Posts tagged wwII.


The forgotten Jews of the Red Army 

About 500,000 Jews served in the Soviet Red Army during World War II. Most of those still alive today — about 7,000 — are said to live in Israel.

1) Boris Ginsburg joined partisans for two years and in 1944 he joined the Red Army as a combat soldier and fought till the and of the war.

2) Nahum Matovich, 87, poses for a portrait at his house in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon. Matovich was an air force bomber pilot on Ilyushin Il-4 bomber in the Soviet 18th Air Army and fought in Japan and Korea. He immigrated to Israel from Kishinev, today’s Moldova, in 1994.

3) Yaakov Vilkovich, 90, poses for a portrait at his house in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod. Vilkovich joined the Red Army in 1941, served in the 31st Army’s infantry battalion and fought in the Battle of Berlin in 1945. He immigrated to Israel in 1998.

Title: Baron von der Pshik (Барон фон дер Пшик) Artist: Leonid Utyosov 69 plays

"Baron von der Pshik" ("Барон фон дер Пшик") performed by Leonid Utyosov, 1945
Composed by Sholom Secunda, arranged by Orest Kandat, lyrics by Anatoly Fidrovsky
[download here]

There have been several songs with the tune [of “Bei Mir Bistu Shein”] in the Soviet UnionIn 1943, a Russian-language song for the music was produced with satirical anti-Nazi lyrics titled "Baron Fon Der Pshik" (“Барон фон дер Пшик”) by Anatoli Fidrovsky, music arrangement by Orest Kandat. Initially it was recorded by the jazz orchestra (director Nikolay Minkh) of the Baltic Fleet Theatre; later it was included into the repertoire of Leonid Utyosov's jazz orchestra. [x]

Lyrics in Russian and English:

Барон фон дер Пшик 
Покушать русский шпиг, 
Давно собирался и мечтал. 
Любил он очень шик, 
Стесняться не привык, 
Заранее о подвигах кричал. 

Орал по радио,
Что в Сталинграде он, 
Kак на параде он,
И ест он шпиг. 
Что ест он и пьет,
А шпиг подает 
Под клюквою развесистой мужик! 

Барон фон дер Пшик 
Забыл про русский штык, 
А штык бить баронов не отвык. 
И бравый фон дер Пшик 
Попал на русский штык - 
Не русский, а немецкий вышел шпиг.

Мундир без хлястика, 
Разбита свастика. 
А, ну-ка, влезьте–ка 
На русский штык!
Барон фон дер Пшик, 
Ну где твой прежний шик? 
Остался от барона только пшик! 

Baron von der Pshik
Long planned and dreamed
Of eating Russian bacon.
He loved his style,
Wasn’t used to being shy,
Screamed of his heroism in advance.

Yelled on the radio,
That he’s in Stalingrad,
As if he’s in a parade,
And he’s eating bacon.
That he eats and drinks,
And he’s served bacon,
By a man ender a cranberry tree!

Baron von der Pshik
Forgot about Russian bayonets,
But bayonets remember to hurt Barons.
And brave von der Pshik
Pushed himself onto a Russian bayonet -
And it turned out to be not a Russian, but a German pig.

Uniform without a strap,
A broken swastika.
C’mon, jump
On a Russian bayonet!
Baron von der Pshik,
Well, where is your former style?
All the Baron’s got left is zilch!

A bit of context to understand the translated lyrics (which, by the way, I tried to cobble together with my mom’s help and I welcome corrections!): the song’s repeated mentions of “Russian bacon” are a reference to Germans calling Russians “Russian swine.” A bayonet is a sword that fits over a rifle and turns the gun into a spear. So when the Baron leaps onto a Russian bayonet, “not a Russian, but a German pig” is supposed to mean that the Baron ‘caught’ on the bayonet is a ‘German swine.’

  January 29, 2013 at 06:19pm


Photographer Faye Schulman reunites with three Jewish partisans from Warsaw. Schulman and the three men had thought that each other had been killed. Poland, 1943.


