The brave commander
Story by Sheeran Rokban
Photo by Sheeran Rokban
Zimmel was born on June 29, 1924 in the town of Olshan near Vilnius, which was part of Poland at that time. He enlisted in the Red Army on April 1st, 1942.
He served on the first Ukrainian front with the rank of Lieutenant, as commander of the Alexander Nievsky Battalion Brigade of the 92nd Regiment of Krakow City. He fought a battle in the village of Waknau on March 29, 1945. The enemy had a numerical advantage but thanks to heavy mortar fire the enemy infantry was forced into retreat He received a State Award of Honor with the "Red Star" for showing great courage and skill in commanding his troops.
After the battle, on his way to Berlin, he was wounded and sent for medical treatment at a hospital, he was then released from the army. "Victory Day is a day of pride and satisfaction for having been a part of the Red Army war effort that led to the Nazis' surrender, ending World War II and ending their plan to destroy the Jewish people." he says. He did not conceal his Judaism during the war and despite his soldiers' suggestions, did not change his Jewish name. At the end of the war, he moved to Vilna and worked as a department manager in the "Red Star" factory, which had about 1700 employees. In 1957 he immigrated to Israel, first to Nahariya and later to Petach Tikva.