Forgotten Jewish fighters

first_img A young soldier rushes into battle in this postcard reading “For Home. For the Motherland. For Freedom!” Artist M.A. Andreev Klara Grigorievna Rinkina is 91 years old and lives near Boston. She is 5 feet tall, with silver hair and a pleasant, round face. Rinkina is also a war hero, having served as a Red Army medic during what Russians still call the Great Patriotic War. On special occasions she wears a sweater pinned from neck to waist with medals.One of those special occasions came this month, during an exhibit opening at Pusey Library. Rinkina and five fellow veterans were there — all Jews, whose presence in the Red Army is a little-known story.The Soviet Union gathered a fighting force of 20 million men and women during 1941-45, the largest army fielded during World War II. About 500,000 of the soldiers were Jewish; of these, a third died in combat.In 2005, the Blavatnik Family Foundation determined to redress the neglected story of Soviet Jewish fighters. One result is the exhibit running at the Pusey through Nov. 26: “Lives of the Great Patriotic War,” a multimedia glimpse at surviving Jewish veterans, along with a vivid recounting of the war’s wider context. At the heart of the project are personal stories.The exhibit includes illustrated mini-histories of decisive military actions alongside intimate wartime ephemera — photographs from thousands of drawers and scrapbooks; postcards, millions of which were sent from the front; and battered letters folded into triangles. There would be more letters, one soldier wrote, but war got in the way. “It’s Hitler’s fault.”Making the traveling exhibit possible is an oral history project of the Blavatnik Archive Foundation. Since 2006, said project coordinator Julie Reines Chervinsky, the project has captured on high-definition video the stories of more than 1,100 Jewish veterans from 11 countries.“It’s my hope that this exhibit will shed light on an often-overlooked moment in Russian Jewish history,” archive founder Leonard Blavatnik, M.B.A. ’89, wrote in an email. “Half a million Jewish soldiers, many highly decorated, fought for the Soviet Army against fascism in WWII. It’s our responsibility to never forget the generation that came before us and to extend our eternal gratitude to those who fought so valiantly and sacrificed so much for the betterment of mankind.”The Blavatnik project includes archived interviews with 14 Jewish Red Army veterans in the Boston area, including Rinkina. Video excerpts from all 14 — and from many others — are part of the Pusey exhibit. This postcard shows the Soviet bombardment of oil refineries in Ploesti (Romania). Postcard by V.P. Belkin. Images courtesy of the Blavatnik Archive Foundation Cadet Avraham Levin (third row from bottom, on left) pictured with compatriots in Brest, Belarus in 1940. Holocaust studies have gone a long way in documenting the fate of Jews during the war, but “this part of the history had not been captured,” said Chervinsky, who conducted about 100 of the interviews. Veterans talked about their lives before the war, she said; about their first encounters with the war; and sometimes about postwar humiliations, when Jews were stung and thwarted by explicitly anti-Semitic Soviet propaganda.“We didn’t interview the heroes or the generals,” said Chervinsky, “just the people in the trenches.”The war began for the Soviets on June 22, 1941, the day of the German invasion. Most Soviet Jews had given up outward professions of their faith decades before, and they were full citizens of Stalin’s universe. By the time of the invasion, many inhabited areas to the west that were hit hardest by the invasion, including Lithuania, Belarus, and parts of Ukraine.Veterans in the Blavatnik interviews recalled the burst of patriotism in those dark early days of the war. “Immediately,” said 93-year-old Boston-area veteran Fishel Gershovich Sakhin, “I and many others volunteered to serve in the army. We wanted to be sent to the front.”By the end of the war, 300 Jews had risen to the rank of general or admiral; 160,000 medals and orders were awarded — making Jews the fourth-largest Soviet “nationality” cited for courage.There was patriotism, but many Jewish veterans recorded a second major motivation: revenge, especially