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May 6, 2015 / 17 Iyar, 5775
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My First V-E Day Without Grandpa

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This year was my first V-E (Victory in Europe) Day without my grandfather. He was the last living veteran in my family. He died last September at 91, an orphan who lost three sisters, a brother and parents to Romanian collaborators. Nothing could ever bring them back and his last thoughts were on his pending reunion with them. He longed for them all his life. We praised his heroism and ability to rebuild a family, but his most common reply was for us to be thankful that we did not experience the war and a tefillah that there should never be another world war.

He lived through extremely difficult times but he never dismissed my personal struggles, in my faith, education, shidduchim and searching for work. He understood that each generation has its tests. His simply had a greater physical challenge to survival.

This V-E Day was to be like all others for me. I visited the remaining veterans, listen to Soviet war hymns, watched the parade on Red Square and read a few heroic stories. I read about the Bielski brothers’ partisan fight in the Belarusian forests, Alexander Pechersky’s successful escape from Sobibor, Ilya Ehrenburg and Vassily Grossman’s reports from the front lines, and the thunderous voice of radio announcer Yuri Levitan who declared the end of the Second World War.

May their memory be a blessing.

About the Author: Sergey Kadinsky is a freelance writer and political consultant residing in Queens. He previously served as assistant editor of The Jewish Star and as a reporter at the New York Post.


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One Response to “My First V-E Day Without Grandpa”

  1. Anonymous says:

    An anonymous letter sent to the Claims Conference’s Frankfurt office in 2001 identified five cases where restitution was approved for ineligible claimants. I have the guts to say they are a much of thieves. I am a child of Holocaust survivors. For years I have yelled and screamed that there has been hanky panky going on while Holocaust survivors were denied their due. How stupid are we not to protest? A lot of people belong in jail. Holocaust survivors are going without food and medicine while the thieves play with their funds. If you agree with me , speak out. I call on all Holocaust survivors and their children and grandchildren to demand retribution now. I am not afraid to speak out. The claims conference in my opinion is corrupt or at least inept. Soon the holocaust survivors will all be dead. How much more money will be stolen. The more voices the public – especially survivors and their children – who raise their voices now demanding resignations, the more likely we can achieve our objectives to reform the organization and seek immediate diversion of the funds for the benefit of the dwindling numbers of ailing survivors.

    Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg

    You speak for our Kedoshim, the martyrs who are no longer with us, as well for the few who are still alive.

    Your words should strike a chord in all our hearts because they come from the heart!

    I distinctly remember the 2001 outrage at the 'Claims Conference' in NY. There was much handwringing and finger pointing. Apparently there was insider involvement – mostly Russians who were administering the disbursement of funds. They created false identities for people, many of whom were born AFTER WWII. These people were paid off and turned the funds over to the crooks. At the time Eva and I wrote letters to the administration, etc. No one even bothered to respond and I do not know if any funds were recovered, or the perpetrators punished The German government left it to the locals here to police themselves… This was sent to me by Holocaust survivors. Both my parents have been long dead and holocaust survivors are dying everyday. I BEG OF YOU. GET THIS MESSAGE OUT TO THE SURVIVORS, THEIR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE. Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg

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