Daniel Gillespie Reunited With Joshua Kaufman, Holocaust Survivor He Liberated

23/01/2015 16:58 | Updated 26 January 2015

A holocaust survivor has been reunited with the American who liberated his concentration camp in an emotional exchange - 70 years after they last saw each other.

Joshua Kaufman saluted Daniel Gillespie before kissing his hand and falling to the ground, saying: "I have wanted to do this for 70 years. I love you, I love you so much."

Gillespie, now 89, was part of the 42nd Rainbow Division which liberated Dachau concentration camp on April 29, 1945. Kaufman, 87, was a "living corpse" at the time, but now the two meet in much happier circumstances.

daniel gillespie joshua kaufman

Kaufman, left, salutes Gillespie as they meet for the first time in 70 years

When Gillespie and his comrades marched on Dachau, the prisoners were unsure if they were liberators or Nazi death squads sent to eliminate the camp. Kaufman, a Hungarian Jew, was found cowering in the latrines with fellow captives by the American soldier.

"We were confined to barracks by the guards. This meant most of us were marked for death," Kaufman said.

"Then I saw the white flag flying from the watchtower and I realised then that the torture was at an end. When the Americans smashed in the door, my heart did somersaults."

holocaust

"I came out of hell into the light. For that, and to him, I am eternally grateful."

The two parted ways in Germany, never expecting to meet again. Neither of the pair knew they lived only an hour's drive from each other when a documentary crew from the History Channel approached them.

The footage of their dramatic encounter will be screened in 'Dachau Concentration Camp - The Hour Of The Liberators' on the History Channel on 31 May.

  • Joshua Kaufman salutes Daniel Gillespie
    Dirk Heuer, HISTORY Germany
  • "I have everything in my life because of him."
    Dirk Heuer, HISTORY Germany
  • "I have wanted to do this for 70 years. I love you, I love you so much."
    Dirk Heuer, HISTORY Germany
  • Joshua Kaufman as a young man
    Dirk Heuer, HISTORY Germany
  • Joshua Kaufman, present day
    Dirk Heuer, HISTORY Germany
  • Daniel Gillespie as a young man
    Dirk Heuer, HISTORY Germany
  • Daniel Gillespie, present day
    Dirk Heuer, HISTORY Germany

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