«Jewish Observer»
May 2002
5762 Sivan

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May 23 our friend and comrade-in-arms, a wonderful man Anatoly Yakovlevich Gelman was 90 years old - a rather respectable age. This is almost an entire century, just imagine it - the twentieth one... Actually, Anatoly Gelman was not just an observer, but an active participant of the century events. In that uneasy and controversial reality this man, figuratively speaking, never swam against and with the stream. He "swam" in the direction he considered necessary. I have always been amazed at the fact he was acquainted with almost all famous writers and journalists: Mikhail Svetlov, Konstantin Simonov, Illya Erenburg, Alexander Tvardovsky... A war veteran Avrum Redko is proud his brother Volko - a poet who lost his life on the front-line - worked together with A. Gelman. Victor Yakovlev, the author of a vivid and uncompromising book on the Stalingrad battle, shared the same trench with Gelman.

Anatoly Yakovlevich is one of those who have preserved a true Jewish soul. A settlement of Dunayevtsy, his child place, brought up in his soul good and wisdom enough for one hundred and twenty years of a Jewish life. "When my loved, kind, wise grandmother Eidl was dying (she used to tell me a lot of moving, stirring up a young soul stories), I moved my fingers over her wrinkled forehead as if travelling around the world", - he writes in one of his essays. He finished a factory school in Dunayevtsky and worked at a textile factory. In 1935 he graduated from the Kharkov communist institute of journalism. A.Gelman edited, first, a factory and, then, a district newspaper. He also used to teach the Russian and Ukrainian language and literature. He met the war, a greatest trial in the life of people, a 30-year old commander in the Red Army. He was in command of a tank company. When a battalion commander was killed and his deputy wounded he took command over the battalion. This happened during an encounter battle.

Later on he repeatedly participated in encounter battles including the biggest encounter tank fight near Prokhorovka, Kursk region. During the war he appeared a talented journalist: Anatoly Gelman edited a newspaper of the 18th tank corps and, later, of the 5th Guards' tank army. After four grave woundings and confusion, with four battle orders colonel Gelman got demobilized from the Soviet Army.

... Though his encounter fights went on: against bureaucracy, injustice, human meanness and, finally, against anti-Semitism.

They say, a mature age is the best third of a man's life: time of prudence and maturity. In my opinion, a most fruitful part of Anatoly Gelman's life commenced after his becoming an editor - in-chief of the newspaper "Vozrozhdeniye", one of the first Jewish newspapers in Ukraine, and will continue for a long-long time - till the age of 120.

Thousands of readers had and have an opportunity to assess both the newspaper and its editor-in -chief. Every thought pronounced on the pages of "Vozrozhdeniye" is warmed by his soul and generous heart. The newspaper is made with clean hands and absolutely free of charge. But as the newspaper needs money, it is impossible to do without encounter fights here. Though, these fights are waged for mutual understanding, for minds, hearts, and spiritual wealth of the Jewry in independent Ukraine.

Anatoly Yakovlevich Gelman lives in Israel, in the town of Ashdod for the second year and is infinitely happy to have arrived in his historical Motherland. He actively cooperates with Israeli mass media and continues glorious traditions of the "Vozrozhdeniye XXI century" newspaper which honorable editor he is at present.


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