In 2016, WWII veteran Sid Shafner, then 94, was on a memorable eight-day trip through Poland and Israel.
He reunited with Marcel Levy, then 90, in Israel as part of the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces “From Holocaust to Independence” event.
Am Yisrael Chai! As part of FIDF's "From Holocaust to Independence" Delegation to Poland and Israel, FIDF reunited…
“He hugged me and kissed me,” Shafner said, according CBS Denver. “And I hugged him and kissed him.”
To express his heartfelt respect and gratitude, Levy presented Shafner with a plaque that read, “You came like a warrior angel … and carried me into the light.”
“We know because of you, we have Marcel,” one of Levy’s family members said. “Thank you very much. We really appreciate it, and we are very proud of you.”
Shafner was one of the young infantrymen assigned to the 42nd U.S. Infantry Division, which was on its way to Munich, Germany. On the way there, they encountered Dachau, the first concentration camp.
On April 29, 1945, the troop began the liberation of the death camp, freeing around 30,000 prisoners.
Shafner and other U.S. Army soldiers then helped with things such as medical care, or writing letters trying to find relatives of the survivors.
Levy was just 19 at the time of liberation, reported ABC News.
Peter Weintraub, the president of Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, who sponsored Shafner’s Europe trip, told ABC News that Levy believes everything he has in his life, including his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, is due to Shafner.
“We have done this trip several times but never have we reunited survivors and liberators,” Weintraub said.
The touching reunion video shared on ABC News’s Facebook page has garnered over 53,000 comments. Many social media users recounted their haunting experiences of the Holocaust and praised the brave soldiers who liberated the prisoners.
Just a few months after the emotional reunion, the WWII veteran passed away on Dec. 26, 2016.
During his time in the United States Army, Shafner earned two Bronze Stars for bravery.