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Seventy years ago, Allied forces began to liberate Nazi concentration camps, including the infamous death camp at Dachau, throughout 1945.

To mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camps, documentary filmmaker Emanuel Rotstein reunited Holocaust survivor Joshua Kaufman and U.S. Army veteran Daniel Gillespie for Rotstein’s upcoming film “Liberators of Dachau.” The two men unknowingly live about an hour apart from one another in southern California. But, they had not seen each other since April 29, 1945 when Gillespie pulled Kaufman from a hiding space at Dachau and helped lead him to safety. 

Since that day, Kaufman promised himself that should he ever meet Gillespie again, he would hug him and kiss his feet. When Rotstein brought Gillespie and Kaufman back together, that’s exactly what the Holocaust survivor did.

I have wanted to do this for 70 years. I love you, I love you so much. – Kaufman to Gillespie during their meeting

Before gaining his freedom, Kaufman’s three sisters and mother died while imprisoned at the Auschwitz concentration camp. After liberation, Kaufman went to the newly-created nation of Israel and joined the Israeli army. After fighting in the Israeli military, he moved to the United States, got married, and had a family. After WWII, Gillespie returned to California, married, and had eight children. Rotstein’s documentary on their reunion will air on the HISTORY channel later this year.


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Kaufman as a young teenager before his imprisonment.

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Kaufman in December, 2014.

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Gillespie as a young Army soldier.

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Gillespie in December, 2014.