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Israel soldier - liberator and keeper of the memory of the Holocaust awarded with the Russian “In Memory of the People's Militia" Medal

March 27, 2012
At the International School for Holocaust Studies and  the memorial  complex Yad Vashem (Jerusalem) the first ceremony took place  awarding the unique Russian Medal "In Memory of the People's militia" to veterans of the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 living in Israel. This award was established in accordance with the Presidential Decree № 49 of 9 January 2012, in honor of the 400th anniversary of the People's Militia (1612), the 200th anniversary of the participation of militia in the war of 1812 and the 70th anniversary of the heroic deeds of the militia divisions in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945.
The ceremony was attended by the head of the Russian speaking program of the Yad Vashem International School Dr. Irit Abramsky and staff member of Noah Segal, the chairpersons of the Russian Holocaust Center Alla Gerber and  Dr. Ilya Altman,  representative of  the Russian Holocaust  Center in Israel, Gregory Reikhman, and a large group of Russian teachers, participating in a seminar organized by the Moscow Holocaust Center in Israel. The  medal along with a certificate –was  awarded by the head of the Bryansk  group of the “Baton of remembrance” on behalf of the All  Russian  Union  "Revival", Alex Ekimtsev.
The first to receive this award was  a member of the All-Israeli  Union,of disabled veterans, soldiers and partisans and  fighters against the Nazism, living in Be'er Sheva, Leonid (Linden) Jankowski.
The representative of the Russian Holocaust Center, Gregory Reikman noted that the fate of Leonid Jankowski is a prime example of a "fighting Jew". A lecture on the topic was delivered  the evening before ,followed  by a contribution of the director of the “Museum of Military History”, (Hadera, Israel) David Zelvensky The energy of courage"   introducing to the exhibition "On the fire line. "
 I. Altman underlined that Leonid Jankowski - one of half a million of Jews -fighting in the Red Army, being  in liberator and eye witness in one person, guarded the memory of the Jewish tragedy  and heroism after  WW II
Born in 1923 in the Bryansk region he joined a battle group on the fourth day of the war at the age of not yet  seventeen. In late 1941 he fought near Moscow, participated in the battles around Rzhev, where he was wounded. He fought at Dembitsa and on 27 January 1945 he took part in the liberation of Auschwitz in the  Divison of General Petrenko.
In autumn 1943 Leonid Jankowski learned about the death of the Jewish population of his native town among them father, mother, two brothers and sisters who were shot by the Nazis  on 18 February 1942 in Zlynka.
Half a century later, together with the head of the School museum for local history, L. Taranova,  Jankowski undertook efforts to keep the memory of the Holocaust victims alive by collecting a list of names  including his relatives and friends and  sent them to Yad Vashem.
After settling in Israel in the early 90's Leonid Jankowski became an activist of the” Union of Disabled World War II-fighters against the Nazis”, and one of the initiators for the erection of the monument in Beer-Sheva for the Jews who perished at the front during World War II He also participated in numerous meetings with students and is the author of many newspaper publications.
 Leonid Jankowski  handed over unique documents from his personal archive to the archives of the Russian Holocaust  Center among them -photos of his the deceased parents and the original  newspaper of the 60th Army from 1rst September  1944, reporting on the battle for the heights in which he took part, as well as an unique collections of photographs of the political  leadership of his army division  and collection of documents  about the liberators, including the fund of the commander of  the 107th division, General V.Y. Petrenko, where  Jankowski served until the end of the war ...
Photo : Leonid Jankowski, 1945.
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