David Dushman Wiki
David Dushman Biography
Who is David Dushman?
David Dushman, Soviet soldier who helped liberate Auschwitz, dies at 98.
Mr. Dushman is believed to have been the camp’s last surviving liberator. He later became a decorated fencer.
David Dushman at the Russian War Memorial in Berlin in 2015.Credit … Markus Schreiber / Associated Press
June 7, 2021, 9:04 a.m. ET
How old was David Dushman ?
Dushman was a 98-year-old tank driver in the Soviet Army.
Causes of death
drove his tank through the electric fence surrounding the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz on January 27, 1945, and is believed to be the camp’s last surviving liberator, has died. in Munich on Saturday. He was 98 years old.
Dushman’s death was confirmed in a statement Sunday by the Munich Jewish community organization. No cause of death was given.
“Every witness in history that he leaves us is a loss, but parting ways with David Dushman is particularly painful,” Charlotte Knobloch, president of the organization, said in the statement.
Dushman was a 21-year-old Red Army soldier when he drove his T-34 against the tall electric barbed wire fence that surrounded the Auschwitz death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland.
As he approached the camp, he remembered looking through the slit of vision of his tank and, even after years of bloody fighting, he was shocked by what he witnessed.
“Everywhere there were skeletons. They stumbled out of the barracks, sat down and lay down among the dead, “he told the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung in 2015.” It was horrible. We threw all our canned food at them and moved on quickly to keep going after the fascists. ”
By the time Dushman arrived at Auschwitz, he had already survived two of the bloodiest battles of the war on the eastern front, at Stalingrad and Kursk. At the end of the war, he had been wounded three times. He said he was one of only 69 men out of 12,000 from his division who survived.
However, it was only after the war that he began to understand what he had witnessed in the death camp.
“To be honest, we knew almost nothing about Auschwitz,” he recalled.
More than 1.1 million men, women and children were killed in the camp, which settled in 1940 in the suburbs of Oswiecim, a Polish city that was annexed by the Nazis. More than 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust.
A Russian Jew, Mr. Dushman, and his family were familiar with anti-Semitism and state-sanctioned discrimination against Jews in the Soviet Union.
Mr. Dushman’s birth certificate stated that he was born in Minsk on April 1, 1923, but he claimed that his true birthplace was the port city of Danzig, now Gdansk in Poland. He said his mother, Bonislava, changed the location for political reasons.
His father, Alexander, a doctor in the Soviet army and hero of the Revolution, fell out of favor with Joseph Stalin, the Soviet leader, and was banished in 1938 to a gulag in Siberia. He died there in 1949.
Dushman was a 21-year-old tank driver in the Soviet Army when he walked through the electric barbed wire fence surrounding Auschwitz in 1945.Credit … Auschwitz Memorial and Museum, via Shutterstock
After the war, Mr. Dushman studied medicine in Moscow, out of love for his mother, a pediatrician who wanted her son to continue the family tradition of being a doctor.
But his passion was fencing, and after his studies, Mr. Dushman took up the sport.
He became the best fencer in the Soviet Union in 1951 and became a coach at the elite sports club Spartak in Moscow from 1952 to 1988. He also coached the Soviet Union women’s national team in fencing. Until well into the 90s, Dushman took the subway to a Munich sports club three times a week to practice fencing.
He was married to his wife Zoja his for 60 years, and since the couple never had children, he said he came to regard the young men he coached as family.
Zoja died in 2011 at her home in hers Munich, where they had emigrated in 1996. No immediate information was available on the survivors.
At the 1972 Munich Olympics, his team won two gold, two silver and three bronze medals. But the victories were overshadowed by the attack on the Israeli team, which was facing the Soviets in the Olympic Village.
“We heard gunshots and helicopter drone above us,” he later recalled. “We and all the other athletes were outraged.”
A decade later, during the world fencing championship, a German fencer’s foil broke