ELWOOD'S LITTLE NAPOLEON
Stefan Goldfarb (1925-2004) of
Elwood, was one of the most highly decorated soldiers of World War Two.
He was born on Poland in a
snowdrift after his mother failed to walk to hospital in a blizzard.
Stalin’s secret police deported the family from Poland to a Siberian
commune were Stefan became the teenage head of a tractor brigade. In
1941, he became a T-34 tank driver in the Russian Army after Hitler
invaded. He was severely wounded several times in battles in which he
destroyed eighteen German tanks, rising to the rank of Colonel. He was
awarded the Russian equivalents of the Victoria Cross and Military Cross.
His tank is in a Russian Museum and his valour inspired a book and a
Polish film series.
His diminutive figure, charm and
old world gallantry inspired his nickname, ‘Little Napoleon’. He left
Russia after experiencing anti-Semitism, eventually arriving in Melbourne
in the 1970s. Stefan was a familiar figure in Elwood walking his dogs
from 41 Ormond Road.
was a devoted carer to his partner Rita Eidelson, another remarkable
Holocaust survivor. His small figure decorated with an astonishing array
of foreign medals was an icon of ANZAC Day parades where he was honoured
to ride a jeep with his grandchildren.
Stefan Goldfarb in 2004