Born in 1925 in Lenin, Poland, Schulman grew up in a small town in what is now Belarus. In 1939, Russia and Germany divided Poland, and Lenin fell under Russian jurisdiction.

Schulman’s brother, a photographer, taught her how to take pictures, process negatives and develop prints. She worked as his assistant. She also knew a little about medicine, as her brother-in-law was a doctor.

When the Nazis invaded in 1941, they forced the town’s 1,800 Jews into a ghetto — except for six “useful Jews.” Among them: a tailor, a carpenter and a photographer.

Schulman was recruited to take pictures for the Nazis (her brother had already fled town). She would snap headshots of Nazi officials and portraits of their mistresses.

One day, she developed a photograph that was clearly a mass grave of Jews who had been killed. Peering closely at the print, she recognized her own family. She hid the negative in a box of photo paper to assure it would remain safe and unseen.

She vowed vengeance and sought justice in the forest with a group of Russians — mostly men and overwhelmingly non-Jews — she’d met up with when they raided Lenin for supplies.

She begged them to take her along. They were doubtful of her worth; what good was a woman? But she promised she could serve as a doctor’s assistant, and they accepted her into the group.

She recovered her photography equipment during a subsequent raid on Lenin.

Schulman hid her Jewish identity. During Passover, she ate only potatoes, never explaining why.

She made sure her fellow partisans remained healthy through the harshness of winter, and tended to their periodic battle wounds.

She made her own stop bath and fixer, and buried bottles of the solutions in holes in the ground, retrieving them when needed.

For two years, she lived in the forest and documented life there. She would make “sun prints” by putting the negative next to photographic paper and holding it toward the sun. She’d then give them to fellow resistance fighters.

“They treasured their pictures and respected me for it,” she said.

She married after the war. She and her husband, Morris, could take very little with them to the displaced persons camp in Germany. Though she had very few belongings after two years in the forest, Schulman possessed many, many photos and negatives. She selected only her favorite prints and negatives to take with her to the DP camp, where she spent three years. She brought those with her to Canada.

In the [“Pictures of Resistance: The Photography of Jewish Partisan Faye Schulman”] exhibit, each photo is paired with a lengthy explanation of the image. The text is in Schulman’s own words, recorded during an interview Braff conducted with her in her Toronto home in 2005.

She also wrote a book chronicling her story. “A Partisan’s Memoir: Woman of the Holocaust” was published in 1995.

“I want people to know there was resistance,” Faye said during that interview, the text of which is displayed with the photo exhibit.

“Jewish people didn’t go like sheep to the slaughter … I was a photographer. I have pictures. I have proof.” (via jweekly)

more on Faye Schulman


a Jewish partisan in eastern Poland (now Belarus), WWII

from the exhibition Pictures of Resistance: The Wartime Photography of Jewish Partisan Faye Schulman, Galicia Jewish Museum

This Jewish partisan actually is Faye Schulman in 1943.

(via gotochelm)

Georgii Zelma, “The First Common Graves,” Stalingrad, 1942

A lonely image of a Soviet cemetery in Stalingrad, one of the many common graves that dotted the war-torn landscape, reminds us of the cost of war. Bedframes mark the edge of this place of death as a makeshift headstone with a Soviet star stands sentinel at the far end of the photograph. (via TIME)

This photograph is part of the Through Soviet Jewish Eyes: Photography, War, and the Holocaust exhibition, based on David Shneer’s book of the same name, on view at the New York Museum of Jewish Heritage until April 7, 2013.

more on the Through Soviet Jewish Eyes exhibition


(via hypocrite-lecteur)

Dmitri Baltermants, “Grief,” Kerch, Crimea, January 1942 

One of the earliest Holocaust liberation photographs, Grief was originally a news photograph that circulated widely in the Soviet press throughout 1942. At the time it was taken, the photographer, Dmitrii Baltermants, was documenting Nazi atrocities for a traumatized Soviet population. Soviet wire services sent the image around the world, but few news outlets picked it up, fearing that the photograph was Soviet propaganda. The image re-appeared in the 1960s, when the Soviet Union began remembering World War II, or the Great Patriotic War as it was known there, as the great triumph of Communism. (via TIME)

