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Yakov Rabinovich

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Born 1921, Belarus. Graduated from an Infantry Military College on the brinks of World War II. Entered the War as a 1st Infantry Lieutenant. Honorably served from 1941-1945. Finished the war as a major.

“You know, I served 4 years in infantry, had various assignments. I began my service as an infantry lieutenant. I was a commander of a machine-gun platoon. Meaning I had 4 Maxim machine-guns, and about 20 soldiers. I didn’t accomplish heroic deeds. But being on the front lines, in the trenches, four years… well, trenches, so to speak, four years on the front lines – it’s a feat, by itself, I think. The matter is, that… you can ask, how… how did you survive? Why are you alive? Let me answer with this simple verse:

I’m no better, nor worse
Those perished in the war
So tell me, my dear Yasha,
Why am still I on this earth?
In the fight we were together,
Shared everything with friends?

Well, it was true. How one can explain? It’s hard… there were 122 lieutenants when our division was formed in 1941. Only 5 of them, myself included, survived. How to explain that? I don’t know…”

Photo by Kamil Dadashev

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