A year in Dnepropetrovsk

An American volunteer in Ukraine

May travels: Den’ Pobedy in Odessa

I left Metsudah early to do some touring of Odessa proper. I stayed with Sol and Dina, the JDC volunteers in Odessa, for four days, hanging out with them and seeing the Jewish and touristy parts of the city. They then left for Metsudah, and my friend and colleague Yulia came in to spent the last day with me in Odessa before taking the overnight train with me back to Dnepropetrovsk.

That last day happened to be May 9, Den’ Pobedy (Victory Day), a very important holiday in the Former Soviet Union. This marks the victory of the Soviets over the Germans in the Great Patriotic War (WWII). Everyone in the city was celebrating. The students in the military academy marched in a parade across the city, there was a memorial service all day before the Statue of the Unknown Mariner, there were memorial films showing all day in City Hall, and there was a public concert performed by veterans. It was quite spectacular and extremely moving. You need to be in the FSU to understand just how important this holiday continues to be.

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