This photograph is part of the Through Soviet Jewish Eyes: Photography, War, and the Holocaust exhibition, based on David Shneer’s book of the same name, on view at the New York Museum of Jewish Heritage until April 7, 2013.

more on the Through Soviet Jewish Eyes exhibition

(via gotochelm)

Dmitri Baltermants, “Behind Enemy Lines,” 1941

A formation of Soviet cavalrymen is in fact of partisan units, risking their lives by riding out in the open. Baltermants’ photograph edifies the partisans, who played an important role in undermining the German occupation of parts of the Soviet Union. During and after the war, partisans were heralded as the bravest fighters against Nazi fighters, and the only ones living under German occupation untainted by the possibility of collaboration. (via TIME)

This photograph is part of the Through Soviet Jewish Eyes: Photography, War, and the Holocaust exhibition, based on David Shneer’s book of the same name, on view at the New York Museum of Jewish Heritage until April 7, 2013.

  December 25, 2012 at 12:22pm via TIME


Evgenii Khaldei, Budapest Ghetto, 1945

A part of the Through Soviet Jewish Eyes: Photography, War, and the Holocaust exhibition at the CU Art Museum, based on David Shneer’s book of the same name.

Most view the relationship of Jews to the Soviet Union through the lens of repression and silence. Focusing on an elite group of two dozen Soviet-Jewish photographers, including Arkady Shaykhet, Alexander Grinberg, Mark Markov-Grinberg, Evgenii Khaldei, Dmitrii Baltermants, and Max Alpert, Through Soviet Jewish Eyes presents a different picture. These artists participated in a social project they believed in and with which they were emotionally and intellectually invested—they were charged by the Stalinist state to tell the visual story of the unprecedented horror we now call the Holocaust. 

These wartime photographers were the first liberators to bear witness with cameras to Nazi atrocities, three years before Americans arrived at Buchenwald and Dachau.

Through Soviet Jewish Eyes helps us understand why so many Jews flocked to Soviet photography; what their lives and work looked like during the rise of Stalinism, during and then after the war; and why Jews were the ones charged with documenting the Soviet experiment and then its near destruction at the hands of the Nazis.

Reblogging because the curated exhibition Through Soviet Eyes: Photography, War, and the Holocaust is coming to New York!

Professor David Shneer will be attending the exhibition’s opening at the New York Museum of Jewish Heritage on November 15, 6-8pm (event info). Register by November 7.

The critically acclaimed exhibition will run from November 16, 2012 - April 7, 2013.


Soviet soldier carrying the head of a statue of Hitler, Berlin 1945. Photograph by Soviet war photographer Yevgeny Khaldei.

more Yevgeny/Evgenii Khaldei

(via thesoviette)

'Silent Holocaust' finds its voice: Wartime documents tell story of lost Soviet community


The documents are expected to help researchers measure the scope of persecution and extermination of Jews in the former Soviet Union.

More than a million new testimonial pages about Jews in the Soviet Union will be released by Yad Vashem, starting next week, in the wake of agreements with the KGB archives and the national archives of Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. The documents, which include personal papers belonging to World War II survivors from these states, are expected to help researchers measure the scope of persecution and extermination of Jews in the former Soviet Union.

“There are many black holes concerning communities and individuals in Central and Eastern Europe, where the majority of Jews lived,” says Dr. Haim Gertner, head of the archives division of the Yad Vashem World Center for Holocaust Research, Documentation and Education. “It has been very difficult for us to copy records from this region; it includes entire villages that were wiped out by the Nazis in one day, and nobody was left to narrate what happened.” Read more.

"The Holocaust of Jews in the former Soviet Union was never written about as a phenomenon of genocide. They (the Soviets ) claimed that Soviet Jews were murdered as Soviet citizens, not as Jews," says Zeltser, adding that the process of breaking the silence "will be a very long one."

(via marxistswithattitude)

  April 15, 2012 at 09:20am via haaretz