Israel: WWII Veterans Get Russian Martial Awards

TEL AVIV (RIA Novosti, by Ratmir Orestov) — An initial batch of Russian commemorative medals in honor of victory over Nazism in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-45 has been awarded to war veterans in Israel.

The Tel Aviv-based Union of Israeli War Veterans and Disabled Soldiers hosted the decoration gala.

On behalf of the federal government, Gennady Tarasov, Russian Ambassador to Israel, congratulated World War II soldiers, rear war effort toilers, and concentration camp and ghetto inmates on the upcoming V-E Day celebrations.

Russian ambassadorial officers are to award a total 21,000 medals within a few days.

Yakov Maniovich, Veteran Union commission head for international contacts, offered Russian authorities words of heartfelt gratitude. "The 60th anniversary of the Great Victory is to us far more than a landmark day, an anniversary of Nazi Germany’s defeat-it means salvation of the entire Jewish people from extermination, down to the last person," he said.

The gala was something special to war veteran Mikhail Muller. Apart from the medal, the Russian ambassador gave him another two awards-an Order of the Great Patriotic War, 1st class, and an Order of the Red Star. The major martial awards found their winner sixty years after the war finished.

As decoration orders of 1944 and 1945 had it, the soldier won his awards by "exemplary execution of battle missions at the fronts of combat against Nazi Germany’s aggressors, and heroic valor displayed."

"I was doing all I could for the country where I was brought up, and for which I fought. I was wounded in the battlefield on five occasions. Now, I am proud and happy to see that the Russian government and ambassadorial officers, who represent it in Israel, have not forgotten me-they have done much for the high awards to reach me," said the war hero.