My maternal grandfather, Hyman Lader, was in the Russian Red Army during World War II armed with a violin.
In Russia, his name was ‘Yephim Gregorievich.’ ‘Gregorievich’
meant that Gregor was his father.
It was protocol back then in war for the Orchestra to lead the way to herald the beginning of an attack. My grandfather arranged and composed music for his military infantry and would later learn the alto horn, the trombone and the baritone as well. On the battlefield, Hyman said, his infantry paid heavy losses, and their group functioned as field nurses when they weren’t themselves wielding semi-automatics.
I can only imagine what it was like – walking and playing an instrument under a barrage of German fire and additionally stepping on mines all around on the ground.
My Uncle, Harry Lader, curated many of my grandfather’s stories. Hyman’s short memoir, presented to him on his 60th wedding anniversary, is available for me and my family to cherish and to pass on to our children.
I have learned that my grandfather took great pride in his duties as a serviceman in the military. He genuinely believed the team was greater than the sum of its parts. His memoir recounts a day when the orchestra was late. They could not get on the field to play before the German’s attacked. That day he lost his best friend to war.
I am proud to be the
granddaughter of Hyman Lader.
I am proud to come from
a lineage of
strength, genius, and wisdom.
Happy Memorial Day to all active service women and men, veterans and deceased victims of war.