History and Locations

Aaron's Revenge

Aaron’s Journey was both physical and emotional. He traversed hundreds of miles, from his home in Bilke, to the Russian battlefront in Voronezh, then all the way back on foot to Gerjen in Hungary. The journey required incredible physical stamina, as Aaron endured some of Earth’s harshest winters.

With the help of Colonel David Glantz (ret.), the locations that Aaron described to his son, Howard, have been verified and the battlefields and important junctures recreated with as much accuracy as possible. As an expert in military history, particularly the conflict between Russia and Germany, including Hitler’s axis partners, Col. Glantz was able to contribute resources, information and maps illustrating the campaigns. Because Aaron was conscripted by force as a slave laborer under the Hungarian army, writes Glantz in the Foreword to Aaron’s Revenge, Aaron was dragged by the Hungarians and Germans eastward in the wake of Hitler's obsession, in a ceaseless and senseless Nazi crusade to conquer Russia.

Axis Europe

By the fall of 1942, the Nazis controlled most of Europe and North Africa (see map below). Their satellite state Hungary bordered German-occupied Russia. In November, Aaron and his fellow slaves boarded a train in Hungary and headed east into the Russian winter. The journey lasted almost two weeks.

Under the Hungarian troops, Aaron marched to the Russian front, the site of many epic battles, from which Aaron miraculously walked away alive. As a Jewish slave of the Hungarians and Nazis, Aaron looked for ways to escape to the Russian side. That, too, proved perilous. Aaron’s facility with languages helped him to survive, enabling him to beg for food from villagers and overhear the murderous plotting of his captors, allowing him to defend himself against his would-be assassins; he also drew on his experience from his Czech military training and the paramilitary training of JuJitsu from Palestinian Zionists.

At first, many Jews were relieved that Hitler had designated the Hungarians to be their new rulers; after all, the Czechs had fought side-by-side with the Hungarians during World War I. Unfortunately, the new Hungarian government was virtually as fascist and anti-Semitic as Nazi Germany. Hungary had thrown in its lot with their German senior partners in hopes of reclaiming territory lost during World War I. Hitler then seized the remainder of Czechoslovakia.

The Russian Attack

During the Russian breakthrough at Voronezh on January 13, 1943, Aaron and a few slaves hunkered down in a trench as bullets tore at the snow and bombs fell from the sky. It was the Russians attacking with their most destructive firepower. During this brutal assault, the Axis commanders were silent. Aaron, in a moment of spontaneous ingenuity, lifted his head above his trench, turned to face the axis soldiers, and impersonated their commanding generals by bellowing the order: "Retreat!" both in German and Hungarian. A panicked rout of the Axis forces ensued along the entire Don River front, as Aaron exhorted countless Jewish slaves to follow their fleeing masters to safety in the woods, saving the lives of all.