A 91-year-old man using a walker to try to cross a busy Montgomery County road was struck and killed Wednesday by a school bus carrying 14 children who had just been to the White House, officials said.
The victim, Elia Miranski of Silver Spring, had made it across the southbound lanes of Columbia Pike, north of White Oak, just after 2 p.m. He waited on the median and then continued, making it about halfway across the northbound lanes before he was struck by the bus carrying students from Howard County.
It was a tragic ending for a man who had escaped from German soldiers during the Holocaust and then joined the Soviet military and fought in World War II.
On Wednesday evening, some close family members were too distraught to speak. “I’m sorry, I’m not interested in talking. Thank you,” a woman who answered his daughter’s phone said through tears.
Authorities were trying to determine how the accident occurred. They said Miranski apparently was within the crosswalk, but it was unclear whether he was going with or against the light.
Police officers were touched as they learned bits about the life of the man whose death they were investigating.
“It is horrible to lose an individual who has survived such horrific experiences,” said Capt. Tom Didone, commander of the Montgomery police traffic division.
Just nine months ago, Miranski sat down to give an oral history, speaking in Russian, to an interviewer from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. His daughter also spoke and served as his translator.
Miranski said his parents were killed within days of the German occupation of Minsk, and four of his five siblings were killed after that. He was 17 to 20 years old, and he and his brother Israel were the only two from the family to survive.
The brothers ended up in a castle the Germans had turned into a ghetto and then escaped through a window, he said. They hid in a swamp for days, eventually finding a group fighting the Germans.
Miranski lived in the Soviet Union and married. He eventually moved to Israel with his wife, who died a few years ago. In the 1990s, they came to the United States.
“I can’t even imagine how he put his life together after he went through, but he was very good husband, very, very good, supportive to my mom,” his daughter, Genia Miranski, said during the Holocaust Museum interview.