Seventy years ago…

Papa and buddies on Vaclavske namesti, May 1945

Seventy years ago today was one of the greatest moments of my life: we were liberated after nearly six years of German oppression, one during which my family was reduced to three survivors. In this photo, my father and his fellow warriors in the Czechoslovak Division of the British army are preparing to form up for a victory parade in Prague. Rudolph Heller is standing directly under the bottle in the storefront sign. He made it through five years of combat, including Tobruk, Dunkirk, D-Day, and the Battle of the Bulge. Thank you, Papa, and all our liberators!


  1. kay gafford on May 9, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    Hi Charlie: It really was the greatest generation. Although we in America did not suffer like Europe and Asia, there were constant, daily reminders of a world at war……rationing, bond drives, scrap drives, newsreels, shortages of everything.
    We’ve been looking at old pictures and remembering what timeline of the war that pic reflected. Unbelievable in this day of affluence.

  2. Sondra gafford on May 9, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    I’m glad this memory is such a positive one for you. Hope it outweighs the prior painful years.
    Love, Sondra

  3. Nathan Rogow on May 9, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    Thank you Charlie. Good to hear from you anytime and particularly on this day, so meaningful to you. Though the war did not affect my family in any direct way, its outcome most certainly did and changed the world. I have met very few Holocaust survivors and each remains memorable for his/her own contribution and inspiration to each of our lives and the collective lives which created our own. Directly or indirectly, we Hebrews share, uniquely, a Continuum, individually, aggregately, in the moment, in our own ways as we move the world forward. Survival, yet more, so much more. Menschlecheit. But, to me, one of those Hero’s stands stands out. His story is one-of-a-kind; the war created context; the moment opportunity; its success closure. His name is Peter Z. Malkin. His opportunity became a victory which he’d neither sought nor savored. But without him it likely would not have happened. His story is told in his book, “Eichmann in My Hands.” I was among several very fortunate Jews who was in the right place at the right time to hear Mr. Malkin speak in one of Washington’s synagogues. Afterward there were neither dry eyes nor resounding applause. We understood that moment and the evening. It was a stunning story then at his re-telling and now in my spirit and soul as a Jew. I carry it with me and his personally autographed book is prominent in my/our library at home. Peter Malkin is the man who, charged with the Mission by Israel, captured and returned with him to Israel, the Butcher, Adolph Eichmann.

    I remain always grateful for your friendship and interest. Thank you for jabbing at our memories on this very poignant day. Very Best Regards–and please keep writing. Nathan

  4. Vic Brown on May 9, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    We had so many heroes without whom we could not have taken down the sycophants of the day. But your father’s list of major actions reads as if he managed to be at every key junction of the war.
    God bless him for his bravery and dedication.
    Vic Brown, Colonel, USAF (Ret)

  5. Charles Shelton on May 9, 2015 at 3:49 pm


    Thanks so much for posting that fact, that is so moving and special. I always take off D Day to honor the guys who did so much. One of those guys was a Sargent Major in the National Guard unit I was in. One of my uncles was at the Battle of the Bulge. I am incredulous about how little kids know about WW2. I would love to see you if you are in Houston!! You have my email, let me know if you are coming to Houston and I will come over and take you to dinner.

    All the best, your friend Charlie Shelton

  6. Cathy Weber on May 9, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    A momentous day indeed. Thank you for bring it to our attention.

  7. Rich Krebs on May 9, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    I still remember your story about your family in Prague. It was quite amazing and tell friends about your book when appropriate.

    I went back and read some of your earlier blogs. You certainly have some great posts.

  8. Judy Gebhardt on May 9, 2015 at 7:21 pm

    A special day for a family that is special. I remember and I try to prevent it ever
    Happening again but fall short in so many ways.
    Never Again, Judy

  9. john Gebhardt on May 9, 2015 at 10:02 pm

    Your father and all who fought to defeat Hitle are my heroes. The world would be a completely different place had your Dad not helped win the war. We all owe him our undying gratitude.

    We can never forget and all must be so vigilant so I can never happen again.

  10. Bart Childs on May 11, 2015 at 5:20 pm

    Great post thanks. Thanks for leading the group of classmates on the tour that included the sites of your childhood and
    Lidicie. The “Woman in Gold” movie and your book have continually reminded us that we must never forget.

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