WWII veteran recognized as 'nazi fighter' by Justice Ministry

Giorgi Ginzburg, who came to Israel from Azerbaijan, fought for the Red Soviet Army during the war. He will now receive the acclaim and benefits that come with being a World War II hero.

 World War II veteran Giorgi Ginzburg (photo credit: JUSTICE MINISTRY/TWITTER)
World War II veteran Giorgi Ginzburg
(photo credit: JUSTICE MINISTRY/TWITTER)

A World War II veteran, 103-year-old Giorgi Ginzburg, immigrated to Israel from Azerbaijan in the 1990s. While he has lived in Israel for nearly 30 years, he just recently applied for the “Fighters against Nazis” medal (לוחם בנאצים), which is given to World War II veterans who battled the Axis powers.

While Ginzburg originally came to Israel from Azerbaijan, he fought for the Red Soviet Army during the war. He will now receive the acclaim and benefits that come with being a World War II hero.

The Soviet Union's "Workers' and Peasants' Red Army" that Ginzburg bravely fought with provided the largest land force in the Allied victory across the European battlefield and is credited with capturing Germany's capital of Berlin.

The Red Army was also responsible for liberating the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp on January 27, 1945. While the soldiers were not given directives to liberate the camp – which they actually did not know existed – they stumbled upon it en route to Western Poland and were shocked by what they saw.

“It was hard to watch them. I remember their faces, especially their eyes which betrayed their ordeal,” former Soviet soldier Ivan Martynushkin told The Times of Israel in 2015. “Only the highest-ranking officers of the General Staff had perhaps heard of the camp... We knew nothing.”

 The dressmakers of Auschwitz sewed to survive (credit: Courtesy Lucy Adlington) The dressmakers of Auschwitz sewed to survive (credit: Courtesy Lucy Adlington)

The "Fighters against Nazis Medal" was inaugurated in 1967 by then-prime minister Levi Eshkol, who awarded it to the first recipients on May 7 – the 16th Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom Hashoah). The medal displays two Stars of David, the Emblem of the State of Israel, a menorah surrounded by an olive branch on each side and the writing "ישראל‬" (Israel).