Liberating a Train of Holocaust Survivors

Stand for Israel  |  July 31, 2023

Those of us who stand for Israel also vow to “Never Forget” the lessons learned during the Jewish people’s darkest hour. And one way to remember the 6 million Jews murdered during the Holocaust—and the many who survived—is through the documented photo video archives left behind. Ynet News’ Itamar Eichner tells us about some newly found footage from the U.S. National Archives that shows a scene of survival and hope at war’s end:

Seventy-eight years after the 30th Division of the U.S. Army saved 2,500 Jews from the so-called Nazi death train which was transporting them from Bergen-Belsen concentration camp to Theresienstadt, moving never-before-seen footage taken by U.S. Army soldiers on the day of the train’s liberation on April 13, 1945, was discovered.

The Germans on the train were ordered to blow up the train over the Elbe River if they could not deliver it to Theresienstadt concentration camp, killing all 2,500 Jewish passengers from Bergen-Belsen. After six days of travel starting on April 7, 1945, the train was halted on April 13, 1945, near the town of Farsleben, Germany, close to Magdeburg and was unable to move due to the bombing by the Allies in the area.

Around 4 pm, an American reconnaissance jeep accompanied by a U.S. Army tank arrived from the hill. They were American soldiers from the 30th Division of the U.S. Army. The American soldiers found the train guarded by Nazi sentinels. The train’s engine was running and ready to move. Suddenly, the Nazi soldiers noticed the American tanks and fled, leaving behind 2,500 Jews, a third of whom were children who thought they were being taken to their deaths…

The liberation of the train was documented in many still photos, but never in video. The clip was found in the U.S. National Archives during work on a documentary about the train rescue mission initiated by Matthew Rozell, a New York-based history teacher who has been researching the event and interviewing American veterans who were among the train rescuers since 2001. He enlisted director Mike Edwards to create the film, and during the work, the poignant footage was discovered…