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 Wow, what a story!

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wag
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PostSubject: Wow, what a story!   Mon Jan 26, 2015 10:56 am



SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Don Fida, of Syracuse, visits the small boomerang-shaped Pacific island in his sleep.

He remembers the way 22,000 soldiers of the 7th Infantry Division emptied a ship onto Kwajalein and worked their way across the 2.5-mile island, killing close to 5,000 Japanese and losing 177 of their own.

He can picture the way a Japanese soldier crawled out of a bunker waving the underwear of a young American nurse who had been held, "worse than hostage," as he puts it. Fida said his unit rescued the woman, draped her with the clothes of a dead soldier and escorted her onto a U.S. ship.

"I still see her in my mind," he said.
 
71 years after fighting in the invasion of Kwajalein Syracuse WWII veteran returns WWII veteran Donald Fida of Syracuse fought in five battles including the invasion of Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands. The 91 year old member of the 184th Infantry Regiment of the 7th Infantry Division will return to celebrate the 71st anniversary of Operation Flintlock, the Battle for Kwajalein Atoll. Stephen D. Cannerelli | scannerelli@syracse.com

 
Fida thinks about how his friend 1st Sgt. Earl Watson was shot once and died instantly from a bullet fired by a sniper in a palm tree.
"His head fell on my shoulder and his helmet fell on the ground," Fida said.
Fida said he pulled Watson's body on top of his to shield himself from the next round.
After 59 years, Fida found Watson's family in California and told them the story.
"There was nobody better than Earl," he said.
It was January 31, 1944, the Battle for Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. When troops arrived, Fida had been 20 years old for three days.
The battle is remembered as the first time American soldiers took control of a Japanese-held territory in World War II.
Fida survived five battles, including Okinawa, and returned at the end of 1945 on a rail car to Syracuse. He started a landscaping business and raised a family.
Fida said he stowed away enough memories to ruin a marriage.
Then, at age 90, a letter came from Doug Halbert, treasurer and roster manager for the 7th Infantry Division Association. The military contractors who live and work at what is now the Reagan Test Site on Kwajalein wanted to invite the veterans of "Operation Flintlock" to the island to commemorate the battle's 71st anniversary. There are 33 living Army veterans of the 7th Infantry Division who fought there. But there were specific qualifications on the remote island because of the limited health care.
The veteran had to be able to walk.
There was only one.
"Out of 22,000 men in the 7th Division, I'm the only one that can walk," Fida said.
On Monday, Fida will board a plane for Chicago, then Honolulu, then Kwajalein.
He will be accompanied by his daughter, Donna Wisniewski, who is named for him.
Saturday afternoon, he dressed in his uniform and all of its decorations to talk about his service and the trip.
Now, the stories are pouring out, helped along by tears, black and white photographs and news clippings. Fida and his daughter said they recognize the need to talk. She hears him relive the stories in his sleep.
"I'm so grateful that I'm able to do this at my age and to be able to remember all of this, which is a miracle to some people," he said, jumping to his feet to find just the right scrapbook.
Fida can't sleep, thinking about the trip, wondering if the bunkers remain, wondering if he will he will be able to be friendly toward people who look like those who mutilated his body.
After Kwajalein, Fida went to fight in the Philippines. That's where he earned the Purple Heart that dangles from his coat.
Fida said he was captured by Japanese soldiers, who held his arms and legs spread eagle, stabbed him in the left abdomen and partially castrated him.
In a story he calls a miracle, he was rescued and nursed back to health by a man he knew from school in Manlius.
After three years, five battles and a horrifying wound, Fida's name was called for a return trip home.
On Monday, he will start making his way back to Kwajalein. He is expected to arrive on the island January 29.
That's one day after his 91st birthday.

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PostSubject: Re: Wow, what a story!   Mon Jan 26, 2015 10:58 am


Maybe an imposter?

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PostSubject: Re: Wow, what a story!   Mon Jan 26, 2015 12:01 pm

Thousands of Israeli Holocaust Survivors Struggle in Poverty

By Paul Goldman and Dave Copeland



TEL AVIV, Israel — Hadasa Hershkovichi fled to Israel in search of a home after the Nazis murdered her entire family.
But while million-dollar apartments pop up throughout her Tel Aviv neighborhood, Hershkovichi lives in a shack originally built as a laundry room on the roof of a five-story building.

"The cold winter wind is coming in through the windows so I shove newspapers around the edges to stop the wind coming in," said the Romanian-born Hershkovichi, who suffers from a combination of ailments that make it very hard for her to climb the stairs to her tiny apartment.