as the war shifted against the Germans, moved west, and revealed death camps.For Rinkina, the impulse to revenge came earlier: in 1941, when she discovered German invaders had killed her parents — the first of 49 family members to die at the hands of Nazis. “I want to go to the front,” Rinkina told a recruiter that summer, recounting her story through a translator at the exhibit. “I want to revenge my parents.”At 17, she had already escaped the barbed-wire-bound Jewish ghetto in her native Minsk, where pogroms were common. She had already joined a band of partisan fighters in a Belarus forest. And she had already nearly died, of pneumonia, before she was airlifted to Gorky, and then to Omsk in Siberia.“Look at you — you’re a pretty little girl,” the recruiter told her. He sent Rinkina to nurse’s training. She served from January 1942 until the end of the war, most often in combat theaters: Gomel, the winter Orsha offensives of 1943, Brest, Lodz, Prague, Warsaw, Krakow, and finally Berlin, where she was part of the famed 1st Belorussian Front attack group.Rinkina was at the Elbe River on April 25, 1945, when the Soviet and U.S. armies came together. “Very handsome, nice guys,” she said of the Americans, who traded watches for vodka.She showed photographs from a small scrapbook. In one, Rinkina leans against the flank of a stone lion in front of the bullet-pocked Reichstag.The victory was ecstatic; the war was years of hell. “It was a horrible experience,” said the old veteran’s daughter, Natalia Rinkina. “She never wants it to happen again.” Her mother still has nightmares, she added.The context of those nightmares was provided in a discussion before the exhibit opening, hosted by Provost Alan M. Garber. The panel was moderated by Board of Overseers member Tracy Palandjian ’93, M.B.A. ’97, and included Graham Allison, Douglas Dillon Professor of Government, and two-time ambassador R. Nicholas Burns, the Sultan of Oman Professor of International Relations.In his introductory remarks, Peter L. Thoren, executive vice president of Blavatnik’s Access Industries, considered the history of U.S.-Russia relations. During the Cold War in the 1970s, the two nations were “partners in a fleeting détente,” said Thoren. After the fall of the Soviet Union, he said, the relationship was “improved but fitful.”The high point of that friendlier era, said Allison, started in 1991 with the “huge collaboration” between two uneasy countries in the effort to collect and control Soviet nuclear weapons. As with WWII, he added, “the heaviest lifting was done by the Russians.”Now — with Syria, the Crimea, and other divisions — the United States and Russia are back in a “doldrum” resembling the Cold War, said Allison.At center stage is Vladimir Putin, who, said Burns, “has brought back Cold War passions.” Allison agreed. “If you were central casting, you couldn’t do better than Putin.” He called the present Russian regime “a KGB-retro machine,” with which “relations will not get better” any time soon.At least the immediate crisis has eased, said Burns, in part because Putin “knows he can’t afford more sanctions.”Underneath the present is the past, the panelists said. The psyche of the Russia people still echoes with the wounds of the Great Patriotic War, in which at least 20 million Soviets died. For every German killed fighting the USSR, 10 Soviets were killed. Visiting a place like St. Petersburg — besieged Leningrad during the war — “you can feel it,” said Burns.But once the “40-somethings” in Russia are in charge, and memories of the hot war and the Cold War fade, things will change, said Allison. “They understand the [challenges] of the 21st century are transnational, and that climate change is the metaphor.”The Lives of the Great Patriotic War exhibition runs from October 23-November 26, 2014 in Pusey Library, Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm. No Harvard ID is required. This portrait of a March 1945 command inspection of an observation station in Breslau shows Jewish soldier Dimitry Shore (far left). Picturing the Great Patriotic War Soviet Jewish veterans in more recent times. Reading “On the Way to the Patriotic War,” this postcard shows happy soldiers of all ages on the march. Artists V. Ninogradov and Y. Nikolaevlast_img read more

