The last living liberator of Auschwitz has passed away. David Dushman, a Russian-born Jew, died in a hospital in his hometown of Munich at the age of 98.
In an interview with Reuters last year, he had to hold back tears when describing the thin prisoners he found. “They were there, all wearing prisoner’s clothes, only eyes, only eyes. Very scary, very scary.”
Before that, he had already fought the Germans in Stalingrad. After Auschwitz, his troops were ordered to continue to Berlin. He was one of the 69 soldiers of the 12,000 tank division that survived World War II.
If he hasn’t reached the end of the war, it’s almost the same. An injury caused him to lose part of his lungs. This did not stop him from becoming a professional fencer. It took a while before he got the condition. “At first I couldn’t even walk because I was out of breath,” he said in the interview. I came up with my own practice. Gradually, very slowly, I reached the point where I became the Russian champion in 1951. “
He later became a fencing coach. While instructing Soviet women’s fencing, he witnessed the Palestinian Liberation Organization taking 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team hostage at the 1972 Munich Olympics. Eleven Israelis and a German policeman were killed.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Dashman headed west. He has been living in Munich since 1996. Russian President Vladimir Putin still congratulates him on May 9th, the day when Russia celebrates its victory over Nazi Germany.