With honor and sadness

photo/yury isaev

Evsei Zalan (left) of Fremont and David Drucker of Castro Valley were among some 100 World War II veterans honored May 4 at the Russian consulate’s annual Victory Day event, which marks the defeat of Nazi Germany and commemorates the Soviet Union’s estimated 26.6 million civilian and military deaths during WWII. At 17, Zala joined the Soviet partisans in Belarus; Drucker, originally of Minsk, fought on the Ukrainian front and helped liberate Prague and Berlin. Both are Jewish, as are most local veterans from the former Soviet Union, according to a consulate source.