Many decades after World War II, many Holocaust survivors are still looking for their missing families, relatives, and friends.
But there are also those who have been blessed to meet each other again, even though what ties them are painful memories.
There was no time to forge an intimate friendship between the two of them while imprisoned in the same Nazi concentration camp, but George Berci and Frank Shatz finally had a chance to have a real talk during a recent reunion in Los Angeles after almost 80 years since their escape.
“We escaped almost the same day from the slave labor camp, and we found ourselves in Budapest, and we both joined the anti-Nazi underground,” said Shatz. “We were in the same place, did the same job, so most probably our paths passed a few times.”
Shatz, now 96 years old, is a writer who recently published about his being a slave laborer in the Carpathian Mountains constructing a railroad for Hitler’s army. He managed to escape during an aerial bombardment and later joined the anti-Nazi underground in Budapest.
Just like Shatz, who is a native of Hungary, Dr. Berci was captured and imprisoned by the Nazis in 1944. He worked in the same labor camp but was able to escape due to the Allied attack that distracted the prison guards. Berci then joined the Hungarian underground in Budapest in its courageous stand against the Nazis.
Berci is now 101 years old, a successful surgeon who still reports for duty at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
Shatz came across Berci’s story from the surgeon’s profile in the Los Angeles Times, which opened the opportunity for the two Holocaust survivors to meet.
“We are very fortunate that we remember these historical sites, these historical events,” said Berci.
“It’s so elevating, because it shows that you can go through hell and still come out from it,” said Shatz.
The heartwarming event was arranged by the American Jewish Congress, who had flown Shatz from his home in Virginia to Los Angeles for the reunion. Check out the video below.Whizzco