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Mystery solved: Jewish WWII soldier’s body found

His family never knew what happened to him, but seven decades after Israel Bristman was killed in a Russian forest fighting the Nazis, his grandson and namesake received an unexpected call informing him that remains had been found.

More than 70 years have passed since Israel Bristman disappeared in Russia.

No family member knew what happened to the Jewish man who escaped Poland and joined the Red Army during the Second World War – until recently, that is, when an unexpected phone call solved the mystery.

Bristman’s grandson, also named Israel, received a call at his home in Shoham from a stranger who told him that his grandfather’s body had been found. Also found with his remains was his equipment, including a capsule containing a note bearing his name.

“About a month ago I got a phone call from a woman who said she helps find relatives from the Second World War,” Bristman told Ynet. “She told me she had acquaintances in St. Petersburg, Russia, who deal with searches, and told me they found where my grandfather, who is my namesake, was killed. All these years I knew my grandfather fought in WWII and disappeared. My relatives assumed he was killed in one of the battles but didn’t know where.

“The woman said that in aside a forest near the city of Leningrad, someone found a waterproof capsule with the name ‘Bristman’ written inside, and that was where they found his remains and the equipment he carried,” explained Bristman.

616008901001893640360noGas mask found near the body (Photo courtesy of Israel Bristman)

“Several battles occurred in this area during WWII, and the students, I was told, go out there and try to locate soldiers who fell. Many soldiers’ remains were not identified. When they manage to identify them, they try to locate their families.

“In my case, the name sounded Jewish so they searched for relatives in Israel. I have the same name, so they reached me. I didn’t believe them at first, but ultimately realized that they had indeed found him. They told me he was a commander and my father also always said that.



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