Greetings & Welcome!
Wow, what a fiasco! Good reason to make sure your vehicle is always mechanically sound.
I started my van life in a very similar VW van that was the Westfalia camper model, and in much better shape. Mine also had a hand crank to start it with in case the battery was dead. It plugged in right below the back bumper in the center. That was a great fail safe that I never needed, but actually practiced using just in case.
I put almost 200k trouble free miles on that van before it got stolen. An old VW mechanic told me the secret to those, set the valves once then leave them alone, and don’t adjust them as suggested at every oil change. Adjust the points instead. Later I replaced the points with a points eliminator module. It was a very reliable and comfortable home on wheels.
For future reference, you can push start that van, or any vehicle with a manual transmission. Always know your options.
"Be the reason someone smiles today!" ~ Van_Dweller