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Gabriel Temkin was born to a Jewish family in Lodz, Poland. At age 18, he fled east to Bialystok behind the Russian lines following the Nazi invasion of his homeland in World War II. The rest of his family, who could not get out of Poland, died in the Holocaust. In 1941, he was drafted by the Soviets but, distrusted as a refugee, he was sent to dig anti-tank ditches for a year. During the Stalingrad offensive, he was captured by the Germans; he escaped during a march from one POW camp to another. With the help of another Russian soldier, and some Russian and Ukrainian villagers, he took on a new identity as a non-Jew, complete with false papers. After being captured by and escaping from the Germans a second time, he signed up with the Red Army and fought the Nazis in Ukraine, Romania and Hungary. He received numerous decorations for courage. After the war, he reunited with Hanna, his sweetheart, and the couple married in 1946. They studied at the University of Leningrad and at Warsaw University. He earned a doctorate in economics and taught college. They left Poland in 1968 and emigrated to the USA, where he taught at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and later at Brock University in Ontario, Canada. After they retired, the couple moved to Sarasota, Florida in 1993. In 1998, he published a memoir entitled My Just War: The Memoir of a Jewish Red Army Soldier in World War II.
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