When last they saw each other, cousins Leon Schagrin and Lemel Leo Adler were teens who had just a chance meeting of a few minutes as they were carted off by the Nazis to a concentration camp at Auschwitz. When the moment passed, they were taken to separate parts of the facility and never saw each other again.
Until now. On Sunday afternoon, Mr Schagri, 85, and Mr Adler, 89, met for the first time since their moments together in the Monowitz-Buna sub-camp in Poland seven decades ago. Neither even knew the other had survived the horrors of the Nazi extermination machine.
But by divine hand or twist of fate, the two Polish immigrants, who led separate, successful lives after coming to America, retired less than 20 miles apart in Broward County, Florida.
Together again: Cousins Lemel Leo Adler, left, and Leon Schagrin, right, were reunited after 70 years when Adler read Schagrin's memoir
As they saw each other for the first time in 70 years, the shook hands, then embraced, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported..
'This is the biggest, most important day of my life,' Mr Schagrin said.
The mothers of the two men were sisters in their native Poland.
When the Germans invaded and began rounding up Jews, they were sent to the Tarnow ghetto.
From there, Mr Schargri and Mr Adler were shipped to various labor camps before landing at Auschwitz.
It was there they shared a few precious minutes before the Nazi captors tore them apart and sent them to different sides of the the camp, according to the Sun Sentinel.
Torn apart: Leon Schagrin (age 10 here, far left) lost his family when the Nazis invaded Poland and sent the Jews to labor camps
Free: Leon Schagrin, seen here one month after liberation from Auschwitz, worked in the stables at the camp, caring for German officers' horses
Miraculously they survived the Buna chemical factories, where the life expectancy was just three to four months.
After the war, both men moved to the United States. Mr Schagrin sold plastics to manufacturers. Mr Adler managed restaurants.
Both men searched for surviving relatives throughout their adults lives -- but they never found each other.
Then, last week a friend told Mr Adler about a book called 'The Horse Adjutant' that described many of the places where Mr Adler lived under Nazi rule.
He read the book and found family names that he recognized.
The nonfiction memoir was Mr Schagrin's first-hand account of caring for the horses of Nazi officers.
When Mr Adler checked Mr Schagrin's facts against the Holocaust Documentation and Education Center, based in South Florida, he realized the the book's author was his long-long cousin -- and that he had been living close-by for years, the Sun-Sentinel reported.
He called the author and opened with a simple, earth-shattering announcement: 'I know you!'
Schagrin was stunned.
'You know how it is when nerves are tickling all over your body? I couldn't believe it after 70 years,' he told the newspaper.
Then Sunday, after a remarkable 70 years apart they met at a meeting of the Holocaust Survivors of South Florida dinner.
During the banquet, the pair crowded together in a corner as they swapped 70 years of family stories and person history.
'There's a lot to talk about,' Schagrin said.
Horror: The cousins met for only a few minutes at the horrifying death camp Auschwitz. Neither realized the other had survived until 70 years later
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2114081/Holocaust-cousins-saw-Auschwitz-meet-time-70-years.html#ixzz1p1akNtA5