Local media personality Scott Murray emceed the V-E Day event at the Museum, which featured holocaust survivors and liberators never before interviewed together.
“Thank you – you gave me 67 more years of my life,” said 88 year old Jack Repp, referring to the American soldiers who freed him from a concentration death camp in May, 1945.
Repp was just 21 years old and weighed only 69 pounds when liberated, spending four months recovering in a hospital. From a family of seven, he and his sister were the only ones to survive the Holocaust. He eventually moved to the U.S. and settled in Dallas in 1950 to work for an uncle.
“Patton and Eisenhower are my angels,” he said, referring to visits of the camps by the generals. “I remember those gold bars on their shoulders. I went back to the camp after being released from the hospital just to look for the gold bars.”
General Eisenhower, along with members of Congress and journalists, visited the newly liberated camps so that they could bring the horrible truth about Nazi atrocities to the American public.
“I’ll never forget the cruelty there and the awful stench of deteriorating bodies that permeated the air. We can never let it happen again,” said Melvin Waters, 87, a volunteer for the American Field Services attached to the British 21st Army Group where he was an ambulance driver. When the British liberated Bergen-Belson, Waters helped evacuate the women’s section of the camp for 9-10 days.
Margaret Hopkovitz was a prisoner at Bergen-Belsen when the camp was liberated on April 15, 1945. She met liberator Melvin Waters at the Holocaust Museum event and was able to give her thanks and appreciation in person. “I wonder how I survived the camp,” she said. “I am so grateful for our soldiers today.”
“This event provides Holocaust survivors and liberators the opportunity to share the stage together for the first time,” said Laura Leppert, president of Daughters of World War II.
“We want their memories to be kept alive.”