Treyger Hosts Victory Day/Russian Heritage Celebration


City Councilman Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island, Bensonhurst, Gravesend) last week celebrated Victory Day and Russian Heritage Day.

He marked the event as May 9, a special day on the Russian calendar as it marks the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945. This year’s celebration commemorates the 73rd year since the “victory,” in which the Soviet Red Army’s counter-offensive against the Third Reich ended with a triumphant march into Berlin in 1945.

City Councilman Mark Treyger
City Councilman Chaim Deutsch

“As the grandson of Holocaust survivors and World War II veterans and the son of immigrants, I take immense pride in honoring members of our community whose sacrifices are the reason that many of us are able to enjoy the freedoms we do today,” said Treyger.

Co-hosting the event were City Council members Chaim Deutsch (D-Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, Brighton Beach, Midwood) and Karen Koslowitz (D-Queens), who both honored World War II veterans and Holocaust survivors, as well as the contributions of the city’s Russian-speaking community.

Guests at the annual celebration were treated to a delicious meal of Russian delicacies before the program, donated by the Brighton Beach Business Improvement District. In addition to honoring several individuals, guests enjoyed performances from the Brighton Ballet Theater and some traditional Russian-language songs from professional local singers.

Council Member Mark Treyger presents a proclamation to Boris Feldman, Vice-President of the American Association of Invalids and Veterans of World War II from the former Soviet Union. Contributed photo

This year’s honorees included Boris Feldman, a former Soviet Army soldier, Fira Stukelman, a World War II survivor, and Rosanna Roizin, a Russian community leader.

Feldman was born in the Vinnytsia region of Ukraine in 1920 and at 21-years-old was drafted during the initial mobilization of the Red Army. His unit’s first mission involved an 80-kilometer march across the countryside – a mission that ended in tragedy, as his unit was targeted by an air raid,killing more than half of his unit.

After the tragedy, Felman returned to his hometown only to discover that Nazi soldiers and their collaborators had already arrived and established a ghetto for the mostly Jewish population. For two and a half years, he lived in the ghetto, a witness to the beatings, torture, humiliation, and occasional murder of those around him. Then in 1944 Soviet forces finally arrived and liberated the ghetto, at which time  Feldman immediately resumed his duties with the Red Army.

Today, at the age of 97, Mr. Feldman is a leader in advocating for the rights of World War II veterans and invalids from the former Soviet Union. He is also a fierce defender of the state of Israel and has advocated passionately for the need to fight back against the rise of anti-Semitism around the world.

Council Member Mark Treyger presents a proclamation to Fira Stukelman, a staunch advocate for World War II veterans and Holocaust survivors from the former Soviet Union. Contributed photo.

Stukelman was born in the Ukrainian town of Vinnitsa in 1933. At the age of eight, she tragically lost both of her parents to the Nazi regime. With strong faith and some luck, Stukelman survived the Holocaust and World War II, and went on to become a master seamstress and tailor.

In 1989, Ms. Stukelman and her family immigrated to America, the culmination of a decade-long effort to escape the Soviet Union and find new freedoms and opportunities. Beginning in 1994, Ms. Stukelman began advocating fiercely on behalf of survivors of the Holocaust and veterans of World War II, a call she still answers to this day as a member the Association of Holocaust Survivors. For 24 years now, she has been advocating for the rights of veterans and survivors, helping to organize events in their honor, working tirelessly to ensure that they are cared and provided for, and raising awareness about them and their incredible sacrifices.

Council Member Mark Treyger presents a proclamation to Rosanna Roizin and her family. Contributed photo

Roizin began as an Equal Justice Works Fellow at the Center for Family Representation. While there, Rosanna represented psychiatrically disabled parents in New York County Family Court. Roizin founded Rosanna Roizin P.C., where she concentrates on trusts and estates, elder law, guardianship, and special needs planning; and established herself as a tireless advocate for elderly clients regardless of their ability to pay legal counsel fees.

Roizin became the attorney in residence at the Shorefront Jewish Community Council in Brighton Beach and has since worked tirelessly on fighting for the issues that truly matter to the local communities including working with elected officials to create change, and empowering residents of all ages and backgrounds.

Roizin also serves as a Board Member of the Brighton Ballet Theater, Inc., a non-profit Russian ballet school that serves to preserve Russian traditions and culture.