's work,
and that is why I appreciate Derek's work so much.
Derek is looking after the little man.
Honesty is returning to this world.
If you would like advice about building a family tree
or making a will, go to...
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