They arrived in Auschwitz on same day in 1944 and after 72 years, two Jewish Holocaust survivors who were tattooed 10 prisoner numbers apart, met for the first time at the Last Eyewitness Project.
The Last Eyewitness Project is a regular gathering of Holocaust survivors, which aims to preserve the tales of the Jewish people’s horrifying ordeals with the Nazi and how they bravely escaped the most inhumane episode of history so as to live for the present and future generations to know their stories.
Werner Reich and Walter Spier, were tattooed A1828 and A1838, respectively, as young prisoners at a Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz, Poland during World War II. Both are of the same age and were at the same concentration camps, but never met.
Only until June of 2017 when Spier’s son, Arnie, read an article by independent documentary journalist Sandy Bachom, in which Reich was featured and he noticed a familiar tattoo on Reich’s arm – similar to his father, the Auschwitz prisoner number.
When Walter Spier learned about this, he asked his son to arrange a meeting with Reich and later the two Holocaust survivors met for the first time through the help of Bachom.
In a talk with Bachom, Reich and Spier, now both 89 years old, detailed their separate horrible experiences in the three concentration camps of Auschwitz, including the death march.
Teary eyed, they recalled how they were separated from their families as young teens after arriving at the camps and realizing that they could no longer see them again facing the brutality and inhumane acts of the Nazi soldiers.
In the celebration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day and the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Aushwitz-Birkenau concentration camp this month, Reich and Spier together with their families and friends remember this episode of their life and recognize the lessons it left for the coming generations to learn and accept.
Reich and Spier is just two of the many survivors of the Holocaust that tell their stories today through the Last Eyewitness Project.