Holocaust Survivors Reunite After Randomly Finding Each Other Via Zoom Prayer Service

Written by on October 20, 2020

NEW YORK (AP) — Holocaust survivors Ruth Brandspiegel and Israel “Sasha” Eisenberg name their reunion a miracle that started on the holiest day in Judaism, and it solely occurred because of a prayer service that was held nearly because of the coronavirus pandemic.

A long time in the past their households, who got here from the identical metropolis in Poland, escaped the Nazis, crossed into the Soviet Union and had been despatched to completely different labor camps in Siberia, the place Eisenberg was born. They later met at a displaced individuals camp in Austria, the place they turned shut mates. They final noticed one another there, in 1949, earlier than dropping monitor of one another’s whereabouts.

Greater than 70 years later, Brandspiegel, now a Philadelphia resident, heard a well-recognized title being known as out in a Yom Kippur service held in late September by way of Zoom by her son’s synagogue in East Brunswick, New Jersey.

“I stated to myself, Sasha? I do know there’s numerous Eisenbergs, however Sasha Eisenberg? How might that presumably be?” she stated. So she known as son Larry Brandspiegel, a cantor on the East Brunswick Jewish Middle, and requested him to assist her examine.

“He stated, ‘Oh mother, what are you speaking about?’” she recalled. “I stated … simply have a look.’”

Israel "Sasha" Eisenberg, left, Ruth Brandspiegel, bottom, and her son Larry Brandspiegel, right, tell stories of their time

Israel “Sasha” Eisenberg, left, Ruth Brandspiegel, backside, and her son Larry Brandspiegel, proper, inform tales of their time in a post-World Warfare II displaced individuals camp and rejoice of their latest reunion in East Brunswick, N.J., Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020. 

After some back-and-forth on the cellphone with the Eisenberg household, Larry known as with the excellent news: It was certainly her beloved childhood good friend. She had heard his title through the service as a result of his spouse, Marsha, needed to offer him a shoutout after being married for 53 years.

“I even didn’t know that Regina was in America!” stated Eisenberg, 79, utilizing Brandspiegel’s authentic title which she tailored to Ruth after transferring to America. “It’s 70 years and I used to be a baby. … So I known as it a miracle, as a result of I don’t see some other means that people can arrange such an occasion and make every thing come collectively.” 

Brandspiegel was born in 1936 in Ciechanów. Her household escaped after Hitler’s invasion of Poland in 1939, which marked the onset of World Warfare II. After some weeks in Ukraine, her household was despatched to a labor camp in Siberia and later to the Ural Mountains, “the place it was a bit of hotter.” After the struggle they briefly went again to Poland however left with the assistance of Jewish organizations to the Hallein Displaced Individuals Camp in Austria, in 1946, the place they befriended a household that hailed from their identical hometown.

The Eisenbergs had left Ciechanów within the late 1930s, terrified of the Nazis. They, too, ended up in a Siberian camp and returned to Poland briefly after the struggle. With many kinfolk useless and all their property gone, they then went to Hallein and located themselves in the identical barracks because the Brandspiegels.

“In fact, we had been household already,” stated Brandspiegel, 83.

“Mishpacha,” she added, utilizing the Hebrew phrase for household.

Eisenberg’s father died in a automotive accident in 1948, and he nonetheless remembers how Brandspiegel’s dad, “a pious, spiritual man,” helped him via his grief by reciting with him the Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the useless.

“A factor like this, you don’t neglect,” Eisenberg stated. “So it was very emotional for me. And at the same time as I converse now, I sort of tremble a bit of bit about it.”

The next 12 months his mom determined to take the household to Israel, the place he lived in a kibbutz and served within the army earlier than transferring to Brooklyn in 1964. In the course of the daytime he labored at a sweater manufacturing unit as a ground boy. He improved his English at evening college, and studied structure and civil engineering at Pratt Institute. He and his spouse had two kids: Alissa, a trainer, and Kevin, a lawyer.

In the meantime Brandspiegel’s household had moved to Philadelphia in 1952. She attended highschool and labored as a bookkeeper earlier than marrying in 1957 at age 21. The couple opened a kids’s clothes retailer and had three kids: Flora, Debbie and Larry.

So for years the long-lost mates had been unknowingly residing lower than 60 miles aside. On Oct. 3, they had been lastly reunited.

Holocaust survivors Israel "Sasha" Eisenberg, left, and Ruth Brandspiegel are reunited on Oct. 3, 2020, in East Brunswick, N.

Holocaust survivors Israel “Sasha” Eisenberg, left, and Ruth Brandspiegel are reunited on Oct. 3, 2020, in East Brunswick, N.J. for the primary time in additional than 70 years since their households left the Hallein Displaced Individuals Camp in Austria. 

Brandspiegel’s son hosted a socially distanced gathering at his residence in East Brunswick beneath a sukkah, a short lived shelter used to watch the seven days and nights of the Jewish fall vacation Sukkot.

For hours, they chatted, reminisced and checked out black-and-white photographs from a long time previous. Each households cried joyful tears.

“It’s a disgrace that we weren’t in a position to hug beneath these circumstances,” Brandspiegel stated. “Nevertheless it was one thing that I by no means anticipated, and this was one thing that gave me a lot pleasure that I’m simply crying. … Sasha, Always remember that second.”

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