NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — This Thanksgiving weekend, a Holocaust survivor can offer thanks to the family who helped her hide from the Nazis during World War II.
Holocaust survivor Mary Katz Erlich, of Newton, Massachusetts owes her life to Egle Ruzgys and her brother Aurimas and their deceased mother who hid her during the Holocaust. On Friday, they were reunited at John F. Kennedy Airport.
“They did it from their hearts, they did it from their heart,” Erlich told CBS 2’s John Slattery.
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It’s been nearly 66 years since they’ve seen each other. Mary Katz was 12 years old in 1941, living in Lithuania with her mother, her father and her brother, who was executed.
The Catholic Ruzgys and their mother kept Mary and her parents in their home for 3 years, giving them food to eat and a place to hide.
The reunion was arranged by the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous to provide financial assistance to non-Jews, who risked their lives to rescue Jews during the Holocaust.
“What they did for me, I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you if not for them,” Erlich said.
Erlich says the reunion was a dream come true and she will share Thanksgiving with her childhood friends at the home of her granddaughter in Scarsdale, New York.
“It’s like family coming to celebrate with us,” she said.
Erlich says she wouldn’t have her 3 children or 9 grandchildren without the love and bravery of the Ruzgys and their mother.
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