Big guns run in Zohar Kapustin's family tree. Over 70 years after his grandfather
Yaakov Hazanov enlisted in the Red Army artillery, Kapustin, of Beersheba,
enlisted in the IDF Artillery Corps last year.
Speaking to The Jerusalem
Post a few days before Holocaust Remembrance Day, Kapustin discussed growing up
in Beersheba hearing stories of how his grandfather, who was from a small town
outside Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg), commanded an artillery battery during
the German siege of the city in the Second World War and was wounded in a
Luftwaffe bombing raid before rejoining his troops to fight against the Japanese
Hazanov, the only member of his family not killed by the
Nazis, moved to Leningrad after the war and met his future wife, who was
studying in the city at the time. The couple lived with their children in Russia
until 1992, when they moved to Israel. A year later, Kapustin was born in
Beersheba, the first Sabra in his family.
When Kapustin was three his
grandfather died, leaving only photographs, medals and tales of youthful glory
to remember him by.
“My grandfather was the reason I went into the
Artillery Corps, I grew up seeing all types of medals and pictures at home and
this is why I joined,” he said.
As an only child, Kapustin had to gain
his parents approval to join a combat unit, which he said took some convincing.
In the end, he spoke to them about the benefits he could gain from serving in a unit that stressed mastering hi-tech
equipment, and also drew on his grandfather’s legacy.
Holocaust Remembrance Day has a special meaning not only because of the
devastation caused to his family in the Holocaust, but also because his
grandfather was part of the legacy of Jewish fighters who risked their lives to
battle the Nazis.
Furthermore, beyond the connection to his family
heritage, Kapustin said he sees the Artillery Corps as the right fit for him,
and added a bit of boastful pride.
“There’s a saying in the army: God
fights on the side of those with the strongest artillery,” Kapustin said. “This
is where I want to be.”