A World War II veteran from Colorado was reunited with a Holocaust survivor whom he set free from a concentration camp seven decades ago — and the emotional moment was captured on camera.
Sid Shafner, 94, is back in the U.S. after a stirring eight-day trip to Israel and Poland last week. He was honored at a Holocaust remembrance ceremony for his hand, as a young troop, in helping to liberate some 30,000 prisoners from the Dachau Concentration Camp in southern Germany in 1945.
One of those prisoners was 19-year-old Marcel Levy, now 90.
“Sid tells the story that his convoy was stopped by a Jew named Marcel,” Peter Weintraub, president of Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, who sponsored the trip, told ABC News. “Marcel tells him in Yiddish that ‘You have to leave your route and divert to help us,’ which he did.”
Shafner and Levy established an instant bond and became good friends, Weintraub said. They were reunited for the first time in two decades earlier this month.
A video of their face-to-face reunion on May 10 at an Israeli military base shows the moment when the two came together. In the video, Shafner and Levy embrace each other with hugs, kisses and tears, as family and friends look on.
“Everything I have today, all of my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, is due to you, Sid,” Levy told Shafner, according to Weintraub.
“Sid is crying tears of joy,” Weintraub added. “We have done this trip several times but never have we reunited survivors and liberators.”
The trip was sponsored by Friends of the IDF as part of its “From Holocaust to Independence” delegation to Poland and Israel.