"This is not the way for a human being to live," the 80-year-old said. "I only have a few more years to live and I want a proper home."

Hershkovichi is one of 190,000 Holocaust survivors residing in Israel today. She is also one of the 50,000 estimated to live below the poverty line, according to the Association for Immediate Help for Holocaust Survivors. Israel classifies a person as poor if they survive on around $600 or less a month.

"I'm ashamed, I want to cry but crying doesn't help," Susan Rotem, a volunteer with the Association for Immediate Help for Holocaust Survivors, told NBC News. "It's hard to be old but it's very hard to be old, sick and lonely."
Rotem and some 3,000 fellow volunteers help people like Hershkovichi by giving them meals and medicine, paying their bills, and keeping them company on their birthdays.


Susan Rotem: 'It's Very Hard To Be Old, Sick and Lonely'
NBC News
As survivors mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz Nazi concentration camp, campaigners in Israel are calling on the country's government to remember those who lived but now exist in destitution.
"We cannot ignore the fact that the state had failed to provide the remedy, welfare, containment, treatment and the attentiveness that Holocaust survivors need and deserve," a recent report about survivors published in Israel's Ha'aretz newspaper suggested.
Tami Meroz, who supervises services for Holocaust survivors at Israel's Ministry of Welfare and Social Services, said that those who escaped the Nazis "are divided in terms of their socioeconomic level in a similar manner to that of the entire country's elderly."
She added: "As a group they had a remarkable ability to recover after arriving to Israel. We provide for their special needs including building special clubs, mental help and economic help. The presumption that these survivors are miserable and poor is wrong and damaging. All together Israel has assigned $4.5 billion for the Holocaust survivors and we understand that we can always do better and give more money."
Such official assurances provide little comfort to people like Berta Sporan. The 95-year-old Holocaust survivor was kicked out of her apartment by a landlord who wanted to renovate the building.
It was only with the help of the Association for Holocaust Survivors that the landlord paid her some money for her to rent another home.
"As a Holocaust survivor I never got anything from the the state," Sporan said. "Our country is very poor and has huge expenses from wars and the army so I don't demand anything."


Dave Copeland / NBC News
Holocaust survivor Berta Sporan, 95, holds a picture of herself taken at age 18.
Tamara More, the head of the association, was less inclined to let society off the hook.
"Berta is an amazing woman who dedicated her life since the Holocaust to helping others whether it be people or animals in distress," she said. "[She] chose not to bring children into this very sad world and dedicated her life to help others. [Now] we provide for all her needs.

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PostSubject: Re: Wow, what a story!   Mon Jan 26, 2015 12:06 pm

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/world/2015/01/23/with-fewer-voices-auschwitz-survivors-speak/

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30953301

http://www.euronews.com/2015/01/26/holocaust-memorial-day-some-key-facts-and-figures/

Hmmm, hyenas yapping too much now, ...what are they planning?

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PostSubject: Re: Wow, what a story!   Mon Jan 26, 2015 2:50 pm

I was a war hero - Pearl Harbour. But I prefer my holocaust days - grade school kids love the stories.
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PostSubject: Re: Wow, what a story!   Mon Jan 26, 2015 3:26 pm

Jacob Gold wrote:
I was a war hero - Pearl Harbour. But I prefer my holocaust days - grade school kids love the stories.

Multi-tasking and mission creep, very smart!

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PostSubject: Re: Wow, what a story!   Mon Jan 26, 2015 7:05 pm

Here was my parade after WW2 - all of NY saluted me

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PostSubject: Re: Wow, what a story!   Mon Jan 26, 2015 8:24 pm

wag wrote:

Thousands of Israeli Holocaust Survivors Struggle in Poverty


Just had a most excellent idea:

Replace those "help kids in Africa" cards at the grocery store...
Think of all the jews we could help!

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PostSubject: Re: Wow, what a story!   Tue Jan 27, 2015 2:46 am

Fida survived five battles, including Okinawa, and returned at the end of 1945 on a rail car to Syracuse.

There was only one.
"Out of 22,000 men in the 7th Division, I'm the only one that can walk," Fida said.


Whatevuh. Syracuse a big Joo city, not sure of the special attraction though.

Israeli Holohoax Survivors in Poverty surely exaggerated but I don't know if it's completely false. JMSM actually a bit chary in re publicizing that Israeli std of living has dropped over recent years.
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