Holocaust Survivor Meets Her Liberator 68 Years Later

At Regency Jewish Heritage, the Premier Kosher Facility in all of New Jersey, we are constantly on the lookout for poignant and inspirational faith based stories. When I say ‘faith based’ I refer to all faiths and denominations because we cater to everyone!

Naomi Nix reporting for the star ledger contributed the following piece today:

Joe Barbella, 93, of Union, and Marsha Kreuzman, 90, embrace for awhile after she brought him a Christmas present to his house on Dec. 23. (Saed Hindash/The Star-Ledger)

Joe Barbella, 93, of Union, and Marsha Kreuzman, 90, embrace for awhile after she brought him a Christmas present to his house on Dec. 23. (Saed Hindash/The Star-Ledger)

LIVINGSTON — It’s been almost 70 years, but Marsha Kreuzman still remembers the moment she laid outside the steps of a Nazi crematorium wishing she could die.

Kreuzman had already lost her mother, father and brother to the Holocaust, and death seemed inevitable, she said.

But then an American soldier picked up her 68-pound body and whisked her to safety.

“I wanted to kiss his hand and thank him,” she said. “From the first day I was liberated, I wanted to thank them, but I didn’t know who to thank.”

Since then, the now-90-year-old Livingston resident has been on a decades-long quest to find American soldiers who liberated the Mauthausen concentration camp, one that didn’t have any success until she met Joe Barbella, two months ago, quite by chance.

Their unlikely meeting — and now a budding friendship — has given Kreuzman a pleasant twist to an otherwise-tragic story about surviving the Holocaust.

That tale begins in Krakow, Poland.

After the Germans invaded Poland in September 1939, Kreuzman and her family were sent to the Krakow ghetto. In 1940, her mother was taken to the Majdanek concentration camp, where she was killed.

Marsha Kreuzman says the rest of the family was then taken to the Plashov, a labor camp just outside of Krakow, built on top of two former Jewish cemeteries.

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