When Holocaust survivors Ruth Brandspiegel and Israel “Sasha” Eisenberg went their seperate ways, they never thought they would meet again. However, fate had something else in mind. Now, 71 years later, the two have finally managed to come together in a beautiful reunion…
Two Holocaust Survivors
During World War II, young children Regina “Ruth” Brandspiegel and Israel “Sasha” Eisenberg’s families went through similar experiences. Both from Poland, the children managed to escape the Nazis, first fleeing to Siberia, before ending up at a displaced persons’ camp in Austria together in 1946. There, the two bonded and became good friends. Thankfully, the two survived to live happy lives, with Brandspiegel and Eisenberg going their separate ways in 1949. Sadly, the two friends have not seen each other since then. That is, until recently…
Some 71 years, Brandspiegel found herself attending an online Yom Kippur in the era of coronavirus. In fact, her son, who runs a synagogue, led the service! During the service, the older woman heard a very special name called out by one of the other online attendees: Sasha Eisenberg. “I said to myself, Sasha? I know there’s a lot of Eisenbergs, but Sasha Eisenberg? How could that possibly be?” Brandspiegel recalled. Of course, she wanted to be sure. So she asked her son, Larry Brandspiegel, to uncover the truth.
In a matter of days, Larry managed to deliver an answer to his mother. As it turned out, Ruth’s guess turned out true – a long lost friend had been nearby for many years! “I even didn’t know that Regina was in America!” said Eisenberg, now 79-years-old. “It’s 70 years and I was a child. … So, I called it a miracle, because I don’t see any other way that humans can organize such an event and make everything come together.”
A Reunion 71 Years In The Making
As you might imagine, when both young children found themselves in a displaced person camp, they immediately bonded. “Of course, we were family already,” said Ruth, now 83-years-old. “Mishpacha,” she continued, the Hebrew word for family. Incredibly, while the two went their separate ways, after World War II, life brought them back together. In fact, for decades, the two lived within 60 miles of each other without ever knowing it. Now that they’ve managed to re-connect, though, the two Holocaust survivors plan on wasting no more time.
First, the pair talked in an online call. On that call, Ruth’s son, Larry, who set everything up, also joined. However, the biggest moment came just a week ago, when the two friends finally reunited at Larry’s house in New Jersey. Following all social distancing rules, they met and talked for hours in a sukkah for the Jewish holiday Sukkot. Over those hours, Ruth and Eisenberg shared many unforgetful memories, crying and laughing in equal measures. They cannot wait to continue the practice in the future.
“It’s a shame that we weren’t able to hug under these circumstances,” Ruth Brandspiegel said. “But it was something that I never expected, and this was something that gave me so much pleasure that I’m just crying. … Sasha, Never forget that moment.”