Sixty-one years ago, Joanna Zalucka hid a young Jewish girl in her bedroom for eight months, saving the child from the Nazi killing spree in their native Poland.
The girl survived, was reunited with her parents, and moved to Brooklyn in 1953.
On Friday, Ruth Gruener - now 72 with two grown sons - was reunited with her old friend from Poland, finally returning a lifesaving favor by hosting her World War II benefactor for two weeks.
"It is just so wonderful that no words can describe how I feel," said Gruener, who was sobbing as she and Zalucka hugged in an emotional encounter before reporters, camera crews and photographers. Although the two have corresponded over the decades, they hadn't seen one another since 1944.