Born: April 30th 1922 Faleshty Bessarabia (present day Moldova). Passed Away: April 5, 2013 Toronto, Ontario.
Interviewed In: Toronto, Ontario
Medals Awarded: Order of the Patriotic War (1st and 2nd Class), Medal For Capture of Prague, Medal For Defense of Stalingrad and Victory over Germany In The Great Patriotic War
Private in communications platoon in armoured landing division (paratrooper). Stalingrad, Kursk, Liberation of Prague
Iosif and his family were evacuated in 1941. His parents returned home while Iosif and his brother were drafted into the army. Between major battles, Iosif was often tasked with laying down cables for communications:
“We were shown a map. Go and provide communication from one point to another one. We used to go by 2 men, we were not allowed to go by ourselves.”
Iosif first combat experience came during The Battle Of Stalingrad in 1942:
“In Stalingrad we used to be thirsty, and there was no way of getting some water. We had to clean and eat snow instead of water. We were afraid to stick out our heads. We had a rifle and a submachine gun. We put a helmet on a bayonet and raised it up. The Germans thought that was a soldier’s head. Bang! They hit the helmet. Once, it happened near Stalingrad. We were 30 men in our platoon, or 31. The next day only 18 survived. I was wounded near Stalingrad, rather contused. The Germans threw shells and bombs and one of them hit close to us. It was impossible for us to get to a hospital, because there was no way doing it in the daylight. We waited for the night to come. At night we were picked up and driven to a field hospital.”
Iosif recovered and fought in The Battle of Kursk in July 1943 and The Liberation of Prague in May 1945.
Iosif’s unit marched through Bratislava before joining the Prague Offensive and liberating the city. He was in Czechoslovakia when the war ended and was demobilized in 1947.