Jews in the Battle for Crimea, 1941–1944
On July 4, 1942, the Soviet people heard the sad news that, after 250 days of battle, Sevastopol, “the city of Russian glory,” had fallen. Twenty-two months later, Sevastopol was liberated by the 51st Army of the 4th Ukrainian Front. The army’s commander was Lieutenant General Iakov Kreizer, Hero of the Soviet Union and a member of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee. Thousands of Jews, soldiers of the Red Army, took part in the battle for Crimea in 1941–1944. The staff of the Commission on the History of the Great Patriotic War of the USSR Academy of Sciences interviewed some of them. These interviews are interesting not only in revealing how the Jews fought, but also in illuminating their prewar life, family background, and careers in the army. They are a unique source not only for military, but also for social history, affording insights into the phenomenon of Soviet Jewry.