“Everything I have today — all of my children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren — is due to you.”
That’s what 90-year-old Marcel Levy said to Sid Shafner, 94, while they sat together at an Israeli air force base earlier this month. It was the first time they’d seen each other in 20 years, and that reunion was just as emotionally charged as the one before.
These two men share a bond that was forged by unspeakable tragedy and brilliant triumph in 1945 — the year Shafner helped free Levy and 30,000 others from Dachau Concentration Camp.
Back then, Levy and Shafner were 19 and 23, respectively, and they’ve made it a point to stay in each other’s lives after all these years.
Shafner went from Colorado to Israel to be honored for his valiant service at a Holocaust remembrance ceremony, and while he and his family members were there, they knew that the two old friends had to see each other for what could very well be the last time.
Levy leaned in toward his hero as they reconnected over a shared history that’s unfathomable to those of us on the outside.
The survivor was finally able to introduce Shafner to his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren — the family that never would’ve been if the American soldier and his fellow officers hadn’t liberated everyone in Dachau.
“We have so many things to talk about,” Levy said before handing Shafner a book full of pictures taken during the most trying period of their lives. Together, they tried to wrap words around something that language cannot begin to touch.
Watch the entire reunion unfold in the video below.
Reading about the Holocaust in textbooks, although chilling, is never quite as poignant as staring straight into the faces of those whose lives were consumed by one of history’s greatest atrocities. Fortunately for Sid Shafner and Marcel Levy, they were both able to experience everything life had to offer on the other side.