Carrol Walsh, a retired state judge and WWII veteran who heroically helped liberate Holocaust victims from a Nazi train, passed away Monday from heart failure at the age of 91.
Walsh, who reunited with the survivors of the Nazi train 60 years later, passed away at his home in Sarasota, Florida, according to his daughter, Sharon Salluzzo, reports The Huffington Post.
Walsh and other American soldiers worked together to liberate 2,500 Jewish concentration camp prisoners from a Nasi train during the end of World War II. His story was later posted on a website his friend Matthew Rozell created for a history class at Hudson Falls High School.
The story led to reunions between veterans and the train’s survivors in New York, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Rozell stated:
“He’s the catalyst for everything. He was blessed to have been able to meet with a lot of these people.”
The Herald Tribune notes that Walsh recalled that his detachment of the 743rd Tank Batallion of the 30th Infantry Division came upon a massive number of people in rags standing around a long line of box cars near Magdeburg, Germany in April 1945.
The soldiers, including Carrol Walsh, discovered that the people, Jewish prisoners mostly from Hungary, were being transported between concentration camps. The train’s crew and guards fled when the tanks approached. Walsh and his comrades helped the prisoners survive by providing them with food and alerting US military authorities. Some of the prisoners Walsh helped free were just 5 years old.
About 230 survivors of the Nazi train have come forward so far, in large part because of Walsh’s testimony. He was able to reunite with some of the former Nazi prisoners in 2007 when he held gatherings near his home in upstate New York. Several survivors kept regular contact with Walsh since they reunited. Walsh stated during the interview, which took place in 2001:
“All of these people, men, women, children, jam-packed in those boxcars, I couldn’t believe my eyes. And there they were. So, now they knew they were free, they were liberated. That was a nice, nice thing.”
Carrol Walsh is survived by his wife, Doroth, as well as his two sons and two daughters.