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Jewish liberator of Nazi camp, wife of 78 years die hours apart

Daughter of Muriel and David Cohen, an American WWII veteran, says the couple chose not to be separated after her mom tested positive for virus: ‘They were always together’

Illustrative: The entrance of the SS concentration camp at Ohrdruf in Thuringia, Germany on April 8, 1945, in which yet more damming proof of atrocities committed by Hitler’s SS was uncovered when units of the fourth armoured division of General Patton’s Third US army overran the district and liberated those inmates who were still alive. (AP Photo)
Illustrative: The entrance of the SS concentration camp at Ohrdruf in Thuringia, Germany on April 8, 1945, in which yet more damming proof of atrocities committed by Hitler’s SS was uncovered when units of the fourth armoured division of General Patton’s Third US army overran the district and liberated those inmates who were still alive. (AP Photo)

LONGMEADOW, Massachusetts — A World War II veteran and his wife of nearly eight decades who had tested positive for COVID-19 died together on the same day.

David and Muriel Cohen died within hours of each other at a Longmeadow nursing home on April 10.

Muriel, 97, had tested positive for the virus and David, 102, had been sick but his test results came back negative.

The couple decided to remain together even as the Jewish Nursing Home tried to transfer residents who were infected to a separate unit.

Fran Grosnick, their daughter, gave the nursing home permission to let her parents stay together.

“The only time they’d ever been separated was when my father served in World War II, and when my sister and I were born,” she told The Boston Globe. “Otherwise they were always together.”

David Cohen served as a radio operator in the Army during World War II. He was also a liberator at the Ohrdruf concentration camp in Germany. Photos he took during the liberation are displayed at the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington DC.

When he returned to the US after fulfilling his service, David became a history teacher in Queens, New York, where he and Muriel raised their two daughters.

The couple moved to Longmeadow after retirement to be closer to their children and grandchildren.

Grosnick said the last time she saw her parents in person was on March 12, when the facility halted visiting hours.

“They did not suffer, and they were together,” she said. “I take comfort in that.”

About 93 residents and 43 staff members at the Jewish Nursing Home have tested positive for the coronavirus as of last week. Of those positive cases, 21 residents have died.

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