Posted: 4:00 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013
By Rick Couri
It was May 5, 1945, and United States soldiers were freeing the prisoners in the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria.
Marsha Kreuzman had been captive in that hell for nearly six years when the Americans arrived.
Kreuzman had already lost her mother and brother and watched as her father was shot and killed.
She survived but was moved from camp to camp over several years before landing in Mauthausen.
Marsha told CBS News she weighed 68 pounds and was close to death when a young solider scooped her up and took her to safety.
"I wanted to kiss his hand and thank him," Marsha told the New Jersey Star-Ledger. "From the first day I was liberated, I wanted to thank them, but I didn’t know who to thank."
That soldier was Joe Barbella and now, 68 years later Kreuzman has found him again.
Marsha, who is 90, found Joe, who is 93, when she was looking over a 65th wedding anniversary piece in the New Jersey Star-Ledger.
That celebration was for Barbella and his wife and it mentioned he was part of the division that liberated Mauthausen.
Kreuzman called Joe the next day and the two met for the first time since that day on the floor of the crematorium, thousands of miles away.
Marsha now talks to Joe by phone on a regular basis and she even bought him a Christmas present.
"He deserves to be honored," she finished.