It was a remarkable reunion, and one that was thankfully caught on camera. A brave World War II veteran from Colorado met with a Holocaust survivor he set free from a Nazi concentration camp.
Sid Shafner is 94 years old, and he has returned to the United States after an eight day trip to Israel and Poland. There was a Holocaust remembrance ceremony to honor his efforts as a young soldier in helping in the rescue and liberation of about 30,000 prisoners from Dachau Concentration Camp in southern Germany in 1945. Marcel Levy was only 19 years old at the time – today, he celebrates his 90th birthday.
Peter Weintraub is president of Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, who sponsored this trip. He spoke to ABC News and explained:
“Sid tells the story that his convoy was stopped by a Jew named Marcel. Marcel tells him in Yiddish that ‘You have to leave your route and divert to help us,’ which he did.”
According to Weintraub, there was an instant bond established between Shafner and Levy as they became close friends. This reunion, however, was the first one in nearly two decades. On May 10th the cameras were rolling, capturing their face-to-face reunion at an Israeli military base. It shows the moment when the two reached one another. Shafner and Levy warmly embraced one another with hugs, kisses, and tears. It was an emotional moment, as family and friends observed.
Weintraub said that Levy told Shafner, “Everything I have today, all of my children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, is due to you, Sid.”
Of course, Sid was crying tears of joy. Weintraub has facilitated this kind of trip many times before, but this is the first one that brought together survivors and liberators. Friends of the IDF sponsored this trip as part of its “From Holocaust to Independence” delegation to Poland and Israel.
Retired U.S. Veteran Sid Shafner and Dachau Survivor Marcel Levy meet again as part of the FIDF “From Holocaust to Independence” delegation to Poland and Israel.