web analytics
August 4, 2015 / 19 Av, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


The Reunion

Joseph Rosenfeld, the survivor, (on the left) with Alan Moskin, the Jewish War Veteran.

Joseph Rosenfeld, the survivor, (on the left) with Alan Moskin, the Jewish War Veteran.

The date May 4th, 1945 will forever be etched in their memories, and now it will be forever etched in ours. That fateful day toward the end of World War II was the day that American soldiers liberated Gunskirchen Lager, a subcamp of the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria. This past March 13, my sisters and I were privileged to attend a “reunion of sorts” between our father Joseph Rosenfeld, an 82 year old Gunskirchen survivor, and Alan Moskin, an 87 year old Jewish World War II Veteran who took part in the liberation of Gunskirchen.

Joseph Rosenfeld, 15 years old at the time of his liberation, met up with Alan Moskin, 68 years after the event, in a little bagel store in Rockland County, New York. It was an emotional meeting for all who attended, as we listened in awe to the events they recounted as teenagers from different sides of a world that had been turned upside down.

Joseph Rosenfeld, the former inmate of Gunskirchen, came to the U.S. after WWII and was promptly inducted into the U.S. Army during the Korean War. After recently sending a donation to the Jewish War Veterans Association, the Rosenfelds received a copy of their annual calendar. Attached to the November listing was a profile on Mr. Alan Moskin, veteran of WWII, born and raised in Englewood, New Jersey. The article related the story of Mr. Moskin’s participation in the liberation of Gunskirchen as a soldier in the 71st Division of the American Army. Mr. Rosenfeld, as most of the inmates of Gunskirchen, was at death’s door on that fateful day. Typhus, lice, skin ulcers and devastating starvation had affected all of them. They had suffered through torture and death marches, as the Nazis tried to cover their tracks before the Americans moved in. And most of the events of that day remained a blur to him. When Mr. Rosenfeld saw the profile of Mr. Moskin, he strongly desired to meet his liberator and express gratitude.

After contacting the Jewish War Veterans, a chain of events was set into motion that led to their ultimate reunion. The two hit it off immediately and spoke of being at two different ends of the same event. Mr. Moskin, then age 18, relayed the horror of what he had experienced. He said that American soldiers were completely taken by surprise, not having a hint of the existence of these camps, nor the conditions of their inmates. To this day, he said, he was haunted by the overwhelming stench and misery of the barely recognizable people he saw in the camps. He spoke of being approached and kissed by living skeletons covered with lice and sores. He recalled, that despite the fact that he didn’t know a word of German or Yiddish, the words “Ich been a Yid” spontaneously escaped his lips in solidarity with his suffering brethren. For 50 years, Mr. Moskin said that he could not speak of his experiences and suffered with symptoms that he now recognizes were most likely due to post traumatic stress disorder.

Joseph Rosenfeld, his wife and four of his five daughters, Alan Moskin and his wife.

Joseph Rosenfeld, his wife and four of his five daughters, Alan Moskin and his wife.

Mr. Rosenfeld, in turn related to Mr. Moskin the miraculous series of events through which he and his entire immediate family had survived the war. A mere teenager of 13, when war came to his native Hungary, Joseph, his four brothers and parents were en route to the infamous Auschwitz death camp when a bridge leading to the camps was bombed by Polish partisans. Unable to send their prisoners to Auschwitz the Germans rerouted the Rosenfeld family to labor camps. Two older brothers Zelig and Marty were sent to the front to dig ditches for the German defensive line. Joseph, Moshe, and Abraham, along with their parents were sent to Vienna to clear rubble and body parts strewn on the streets. Later he and part of his family were forced to march 200 kilometers in the dead of winter from Vienna to Mauthausen without food, water, or proper clothes and footwear. Mr. Rosenfeld told Mr. Moskin how he had left the line in desperation to pick up a snail on the side of the road to eat. A German guard observing the scene shot the fifteen-year-old boy in the wrist. Due to the ingenuity of his mother who found some rags and wrapped the hand in garlic for lack of a better antiseptic, Joseph was able to live to see the Liberation and receive proper medical attention. As the Germans prepared for their final extermination, the two older brothers were ultimately sent to Mauthausen as well. Through word of mouth, Joseph and his mother located the brothers who were shells of their former selves and on the verge of death. They were nursed back to health with smuggled sugar cubes that their mother had sewn into hidden pockets in the hems of Joseph’s tattered pants.

Later, over bagels and cream cheese, Mr. Rosenfeld shared stories of happier times, of his experiences in the U.S., and of his pride in his children’s and grandchildren’s accomplishments. Betty and Joseph Rosenfeld, now reside in Brooklyn, New York, and have five daughters, 19 grandchildren and four great grandchildren. Mr. Rosenfeld thanked Mr. Moskin for playing a part in salvaging a whole new generation of successful and productive Jewish people. They agreed that there was indeed truth to the Jewish saying that “he who saves a single soul, is as if he saved the whole world.”

After they talked and traded stories of the war and their families, Mr. Moskin kept reiterating, “If someone had told me 68 years ago that I’d be sitting in a restaurant in New York across from one of those survivors, I would have said they were crazy.”

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

2 Responses to “The Reunion”

  1. Michael Rosenfeld says:

    Great article !

  2. Michael Rosenfeld says:

    Great article !

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Tourist injured by Muslim mob on Temple Mount on August 4, 2015
Arabs Beat Up Tourist on Temple Mount [video]
Latest Sections Stories
South-Florida-logo

An impressive group of counselors and staff members are providing the boys and girls with a summer of fun and Torah learning and a lifetime of wonderful memories.

South-Florida-logo

Rabbi Sam Intrator recently led a summer program in Williams Island, located in Aventura. The event focused on how to find spiritual joy in Judaism. The rabbi cited biblical and Talmudic teachings, ancient Temple rituals, and the words of prayers to establish the role that love and positive thinking have in Torah values. Rabbi Intrator […]

South-Florida-logo

The Iranian deal was sealed on July 14, four and a half months after Netanyahu’s visit. The details of the agreement were shocking and worse than anyone had imagined.

There are so many toys available for newborn to age 5, but how do you choose?

In 1939, with life getting harder for Jews, she and several friends decided it was time to make aliyah, and applied at the Palestina Amt for permits.

I am not sure how many of you readers have had this experience, but I did and it truly tested the limits of my sanity!

Aside from my own 485-page tome on the subject, Red Army, I think Jamie Glazov did an excellent job at framing things in United in Hate: The Left’s Romance with Tyranny and Terror.

We studied his seforim together, we listened to famous cantorial masters and we spoke of his illustrious yichus, his pedigree, dating back to the famous commentator, Rashi.

Jews who were considered, but not ultimately selected, include Woody Allen, Saul Bellow, David Ben-Gurion, Marc Chagall, Anne Frank, and Barbra Streisand.

More Articles from Dr. Sheri Rosenfeld-Grunseid and Lisa Rosenfeld
Joseph Rosenfeld, the survivor, (on the left) with Alan Moskin, the Jewish War Veteran.

The date May 4th, 1945 will forever be etched in their memories, and now it will be forever etched in ours. That fateful day toward the end of World War II was the day that American soldiers liberated Gunskirchen Lager, a subcamp of the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/potpourri/the-reunion/2013/04/18/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: