North Bellmore vet recounts horror, heroism of liberation

North Bellmore's Morris Sunshine saw both the horrors and the heroism of humanity as a 19-year-old Army sergeant in Nazi Germany. Sunshine was a member

Morris Sunshine says freedom is thanks enough for his World War II service.

Morris Sunshine says freedom is thanks enough for his World War II service. (5/6/15)

NORTH BELLMORE - North Bellmore's Morris Sunshine saw both the horrors and the heroism of humanity as a 19-year-old Army sergeant in Nazi Germany.

Sunshine was a member of the 249th Combat Engineer Battalion when he liberated Nordhausen, a concentration camp, on April 12, 1945.

"You can't believe that man could be so cruel to man," says Sunshine of his experience.

"They had gates with big locks and we had the equipment to cut those things open. And we did. We opened up all the gates."

Sunshine and his comrades encountered a scene that haunts him to this day - starving prisoners clinging to life amid the worst abuse imaginable. There was no question about what to do next. Sunshine began attempting to feed hundreds of starving prisoners.

"The unjustness of this calamity. It was so big that anything I could do to help these people I would do," says Sunshine.

To those who were rescued, the GIs were nothing short of saviors when they opened the gates.  Smithtown’s Warner Reich was just 64 pounds when he was liberated from Mauthausen as a 17-year-old.  For him, words will never be enough to thank his liberators.

"They offered us life.  And I don't know if the words 'thank you' is really appropriate," says Reich.

Now 90 years old, Sunshine says giving the gift of freedom is reward enough for his service.

"I know what I did I was very happy to do. And especially what I saw I will never forget it."

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Top 5 Must See

On Monday, there were 11 phoned-in bomb threats 1 FBI probes threats targeting Jewish Community Centers
The Homeland Security Department released memos outlining plans 2 White House expands deportation priority; DACA remains in place
Charles Bottitta, who lives on Hawkins Road, says 3 Brookhaven Highway Dept. accused of targeted harassment
Vote set for tonight on whether or not 4 Long Beach to vote on allowing alcohol sales at boardwalk concessions
According to police, two BMWs collided along Salisbury 5 Police: 1 person dead, 1 injured in Westbury crash

advertisement | advertise on News 12

More News

About 6 million women like Sophie Sarro bolstered Huntington Station woman was a real-life Rosie the Riveter

At 5 feet tall and a diminutive 100 pounds, Sophie Sarro became a real-life Rosie

Drafted in 1943, David Marshall was one of Baldwin vet recounts Battle of the Bulge

For 90-year-old David Marshall, it's just another day pumping iron at Synergy Fitness Club in

Sorry to interrupt...

Your first 5 are free

Access to News12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service Electric℠ video customers.

Please enjoy 5 complimentary views to articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.

LOGIN SUBSCRIBE