Holocaust survivors reunited decades later after finding each other on same Zoom call
Two Holocaust survivors have been reunited after finding each other on the same Zoom call during the pandemic.
"In 1946, we ended up in Austria. In Austria, there were camps there, displaced persons camps,” says Ruth Brandspiegel.
Brandspiegel recounts her journey from a town in Poland where her family escaped Adolf Hitler’s invasion in 1939 – to a labor camp in Siberia – to the displaced persons camp in Austria. It was there that she befriended Israel “Sasha” Eisenberg.
"Everybody got one room and we were living in barracks. So, my parents and I were in one room. The barracks had maybe six rooms. And the Eisenbergs had the room right across from us,” Brandspiegel says.
The Eisenberg family hailed from the same town as Brandspiegel in Poland. But with many relatives dead and all their property gone, they found themselves in Austria.
Eisenberg eventually made it to America and settled in Brooklyn. Brandspiegel also came to America and settled in Philadelphia – two long-lost friends unknowingly living less than 60 miles apart for decades.
The two eventually found each other when they attended the same Yom Kippur Zoom service from a synagogue in East Brunswick.
"So, I was listening to the rabbi and all of sudden, Sasha Eisenberg has the next Aliyah. I said to myself Sasha, I know there's a lot of Eisenbergs, but Sasha Eisenberg, how can that possibly be?” Brandspiegel says.
"...it's 70 years and I was a child and it was very fluid. So, I called it a miracle because I don't see any other way that humans can organize such an event,” says Eisenberg.
And after over 70 years, the distance was now reduced to only 6 feet. The friends were not able to hug because of the pandemic, but they sat and talked for hours in person at a small gathering in East Brunswick.