Discuss as:

Stories of Jewish WWII Red Army vets just coming to light

Oded Balilty / AP

Soviet Jewish World War II veteran Boris Ginsburg poses for a portrait at his house in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod on April 11. Ginsburg, born in Belorussia, was kept by a German garrison in the Lenin ghetto since 1941 until its destruction by partisan units in September 1942. In 1942 he joined the partisans for two years and in 1944 he joined the Red Army as a combat soldier and fought till the end of the war. Ginsubrg demobilized in 1947 and immigrated to Israel in 2001.

By Daniel Estrin, The Associated Press

JERUSALEM -- Once a year, Israel's Jewish war veterans don suit jackets and uniforms dripping in Red Army medals, the shiny bronzes and silvers pinned to their chests in tight rows like armor.

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.

Read the full story.

Oded Balilty / AP

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.

Oded Balilty / AP

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.

Oded Balilty / AP

Shalom Skopes, 88, poses for a portrait at his house in Tel Aviv Israel. Skopes was a battalion commander in the Red Army, and fought in Latvia. During a battle he was injured by a hand grenade and was hospitalized until May 25, 1945. Skopes demobilized in 1947 and immigrated to Israel in 1959.

Oded Balilty / AP

David Rivelsky poses for a portrait at his house in Jerusalem, Israel, April 17. In 1941, he took part in the heroic defense of Leningrad, as part of the Leningrad Front for which in 1943 was awarded with the medal "Defense of Leningrad."

Oded Balilty / AP

Michael Sandler, 93, poses for a portrait at his house in Jerusalem, Israel. Sandler joined the Red Army, in 1939, served in the 3rd Guards Tank Army, 91st Separate Tank Brigade, in Stalingrad, then in Berlin and Prague until the end of the war. Sandler immigrated to Israel in 1991.

Oded Balilty / AP

Semion Tzvang, 89, poses for a portrait at his house in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon. Tzvang joined the Red Army in 1941 and served in the First Ukrainian Front, a Soviet army group. He fought in Kiev, Prague and Berlin. Tzvang immigrated to Israel in 1991.

Oded Balilty / AP

Tchudnovsky Itzhak poses for a portrait at his house in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon. Tchudnovsky joined the Red Army in 1942 and was an artillery commander at the Stalingrad front.

Oded Balilty / AP

Gregory Stinman, 87, poses for a portrait at his house in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod. Stinman joined the Red Army in 1943 and served in the First Belorussian Front, a Soviet formation equivalent to an Army group, until he was wounded on January 23, 1945. Stinman demobilized in 1950 and immigrated to Israel in 1991 from Belorussia.

Oded Balilty / AP

Orlov Naum, 88, poses for a portrait at his house in central Israeli city of Rishon Lezion. Naum joined the Red Army in 1943 after two years of evacuation from Odessa in Kazahstan. He served in 3rd Guard Tank Army at the Voronezh front as an infantry soldier and took part in battle of Kiev and later in battles in Berlin and Prague. During the last days of the war, he was in Prague. After the war, he continued military service in the Navy, served on the cruisers Nahimov and Kuibyshev. He immigrated to Israel from Kishinev in 1990.

Oded Balilty / AP

Matvey Gershman, 90, poses for a portrait at his house in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon. Gershman joined the Red Army's air force in 1941. Later, he was transferred to the 5th Shock Army, and fought mostly in Ukraine, after which he joined the 8th Guard Army and took part in the Battle of Berlin, including the famous battle for the Reichstag. Gershman immigrated to Israel from Gomel, today's Belorussia, in 1990.

Oded Balilty / AP

Aharon Kavishaner poses for a portrait at his house in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon. Kavishaner joined the Red Army in 1942, as an air force mechanic and served in the 4th Ukrainian Front, a Soviet army group. Kavishaner immigrated to Israel in 1991.