Isaak Zarembo

Isaak Zarembo

Born on June 29th 1925 Kraslovo, Latvia

Interviewed In: Toronto, Ontario

Medals Awarded: Order of the Patriotic War (1st and 2nd Class),  Medal for Courage,  Order of Glory and Victory over Germany In The Great Patriotic War

Private 43rd Latvian Guards Division. Participated In Defense of Moscow and Liberation of Riga

“In our unit Jews were the majority…In other units Jews kept quiet about being Jews”

Isaak lied about his age and enlisted as soon as the war began in 1941. He was frequently sent on prisoner capture missions:

“3 of us, our task was to take down both guards. The guards were walking from side to side, meeting halfway, talking and walking to the other side. We agreed to take both of them down when they were on the sides. My task was to hide and watch. When the guards parted our guys attacked them with knives and took them down. After that they walked into a dug-out, where they gagged one of the Germans, and killed 2 or 3 other Germans”.

Isaak also participated in The Defense of Moscow from 1941-42 where his division suffered heavy losses:

“Many were killed near Naro-Fominsk, Staraya Russa and Moscow. Only bits and pieces remained of our division.”

Isaak’s unit was part of the offensive that liberated Latvia in 1944. He was wounded on the outskirts of Riga and learned about the end of the war in the hospital: “On the 9th, in the morning I was on the second floor in the hospital when I heard a noise in the backyard “Victory! Victory!” I went out. I couldn’t believe it was victory! We kissed each other, crying, dancing, and hugging each other. It was such a joy and sadness. Medical personnel came out and started dancing with the soldiers. Finally the hospital chief came to us He officially announced the end of the war.”

He was demobilized and eventually immigrated to Toronto.