Joshua Kaufman: Holocaust Survivor Honored at SOTU

Joshua Kaufman

Joshua Kaufman

Joshua Kaufman is a Holocaust survivor who was honored by President Donald Trump at the 2019 State of the Union address. According to, he once said of his liberation by U.S. soldiers, “Through a little hole in the wall I saw American soldiers coming with their tanks and I saw the German running away. To me the American soldiers were a proof that God exists and they were sent down from the sky.”

“A second Holocaust survivor who is here tonight, Joshua Kaufman, was a prisoner at Dachau Concentration Camp,” Trump’s SOTU transcript says. “He remembers watching through a hole in the wall of a cattle car as American soldiers rolled in with tanks. ‘To me,’ Joshua recalls, ‘the American soldiers were proof that God exists, and they came down from the sky.'”

Holocaust survivor testifies against Ausschwitz Guard in GermanyThe Holocaust survivor Joshua Kaufman (88) returns to Germany to testify against former Auschwitz guard Reinhold Hanning (94). JETZT BILD REPORTER ABONNIEREN:

Trump continued, “I began this evening by honoring three soldiers who fought on D-Day in the Second World War. One of them was Herman Zeitchik. But there is more to Herman’s story. A year after he stormed the beaches of Normandy, Herman was one of those American soldiers who helped liberate Dachau. He was one of the Americans who helped rescue Joshua from that hell on earth. Almost 75 years later, Herman and Joshua are both together in the gallery tonight — seated side-by-side, here in the home of American freedom. Herman and Joshua: your presence this evening honors and uplifts our entire Nation.”

Herman Zeitchick and Joshua Kaufman sat side-by-side, and they received a standing ovation. Kaufman saluted.

The D-Day heroes also received a standing ovation. Here’s that moment:

Here’s what you need to know about Joshua Kaufman:

Joshua Kaufman Lives in Los Angeles & Has Tried to Live a Joyful Life

In 2016, when he was 88, the Auschwitz survivor went to Germany to testify at the trial of a former Nazi SS guard.

ABC reported that Kaufman lives in Los Angeles, California. He wanted to testify “how he removed bodies from gas chambers at the World War II death camp after victims had been killed with Zyklon B,” according to the television network.

When Joshua Kaufman was first reunited with one of his U.S. soldier rescuers, a man named Daniel Gillespie, he fell to his feet and said, “I have wanted to do this for 70 years. I love you, I love you so much…”

“In all the years, he saluted. He’s kissed hands. But he never kept his dream of actually kissing feet of veteran,” his daughter Rachel Kaufman said to CBS Local.

Holocaust survivor meets US Veteran after 70 yearsLOS ANGELES, Cali. (WKRC) — A Holocaust survivor reunited with an American veteran who helped liberate him from the horror of a Nazi concentration camp 70 years ago. Joshua Kaufman was just a teenager during World War II, but he was a teenager who had seen and survived more than most of us can imagine. He was only 15 when he was forced into a Nazi concentration camp, but now Joshua Kaufman is ready to celebrate his 87th birthday next month beside his four adult daughters and their children. He credits it all to the US troops who freed him, when he says he was just days from dying ‚“You cannot imagine,‚ said Kaufman. ‚“Skin and bones, and I saw them in front of me‚ they [the troops] are my God.‚ ‚“I promised one day when I come to America, any American soldier‚ I will fall down on my knees, and I will hug him and I will kiss him,‚ Kaufman said. Kaufman did just that when he saw Daniel Gillespie, a US Army veteran, who helped liberate Kaufman and other Jews, from a Nazi death camp in 1945. The German History Channel arranged the reunion in Orange County and captured Kaufman kissing Gillespie's feet. It's a picture seen around the around world now. Kaufman‚„s daughter, Rachael, said that he's always wanted to show that level of respect to the soldiers who saved him. ‚“In all the years, he saluted, he shook hands, but he never kept his dream of actually kissing feet of veteran,‚ said Rachel Kaufman Together, Kaufman and Gillespie are a living reminder of what we can never let happen again. World leaders are gathering at Auschwitz on Tuesday to mark the liberation of the concentration camp. Follow us on Twitter @Local12 and LIKE us on Facebook for updates!2015-01-30T18:18:46.000Z

Daily Mail reports that Kaufman was a “walking corpse” when he was liberated. According to, Kaufman’s mother and siblings died in the Holocaust.

According to, despite the horrors Joshua Kaufman faced, he has somehow maintained the ability to feel and express joy. The site describes him as “a joyful, charismatic and loving man.”

The site describes the horrific circumstances that Kaufman survived at age 15 when he and his family were sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau, and he was separated from them. “Only days later, when he noticed the strange smoke coming from the other side of camp, did he learn the full extent of the evil of his environment,” the site reports. He also was confined at Dachau.

The Liberators – Why We Fought (Reunion Scene)„DIE BEFREIER” (THE LIBERATORS – WHY WE FOUGHT), 1 hour documentary / produced by HISTORY (Germany) / 2015 marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Dachau concentration camp in April 1945. Reunion scene between Holocaust survivor Joshua Kaufman (87) and Dachau camp Liberator Daniel Gillespie (89). Joshua Kaufman‘s biggest wish after he survived the war was to meet an American veteran who was part of the liberating forces who freed the concentration camps. Joshua Kaufman‘s biggest wish after he survived the war was to meet an American veteran who was part of the liberating forces who freed the concentration camps. On December 20th 2014 in Huntington Beach California, where Daniel Gillespie lives, Joshua Kaufman was finally able to express his gratitude and love.2015-04-29T09:07:06.000Z

“You cannot understand what it was like. You can hear my stories, you can try to feel it, but you can never understand,” Kaufman told the journalist, adding, “Be happy every day. Go, enjoy life with your husband, have Jewish kids, and make sure they are connected to Israel.”

Kaufman moved to Israel initially after the war, where he became a soldier, according to, which added that he later moved to America, married, had children, and worked as a plumber.

“I came out of hell into the light,” said Kaufman, according to