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Librarian lectures on monk

first_imgDr. David Jenkins, Librarian for Classic, Hellenistic Studies and Linguistics at Princeton University, made the case for Byzantine Literature in his lecture in McKenna Hall Tuesday.Jenkins’ lecture was given as part of a series on classical studies to honor the legacy of the late Sabine MacCormack, a Notre Dame historian and classicist. During his time as a librarian at Notre Dame, Jenkins said he collaborated with MacCormack to purchase books for the Byzantine collection.Jenkins’ lecture was centered around the 11th century monk, philosopher and politician Michael Psellos.“Of all the writers of his time, no one was more responsible for the judgment and appreciation of Byzantine literature than Michael Psellos,” Jenkins said.Jenkins said Psellos was born to a prominent family, likely around 1018, in Constantinople. He worked for a number of Byzantine emperors and was known for his oratory abilities.“He excelled in orations and was reported to have recited the entire ‘Iliad’ while still in his youth,” he said.Since much of the information about Psellos comes from his own autobiographies, Jenkins said Psellos likely exaggerated the influence he acquired through political patronage.“As a philosopher, Psellos taught the emperors two things: Great deeds require great praises and great deeds require great philosophy,” Jenkins said. “In other words, Psellos would be the one to instruct the emperors on how to achieve great deeds through his philosophy.”Jenkins concentrated on Psellos’ philosophical interests in saying Byzantine literature ought to be encountered on its own terms and as more than a list of facts. Jenkins said literature of the Byzantine Empire has often been cast aside for its perceived lack of originality and its dependence on more highly-esteemed classical sources.“The literature these Byzantine writers produced has been regarded as unoriginal literature written in a dead language largely for sycophantic purposes,” he said. “But this assumes that the works they produced ought to be compared to their classical forefathers.”Encountering Byzantine literature on its own terms involves a certain paradox, Jenkins said. Normally, researchers try not to project their biases onto the past and stay close to primary sources, but encountering history on its own terms makes it difficult for researchers to avoid bias.Jenkins said Psellos operated in a similar frame of contradictions in the 11th century, focusing on the duality of Christ’s human and divine nature and devising a sophisticated treatment of the liar’s paradox.“Literature that aspires to something deeper than a grocery list does not necessarily need philosophical arguments in its defense, but it cannot do without the experience of a contradictory spark that drives its creation,” he said.Tags: Byzantine Empire, Byzantine Literature, David Jenkins, Iliad, McKenna Hall, Michael Pselloslast_img read more

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Invasive plant workshop

first_imgUniversity of GeorgiaBy their very nature, invasive exotic plants become obvious to everybody. And once you see these pest plants’ potential to overtake large areas, you want to know more about how to control them.The Georgia Exotic Pest Plant Council wants you to know, too.The GA-EPPC has gathered experts from around the state to provide the Invasive Plant Control Workshop March 21 in Athens, Ga.Homeowners, landowners and anyone else interested in controlling invasive exotic plants are invited to learn about the worst pest plants in north Georgia and how to safely control them.Participants will get a three-ring binder of presentations, reference material and other information. They’ll learn: How to recognize the most serious invasive plants.How to effectively and safely use herbicides.How to understand herbicide labels.How to use nonchemical methods and when they will work.How to know the best control methods for your site. Connie Gray, special projects coordinator for Trees Atlanta, and Malcolm Hodges of the Georgia Chapter of The Nature Conservancy will lead the workshop. Gray and Hodges are president and vice president of the GA-EPPC.Scheduled during the Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council Annual Symposium March 20-22, the workshop will be in Room K of Georgia Center for Continuing Education from 9 a.m. to noon on March 21.For anyone not attending the symposium, the workshop cost is $50.To learn more, visit www.gaeppc.org or www.se-eppc.org. Or call the Georgia Center at (706) 542-6596 or (800) 884-1419. Or contact Gray at (404) 522-4097 or [email protected]last_img read more

