Holocaust survivors Ruth Brandspiegel (84) and Israel “Sasha” Eisenberg (79) call their reunion a miracle. Decades ago their families, who came from the same city in Poland, escaped the Nazis, crossed into the Soviet Union and were sent to different labor camps in Siberia, where Sasha was born.
They later met at a displaced persons camp in Austria, where they became close friends. They last saw each other there, in 1949.
71 years later, Ruth, now a Philadelphia resident, heard a familiar name being called out in a Yom Kippur service via Zoom by her son's synagogue in East Brunswick, New Jersey.
“I said to myself, Sasha? I know there’s a lot of Eisenbergs, but Sasha Eisenberg? How could that possibly be?” So she called son Larry, a cantor at the East Brunswick Jewish Center, and asked him to help her check.
After some back-and-forth on the phone with the Eisenberg family, Larry called with the good news: It was indeed her beloved childhood friend.
So for years, the long-lost friends were unknowingly living less than 60 miles apart. On Oct. 3, they were reunited via video call.
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