By Stephen E. Lipken
For the first time in 72 years, Holocaust survivor Nandor Katz, 91, Mount Kisco met Alan Moskin, Nanuet, also 91, the man that helped liberate him from Gunskirchen Lager, a sub camp of Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria on May 4, 1945 at a program, “A Meeting of a Lifetime,” held at Mount Kisco Hebrew Congregation (MKHC) on Friday, August 11th.
The event was presented by Westchester Jewish Community Services (WJCS) counselor Halina Rosenkranz in cooperation with Tracey Bilski and Sheilah Kesatie from MKHC.
An estimated 100 citizens witnessed the reunion along with Mt. Kisco Mayor Michael Cindrich and Westchester County Legislator Francis Corcoran, who presented Proclamations from Mt. Kisco, County Executive Rob Astorino and Board of Legislators to Katz and Moskin.
“Part of my job at WJCS is to run a monthly support group of survivors,” Rosenkranz noted.
“Mr. Katz’s Temple [MKHC]…wanted to give him a 90th birthday party. Because they don’t speak Yiddish… they had difficulty finding out anything about his past. One of the WJCS social workers suggested calling him…
“Actually, Katz reached out to me about German restitution and that’s when he told me that he was liberated from Gunskirchen. I said, ‘I know a Gunskirchen liberator whom I brought to our Holocaust Education Program from the Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center (HHREC) Speakers Bureau…’ I contacted Alan…”
Nandor was born in Czechoslovakia on December 30, 1925. His youngest brother and oldest sister perished in Auschwitz along with his parents, one sister’s husband and four-year-old son.
Katz was deported from Budapest to Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria. In early 1945 he and two surviving brothers were marched to Gunskirchen.
Born in Englewood, NJ on May 30, 1926, Alan was drafted at the age of 18 in September 1944 and served as a Staff Sergeant in the 66th Infantry, 71st Division, part of General George S. Patton’s 3rd Army.
Entering Gunskirchen, Moskin encountered “an offensive, nauseating stench…We found piles of skeleton-like bodies with no flesh…Those poor souls still alive were so emaciated, their arms were like broomsticks. Their cheeks were sunken, eyes hollow, sores all over their bodies with lice crawling all over them…”
As Nandor lit six Yartzheit (memorial) candles, Bilski remarked, “We must bear witness…to forget is to kill them again…”