Harry Ettlinger and Alan Moskin were among the veterans honored at the 19th annual Spirit of Anne Frank awards in honor of the “Helpers, Heroes and Liberators” of World War II. They were honored on June 15 at ESPACE in Manhattan.
Harry Ettlinger of Rockaway Township was part of the famous Monuments Men and Alan Moskin of Englewood helped liberate a concentration camp.
Mr. Ettlinger, who was born in Germany, was no stranger to Hitler and the National Socialist Party. His family’s business was boycotted under the Nazi regime and closed in 1935. A day after his bar mitzvah in 1938, Mr. Ettlinger and his parents fled Germany and settled in Newark. Six years later, he was drafted and returned to Europe as an infantryman. Fluent in German, he was later assigned to work as an interpreter at the Nuremberg trials. He also volunteered as a translator for the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives Program, a group of about 350 who made it their mission to rescue treasured artworks from the frontlines and return them to their rightful owners.
Mr. Moskin, born in Englewood in 1926, was 18 when he joined the 66th infantry, 71st Division, part of General George Patton’s 3rd Army. In basic training, he was often shocked by the anti-Semitism and racism of his fellow soldiers, but nothing prepared him for what he saw in Austria when he helped liberate Gunskirchen concentration camp, a sub-camp of Mauthausen. After his return, he did not speak about the war for more than 50 years. Then he felt the need to tell his story in response to Holocaust deniers. He now speaks regularly to groups about what he saw.
The Spirit of Anne Frank Awards is held annually on or near Anne Frank’s birthday, when awards are given to students, teachers, and citizens who have proven to be exceptional leaders in combating the sort of intolerance, prejudice, and injustice that Anne Frank and so many others faced.
Other awardees this year included members of the Tuskegee Airmen; Erwin Pearl, and Robert Edsel, author of “Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History,” and the founder and chairman of the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art.