Sometimes history repeats itself in the ugliest of ways.
“Right now, ISIS is killing Christians, nobody cares,” laments Don Greenbaum. “During the Holocaust, seven million Jewish people were slaughtered because of their religion. A million children, two million women, three million men and nobody cared -- the world went on.”
He’s seen this, before.
Eight days after graduating from high school, Greenbaum was in the Army and was in the units that came in right behind D-Day in June of 1944.
“We landed at Utah Beach, we realized then, training was over. We saw the body bags, we saw the ambulances, we saw the wounded coming in and we realized then, the fun was over, we really were going to be in combat and we were for 236 continuous days.”
Greenbaum was a forward operator.
“My job was to locate the enemy and radio back to the artillery their location, hopefully to wipe them out,” he says.
Near the end of his nine months of continuous fighting, on April 29, 1945, Greenbaum’s unit came upon the Dachau concentration camp outside of Munich.
“As we got there, the guards threw their arms down and they ran. Those who got mixed in with the survivors were recognized and killed by the inmates,” Greenbaum recalls.
One of those inmates was Ernie Gross, though he was too weak to attack his former tormentors.
“I was standing in line to go into the crematorium - I already saw the building - and instead of being scared, I was actually happy that in a half an hour, my life would be over, I won't be tired, I won't be hungry,” Gross said. “My legs could hardly carry my body.”
Despite that, he never gave up.
“Every day, when I got up, I said whatever they give me, I'm going to try to deal with it, because I want to know what's going to be tomorrow. The people who gave up hope, those are the ones who perished, first,” remembers Gross.
Gross made his way to Philadelphia after the war with little money and no ability to speak English. That happened to be where Greenbaum lived. Neither knew that until decades later.
See how they discovered each other – and what they now do with that life experience – in this edition of the Buckley Report.