BDE: Alan Moskin, WWII Veteran Who Liberated Concentration Camp
Mr. Alan Moskin, an attorney from Nanuet, a WWII veteran, and Holocaust educator has passed away in recent days. He was 96 years of age, and spent the last decades of his life educating future generations on the Holocaust, sharing the horrors of what he witnessed when he came to liberate a concentration camp in Austria.
Moskin was born in Englewood, New Jersey on May 30, 1926. He was drafted into the military service at the age of 18 and served in the United States Army during World War II from September 1944 until August 1946. He was a member of the 66th infantry, 71st Division, part of General George Patton's 3rd Army.
In the course of his combat duty, he—a young 19-year-old—was made aware of the Gunskirchen Concentration Camp, a sub-camp of the death camp Mauthausen. “I remember my buddies and I looked at each other,” Moskin told TIME Magazine. “We knew Hitler wasn’t fond of Jews, but we hadn’t heard anything about any concentration camps.”
The group of soldiers made their way through the woods to find the camp, and cut through the barbed wire. They could not have been prepared for the sight they would see.
“I bottled it up for fifty years,” he would later relate, after experiencing such traumatic sights.
Eventually Alan did begin to talk about his experiences, and it became his life’s calling. He would meet with groups of youngsters and speak with them about the Holocaust.
A statement from the Holocaust Museum & Center for Tolerance and Education in Suffern read: “Alan was a WWII Veteran, Concentration Camp Liberator, and eternal pursuer of justice. Though Alan was nearing his 97th birthday in May, we are shocked and saddened by his death. Alan was a larger-than-life hero who touched the lives of so many, but also a close friend with whom we shared so many happy memories.
“As an educator who spoke to thousands of students across the globe, Alan shared the horrors of the Holocaust with the aim of making sure it never happens again. He was a witness, and by relating his testimony, he shared the responsibility of remembering with so many of us. For his trust and faith in us to carry on his moral courage, we remain steadfast and humbled.”
Dr. Julie Golding, curator at the museum, worked alongside Mr. Moskin at the Holocaust Center, and recalled Alan’s dedication to his work. “Mr. Moskin was committed to telling young audiences about the horrors and atrocities that he witnessed firsthand and teach them about tolerance for all people. He was a member of the speaker’s bureau at HMCTE and I recall his fiery passion and enthusiasm when giving testimony to our students,” she told Rockland Daily.
With his passing, a great voice of Holocaust remembrance in Rockland County has been silenced.
Yehi zichro baruch.
Photo credit: Holocaust Museum & Center for Tolerance and Education