Holocaust survivors from same concentration camp meet for first time

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DENVER, Colo. — Two Holocaust survivors who lived in the same concentration camp recently met for the first time in Denver.

Sarah Moses lives in Cherry Creek. Dirk Van Leenen lives in Mesa, Arizona. During World War II, they were both forced to move to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany.

“I was already sick with typhus, typhoid, tuberculosis and starving. Once I tried to eat a piece of old rag I found when I was still able to walk,” Moses told KDVR.

“It was huge chaos with dead bodies on mountains of dead bodies,” Van Leenen said.

Eunice Kinrade, a student of World War II history, heard a Van Leenen lecture and then learned about Moses’ story through a newspaper article. On Wednesday, she brought the two together.

“There was death all around me, dead and decomposing bodies is what we lived with, lice crawling everywhere,” Moses said.

The two survivors also spoke about being liberated from the Nazis. “The British came in and ran and chased the guards and the military. And sometimes, they overran the prisoners who were walking around,” Van Leenen said.

British soldiers later wrote about their memories too. “The stench of death, disease and human waste would be in their nostrils as long as they live,” Moses said.

Moses spent almost a year at Bergen-Belsen. Van Leenen was there for only 10 hours before the camp was liberated by British soldiers.

“An English soldier put a big bar of chocolate on my bed next to me, the most exquisite flavor I’ve ever tasted,” Moses said.

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