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Resilient Pearl Millet

first_imgA global team of 65 scientists, including nine from the University of Georgia, have decoded some of the secrets to the crop’s coping strategies. The newly sequenced and decoded pearl millet genome, published Sept. 18 in the journal Nature Biotechnology, will help crop breeders create more drought-tolerant millet and develop climate adaptation strategies in other important cereal crops.This research used the latest innovations in DNA sequencing and analysis to identify new genetic tools, like molecular markers related to drought and heat tolerance, as well as other important traits, such as nutritional quality and pest resistance.The project was co-led by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) headquartered in India, BGI-Shenzhen headquartered in China and the French National Institute for Research for Sustainable Development (IRD).“A hundred million people depend on pearl millet,” said Jason Wallace, of UGA’s Department of Crop and Soil Sciences. “It can grow right up to the edge of the Sahara desert. Understanding its genome will help us turn that information into better crops for them and for us.”Pearl millet is grown on about 66.7 million acres worldwide and is a daily staple for more than 90 million people, many of whom are among the most vulnerable in arid and semiarid Africa and Asia. It is also an important source of animal feed and forage for millions of farms.However, pearl millet yields have remained low over the last six decades, as this cereal is primarily grown in poor soil conditions without irrigation and minimal to no fertilizer or other agricultural inputs.Investment in genetic research for this smallholder crop has been limited, and breeders have had limited genetic information to develop high-yielding, superior varieties and hybrids that respond to farmers’ constraints.This pearl millet genome research has led to a better understanding of its genetic variability. Researchers have identified candidate genes for very important traits, such as resistance to downy mildew, a very damaging millet disease, and pearl millet’s exceptional heat tolerance.“Most cereals, like rice or maize, cannot support temperatures over 30 to a maximum 35 degrees Celsius (85 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit) when they start forming their grain, whereas pearl millet will fill its grain in air temperatures of up to 42 degrees (C) (107 F),” said Professor Rajeev Varshney of ICRISAT, who coordinated the International Pearl Millet Genome Sequencing Consortium. “We have found that, compared to other cereals like wheat, rice or maize, pearl millet has a more diverse repertoire of genes for natural wax proteins, which act as thermal protection for the plant.”Such heat resistance is crucial as climate experts forecast further heat waves in years to come. Understanding the basis of pearl millet’s heat and drought tolerance could also help improve these traits in other crops, either by advanced breeding or biotechnology.Researchers in UGA’s Department of Genetics, Department of Horticulture, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Department of Plant Biology, the Plant Genome Mapping Laboratory and the Institute of Plant Breeding, Genetics and Genomics lent their specialized expertise in the millet genome sequencing.Professor Jeff Bennetzen and postdoctoral researcher Hao Wang, of the Department of Genetics, provided analysis of transposable element composition and distribution in the pearl millet genome.Professor Katrien M. Devos, of the Department of Plant Biology, the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, and the Institute of Plant Breeding, Genetics and Genomics, generated a framework genetic map and conducted the comparisons between pearl millet and foxtail millet that were used to improve the assemblies.Professor Peggy Ozias-Akins and Assistant Research Scientist Joann Conner, of the Department of Horticulture and the Institute of Plant Breeding, Genetics and Genomics, helped annotate the pearl millet genome sequence with data from reproductive tissues.Professor Andrew Paterson and Associate Research Scientist Xiyin Wang, of the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, the Department of Genetics, the Department of Plant Biology and the Plant Genome Mapping Laboratory, studied the evolution of the pearl millet genome in comparison to other cereal crops.Assistant Professor Jason Wallace, of the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences and the Institute of Plant Breeding, Genetics and Genomics, led the work to convert the initial, short genome fragments into long assemblies using data from pearl millet plants contributed by collaborators in Georgia, India and Africa.Postdoctoral researcher Peng Qi, of the Department of Plant Biology, the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences and the Institute of Plant Breeding, Genetics and Genomics, assisted with the generation of a framework genetic map and conducted the comparisons between pearl millet and foxtail millet that were used to improve the assemblies.The team’s publication on the pearl millet genome can be found at www.nature.com/nbt/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nbt.3943.html . Details about this research are available at ceg.icrisat.org/ipmgsc/.(The staff of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics contributed to this release.)last_img read more

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Tennessee Claims It Invented The Long Island Iced Tea

