Campus to mark Russian Victory Day Monday

Publication Date

Members of Union’s Russian and East European Culture Club, and Europa House, will mark Victory Day Monday, May 9, by honoring local Russian veterans who served during World War II.

At least two dozen veterans of the Red Army, along with members from the local Russian community area affected by the war, have been invited to a dinner beginning at 6:30 p.m. in Hale House.

Victory Day in Russia commemorates the final surrender by Nazi Germany to the U.S.S.R. in World War II, often referred to as the Great Patriotic War in Russia and other states in the former Soviet Union.

Stephen Berk, the Henry and Sally Schaffer Professor of Holocaust and Jewish Studies, will give a talk about the conflict. Others speakers include Dannil Kaplan, a local decorated soldier wounded in battle in eastern Germany, and Arkady Dolginov, who helped repair tanks as a teenager in the 900-day siege of Leningrad.

This marks the fourth year the Russian and East European Culture Club has honored area Russians on Victory Day. The club has about 40 active members.

“It’s very important for the campus community to learn about the contributions these veterans made,” said Emilia Strzalkowska ’11, the club’s president and co-founder. She came to Union from Augustow, a town of about 30,000 in northeastern Poland. “What better way than to hear from the people who actually lived through it?”

Strzalkowska credited Nadiya Finkelstein, the widow of Joseph Finkelstein ’47, professor emeritus of history, economics and management, for helping organize the event through her contacts in the local Russian community. Charles Arndt, visiting assistant professor of Russian, also assisted the club.

“This event is good way to make the campus aware of the enormous role the Red Army played in defeating Nazi Germany and to let them know there is a local community that can share this living history with us,” Arndt said.

The event is free and open to the campus community.