Marsha Kreuzman, a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor who narrowly escaped death at an Austrian concentration camp, has spent the majority of her life searching for the American soldier who saved her. Nearly seven decades later, she has finally met him, the Star-Ledger reports.
Kreuzman, who lost her mother, father and brother in the Holocaust, remembered a man picking up her emaciated body and liberating her — but beyond that, she had no further details about his identity.
“I wanted to kiss his hand and thank him,” Kreuzman told the Star-Ledger. “From the first day I was liberated, I wanted to thank them, but I didn’t know who to thank.”
After settling in New Jersey, Kreuzman began searching for her liberator. She did whatever she could, including writing letters to men she found in phone books who may have been a part of the Army division that freed the Mauthausen concentration camp. But it wasn’t until this past October when she finally stumbled upon the clue she needed: a wedding anniversary announcement for Joe and Anne Barbella.
“A veteran of World War II, Joseph served in the 11th Armored Division which liberated the Mauthausen concentration camp,” the announcement explained.
After reading the announcement, Kreuzman got in touch with the Barbellas — who also happen to live in New Jersey — and went to meet them. They became fast friends, and last week, Kreuzman even brought Barbella a Christmas gift, saying he “deserves to be honored.”
Kreuzman, who spent time in five concentration camps, has occasionally shared her story with the public. Thankfully, this latest plot point provides a rare, pleasant twist to an otherwise tragic tale.