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York An interstate booze battle broke out this week when a Tennessee city re-staked its claim to have invented the Long Island Iced Tea a half century before LI’s mixologists concocted the cocktail.  Kingsport, Tenn. tourism officials say a resident there invented the LI iced tea during the Prohibition era and named the drink after their Long Island — a four-mile-long strip of land in the Holston River. The local version of the famously stiff drink is said to have been first mixed at the Oak Beach Inn in the 1970s.“The drink has a long and very interesting history and we just felt like it was time for us to embrace it and our role in its creation,” said Jud Teague, executive director of Visit Kingsport.LI’s tourism board balked at the mixed-drink historical revision, noting that while the two beverages share a name, their ingredients are slightly different.“We use triple sec and they use whisky and maple syrup,” said Maggie LaCasse, director of communications for Discover Long Island. “Long Island’s very proud of our Long Island Iced Tea and we’ll defend it … but the drinks are different.”Teague said Tennessee’s LI iced tea was invented by Charlie “Old Man” Bishop, who illegally distilled liquor on Kingport’s Long Island. Bishop used rum, vodka, whiskey, gin, tequila with a bit of maple syrup. Two decades later, his son, Ransom, tweaked the recipe by adding lemon, lime and cola, Teague added.The late Robert “Rosebud” Butt is said to have invented the modern LI iced tea while mixing drinks during a bartending contest at the defunct OBI in 1972. Besides using triple sec instead of whisky, the locally devised and more popular version also includes sour mix.“Possibly similar concoctions were created elsewhere, at another time,” Butt posted on his website, liicetea.com. “But the Long Island Iced Tea, as we know and love it, is truly a product of Long Island, created by a true Long Islander, at a Genuine Long Island institution with a famous story all its own.”Of course, the Long Island Iced Tea isn’t the first mixed drink to become topic of a spirited debate surrounding its origin, nor will it be the last. Just like the barroom brawl over who invented the Negroni, the LI iced tea argument is sure to linger.last_img read more

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LIRR Derailment: Work Train Impeded Passenger’s Train Space, Officials Say

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York The morning after a frightening crash that caused a Long Island Rail Road train carrying 600 passengers to derail Saturday evening, officials took a moment to breathe a sigh of relief that most people escaped without any serious injuries. “When you look at the actual damage to this situation, this silver lining is we’re fortunate that more people weren’t seriously hurt,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday morning after surveying the wreckage. “The damage to the train cars is extensive and we have had a number of injuries, but frankly, that we didn’t lose any lives is something to be thankful for.” In total, 33 people were injured, 26 of whom were passengers, officials said. Four of the injuries were classified as serious. One passenger suffered broken bones and was forced to undergo surgery. Although the crash is currently under investigation, officials were able to shed more clarity on the crash, which occurred just after 9 p.m. in New Hyde Park. Cuomo said the passenger train and a work train were running in the same direction when they sideswiped each other, causing three of the passenger train’s cars to careen off the tracks. The passenger train “was where it was supposed to be,” officials said, adding that the work train appeared to have intruded on the other train’s path. MTA Chairman Thomas F. Prendergast said the work train was being used for maintenance on an inoperable track.“One of the last steps is that piece of equipment going back and forth and I think they had completed and they were going to make a move east with all of the work equipment and clear up,” he said. “Why it ended up where it did…that’s what we need to find out in the investigation.”The work of ascertaining how it came to be that the work train apparently impeded the passenger train will be left to the National Transportation Safety Board, the agency responsible for investigating transportation-related incidents. Crews work to clean up site of LIRR derailment on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016 in New Hyde Park. (Photo credit: New York Governor’s office)Cuomo urged everyone to exercise caution and let investigators examine the crash site before drawing any conclusions. “Once we have the facts from NTSB, anything the LIRR can learn from the incident, we will learn,” the governor said. Cuomo was effusive in his praise for first responders considering they were working under darkness and were at a disadvantage because the track was sitting on a steep hill. He said crews will focus on removing the debris and the damaged trains with the hope of getting the train back in service. With Monday being Columbus Day, the railroad is expecting lighter ridership, which could help relieve the stress of the painstaking work ahead, officials acknowledged. Cuomo said additional state resources have been ordered to assist the LIRR. “If we have to work all day and all night long, we will because we want to make sure tomorrow’s commute is as normal and as easy as possible,” Cuomo said.Service remained suspended on the LIRR’s Oyster Bay branch due to the crash. The railroad released the following instructions to customers using its service:Huntington/Port Jefferson BranchPort Jefferson – Hicksville CustomersThe LIRR has established limited alternate service to/from stations Hicksville through Port Jefferson with a diesel shuttle train that will operate between Hicksville and Babylon, then train transfers at Hicksville to/from Huntington and points east.Westbound customers will take a westbound train to Hicksville. There, they will board a diesel train to Babylon, which will travel along the ‘Central Branch.’ At Babylon, transfer to a westbound train to New York.Eastbound customers should take an eastbound train to Babylon. There, they will board a diesel train to Hicksville, which will travel along the ‘Central Branch.’ At Hicksville, transfer to an eastbound train to Huntington and points east.To avoid delays, customers are advised to use the Montauk or Babylon BranchesWestbury – New Hyde Park CustomersThe LIRR is providing limited bus service between Jamaica and the New Hyde Park, Merillon Avenue, Mineola, Carle Place & Westbury Stations.Westbound customers will take a westbound bus to Jamaica, then transfer to trains for service to points west.Eastbound customers should take an eastbound train to Jamaica. There, they transfer to a bus for service to New Hyde Park, Merillon Ave., Mineola, Carle Place & Westbury.To avoid busing and delays, customers are advised to use the Hempstead Branch. (Featured photo credit: New York Governor’s office)last_img read more

