A Holocaust survivor has been reunited with the World War II Army veteran who freed him from the Dachau concentration camp 71 years ago.
Sid Shafner is the 94-year-old World Ward II veteran who was part of the heroic military effort that liberated over 30,000 Holocaust survivors from the German concentration camp back in 1945. Marcel Levy was only 19 years old when Shafner’s Army unit liberated him and thousands of other prisoners from the Dachau concentration camp.
Levy is now 90 years old and he was reunited with Shafner last week in Israel while Shafner was on a week-long trip through Israel and Poland, honoring his work in liberating prisoners from the concentration camps during WWII. Shafner is now a retired U.S. Army corporal who lives in a senior living facility in Denver, Colorado.
Although Shafner is now confined to a wheelchair, he and Levy shared a tearful hug as Levy described what Shafner’s help meant to him, his life and his family. Levy told Shafner that everything he has in life is because Shafner helped liberate him over 70 years ago. Levy also presented Shafner with a plaque, honoring his work in freeing concentration camp prisoners during WWII.
According to Shafner, his military convoy was stopped by Levy while they were en route to another destination. Levy spoke to him in Yiddish, asking him and his unit to divert to help them. Shafner’s unit agreed and ended up liberating Levy and his fellow prisoners from Dachau.
Almost 200,000 people were imprisoned at Dachau between 1933 and 1945. It is estimated that around 30,000 people died in the Dachau prison camp between 1940 and 1945. United States military units liberated Dachau prisoners on April 29, 1945. Unfortunately, Marcel Levy was the only person in his family to survive the horrors of the Nazi Holocaust.
Shafner’s Army unit was one of the first groups of military troops to arrive at Dachau in 1945. After the liberation, Levy stayed on as a cook and dishwasher with Shafner’s military unit and the two became friends. Although the two stayed in touch through letters and email, it has been many decades since they last met in person. The last time the two friends saw each other face-to-face was back in 1995. Levy’s children, grandchildren and friends attended the reunion with Shafner as well.
The emotional reunion between Shafner and Levy happened on May 10th, 2016 at an Israeli military base and was arranged by the organization “Friends of the Israel Defense Forces.” The FIDF is a nonprofit group that was founded in 1981 and is based in New York City, NY.