By Melissa Garcia

DENVER, Colo. (CBS4) – A World War II veteran who lives in Denver flew to Europe to reunite with a prisoner that he saved from a Nazi death camp 71 years ago.

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Sid Shafner, 94, traveled to Israel for a 10-day trip of a lifetime. CBS4’s Melissa Garcia interviewed Shafner upon his return to Denver.

Sid Shafner is interviewed by CBS4's Melissa Garcia (credit: CBS)

Sid Shafner is interviewed by CBS4’s Melissa Garcia (credit: CBS)

Shafner, a retired U.S. Army corporal, is one of three concentration camp liberators flown to Europe by the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces. A videographer with the nonprofit organization captured Shafner’s tearful reunion with Marcel Levy.

Levy was 17 years old when Shafner and his troop helped him escape from the Dachau death camp in Germany. Shafner described the moments when the two men reunited at an Israeli Air Force base.

Sid Shafner arriving in Germany (credit: CBS)

Sid Shafner arriving back in Denver after his trip (credit: CBS)

“He hugged me and kissed me,” said Shafner, as his eyes welled up with tears. “And I hugged him and kissed him.”

The liberation on that day in 1945 freed an estimated 30,000 prisoners from unspeakable torture.

During Shafner’s trip he visited other concentration camps that he said were difficult to see.

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The group made stops in Poland, visiting Auschwitz and a graveyard where hundreds of innocent children were shot and buried on the spot.

Sid Shafner and Marcel Levy (credit: Shahar Azran/FIDF)

Sid Shafner and Marcel Levy (credit: Shahar Azran/FIDF)

(credit: Ron Bavarsky/FIDF)

(credit: Ron Bavarsky/FIDF)

Sid Shafner and Marcel Levy (credit: CBS)

Sid Shafner and Marcel Levy (credit: CBS)

“I’ve had children myself,” said Shafner. “This affected me.”

While the trip had its painful points, Shafner said that it was also filled with joy in seeing his old friend, Marcel Levy. At the time of Levy’s rescue from Dachau, he was the only member of his family who survived the Holocaust. For that reason Shafner invited Levy to join him as the troop’s dishwasher — and Levy took him up on the offer.

“He was good at washing the dishes, I’ll tell you that,” said Shafner of Levy at the reunion.

Sid Shafner (credit: CBS)

Sid Shafner (credit: CBS)

Levy presented Shafner with a plaque that read, “You came like a warrior angel … and carried me into the light.”

Levy’s next of kin said they were forever grateful to Shafner for saving Levy.

“We know (that) because of you, we have Marcel,” said one family member. “Thank you very much. We really appreciate it, and we are very proud of you.”

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Melissa Garcia has been reporting for CBS4 News since March 2014. Find her bio here, follow her on Twitter @MelissaGarciaTV, or send your story idea to mkgarcia@cbs.com.