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Discovery Center hosts “Ho!Ho!Ho! Holidays! Celebration with Santa”

first_imgEvent coordinators say they were thrilled to see the children come in and play. The Discovery Center of the Southern Tier hosted their “Santa’s Workshop” today which included their annual gingerbread exhibit and even had children take pictures with Santa. “It’s been a really tough year for kids of all ages,” said Cheryl Dutko, Interim Executive Director of the Discovery Center, adding, “We want them to use their imagination and be able to come and play and feel some of the holiday magic.” Dutko added that the museum had to modify the event and adhere to social distancing guidelines which included grab and go lunches, mask wearing, reservations in advance, take-home arts and crafts, and continuous disinfecting. BINGHAMTON (WBNG) — Santa stopped in Broome County today to visit the Discovery Center. last_img read more

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Tennis aces team up to spruik the Sunny Coast

first_imgTennis champ Mark Kratzmann will build one house in India for every apartment sold at his latest development venture, The Ivy Picnic Point JUL 1987: PAT CASH OF AUSTRALIA CELEBRATES WITH THE WIMBLEDON MENS SINGLES TROPHY AFTER WINNING IN THE FINAL AGAINST IVAN LENDL.To date, 27 of the 37 units at The Ivy Picnic Point have sold, with completion expected later this year.For every apartment sold at the Ivy at Picnic Point, The Kratzmann Group is building one house in India, in partnership with not-for-profit organisations Habitat for Humanity and B1G1. An artists impression of the living space inside one of the sub-penthouses at The Ivy Picnic PointAlthough his real estate portfolio is centred in London, the former Wimbledon champion said it was worth exploring investment opportunities on the Sunshine Coast, given that major capitals such as Sydney and Melbourne had come off their highs.The tennis pals also visited a number of local hot spots. The Ivy Picnic PointCash, who regularly holidays at Noosa while commentating during Australia’s summer of tennis, said he was impressed by the level of construction and infrastructure being built in the tourist town.More from newsCrowd expected as mega estate goes under the hammer7 Aug 2020Hard work, resourcefulness and $17k bring old Ipswich home back to life20 Apr 2020“I thought Maroochydore was a sleepy little coastal town, so I was quite impressed by the quality of waterside properties close to great beaches, good dining and coffee shops,” Cash said. Pat Cash and Mark KratzmannFORMER Aussie tennis ace Pat Cash made a surprise visit to the Sunshine Coast last week, stopping in to check out the latest development by friend and fellow tour champion Mark Kratzmann.The Kratzmann Group recently commenced construction of The Ivy Picnic Point, a luxury 37-unit complex on the banks of the Maroochy River.last_img read more

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Car photos needed by end of October for national, regional point fund shares

first_imgVINTON, Iowa – Drivers in contention for national and/or regional point fund shares should, if they have not done so already, send pictures of their car proving required decal placement to IMCA Marketing Director Kevin Yoder.“We need to have those in hand by the end of October,” noted Yoder. “Every year there are drivers who cost themselves money when they don’t put required decals on their car and send a picture to us.”Photos submitted this month, he added, must show the car on track.Point fund checks will be presented during the national awards banquet Nov. 24 in Lincoln, Neb., or mailed beginning the following week.Yoder’s email address is [email protected]last_img

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