Second World War veterans who served and fought in that era’s Red Army took to the streets of Haifa Friday, May 10, together with hundreds of family members and other supporters to celebrate the defeat of Nazi Germany 74 years ago. Victory Day is marked in Russia on May 9, where it is one of the country’s most important holidays, commemorating the Soviet Army’s victory over the Nazi Wehrmacht and paying tribute to the many millions of Soviet solders and civilians who perished during the war.
On Saturday, May 11, as with Victory Day every year, the Communist Party of Israel (CPI) celebrated Nazi Germany’s surrender to the Soviet Union. Communists and Hadash activists commemorated Victory Day in the Red Army Forest near Jerusalem.
The Soviet veterans paraded down the streets of Haifa in northern Israeli wearing military uniforms bedecked with medals, with many marchers carrying flowers and signs with slogans in Hebrew and Russian. Participants waved the flags of Russia, the Soviet Union, other former Soviet states and Israel.
Haifa mayor Einat Kalisch Rotem addressed the marchers and wrote a statement supporting them on her Facebook page. “Seventy-four years have passed since the day in the spring of 1945 when you, our dear veterans, restored to the world the freedom and hope that had been taken and trampled by the Nazi monster. Seventy-four times, year after year, the world tells you ‘thank you,’ by that is still not enough,” she wrote.
About 500,000 Jews fought in the Red Army, according to Yad Vashem. Some of those who fought in the Soviet military served in its highest levels of command. About 200,000 Soviet Jewish soldiers died on the battlefield or after having been taken prisoner by the Germans.