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The Jews of the Red Army

Veterans live in Israel, struggle with poverty

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Soviet Jewish Veteran Shalom Skopes. (Oded Balilty/AP.)

Today award-winning Vox Tablet contributor Daniel Estrin has an impressive and tough story from Jerusalem about the Jewish veterans of the Red Army.

About 1.5 million Jews fought in Allied armies, including 500,000 in the Red Army, 550,000 in the American army, 100,000 in the Polish army and 30,000 in the British army, according to Israel’s Holocaust museum Yad Vashem.

Some of those who fought in the Red Army served in the highest levels of command. About 200,000 Soviet Jewish soldiers fell on the battlefield or into German captivity. Those who survived built families and careers in the Soviet Union, until the Communist regime collapsed and many of them ended up in Israel.

They formed a veterans’ association, opening 50 chapters across the country. Today, most of them are nearly 90 years old, but they gather regularly for lectures and concerts. Some sing in the 42 veterans’ choirs nationwide.

According to Estrin, many of the elderly veterans who outlasted both World War II and the fall of the Soviet Union are now dealing with financial troubles and live in poverty. There also seems to be a greater historical disconnect between the veterans’ experiences of fighting the Nazis and liberating death camps with an Israeli public that’s only just beginning to learn about their contributions.

It’s a great read.


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ralphie44 says:

all jews are red army jews

    Null says:

    Ah, the anti-Semites. We’re all Communists, except when we’re greedy capitalists.

      ralphie44 says:

      Your capitalism and communism are two sides of the same coin.
      I like the Palestinians, so anti-semite is not the correct term.
      Antijewish is more accurate. Tired of your media pissing down my back and telling me its raining is how I got there.

        Yes, capitalism and communism are two sides in the fact that they are different from each other in every way.

          ralphie44 says:

          What everyone calls capitalism (which is jewish capitalism) and communism are two sides of the same coin.

        Ariram says:

        Anti-semtism means ONLY hatred to Jews. Remember the Great Mufti of Jerusalem who was a guest of Hitler in Berlin and even helped recruit Muslims from Bosnia to the SS.
        Irnorance is the last refuge of the scound….

    Jeshurun says:

    an anti-Semite spouting hatred on a Jewish website. Did your mummy not give you enough attention, you f-wit?

Ura, to all those who were in the Great Patriotic War. May 9th is just around the corner, so it is time to celebrate the defeat of the fascist bandits.

Ura, to all those who were in the Great Patriotic War. May 9th is just around the corner, so it is time to celebrate the defeat of the fascist bandits.

Ura, to all those who were in the Great Patriotic War. May 9th is just around the corner, so it is time to celebrate the defeat of the fascist bandits.

Wolf Krakowski says:

Forgotten, too, is the Wanda Wasilewska Brigade, comprised of exiled/refugee Jews of Polish nationality who, when the war was raging, were granted permission to create their own fighting force on Russian soil. They were commanded by General Rokossovskij of the Red Army, the “Russian Eisenhower.” My late father, Leon (Leybush) Krakowski, O”H, a tailor from Lodz, had received basic training in Poland, so he was given the rank of =plutovny= (between a sargeant and lieutenant) and told to “go fight to free Poland.” The WWB participated in the rout of the German army, pushing them all the way to the western border.

lenny46 says:

In the early 1970’s I decided to spend a year in Israel, on a kibbutz. Another young volunteer as named Yvette. I had made arrangements to go to another kibbutz, and a day after I got there, she showed up as well. We were friends. At one point, her parents came from Canada to visit, and I met them. Her father told me he had been a full colonel in the Red Army. During the discussion, he told me he had been in the cavalry. At the end of the war, he was called to a secret meeting. It turned out that the Russian Army had no more use for these men. (I believe they were Poles). The Army started to execute these men. But this officer was on horseback, and rode off into the woods. He said he kept running till he got to Canada, where he would live on.

A few years ago, some of this information became known to the rest of the world, after the fall of the Soviet Union. I really don’t know what started this massacre, but I suspected that in his case, it was because they were Jews.


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The Jews of the Red Army

Veterans live in Israel, struggle with poverty

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