Isaak Kogan

Isaak Kogan

Born March 20th 1926 Rakitnoyeye, Ukraine

Interviewed In: Toronto, Ontario

Medals Awarded: Order of the Patriotic War (1st and 2nd Class),  Medal for Battle Merit and Victory over Germany In The Great Patriotic War

Submachine gunner on 2nd Belorussian Front

“Bullets were swishing, grenades were exploding” Isaak was 15 when the Nazis invaded. He enlisted in The Red Army as soon as he was able and was sent to the 2nd Belarusian front in 1942:

“My feeling was that the more Nazis I killed the better it was for the Soviet Union”

When his lieutenant had been shot, Isaak leapt out from the trench, ran towards the gunfire, and pulled the man to safety:

“My commander, a lieutenant was wounded. I saw him being wounded. I crawled up to him and dragged him to a trench. That’s how it was – we saved his life… The other one, the soldier who was with me was also awarded the Medal for Combat Merits. That’s how it was”.

Isaak’s service ended after less than a year at the front, when a German missile injured both his legs and lodged a small piece of shrapnel in his head:

“I fell into a ditch… next to two wounded men. Rather they were 4. 2 of them died soon. I lay there for quite a while. I felt pain in my kidney. I was picked up and taken to a hospital”.

Isaak’s injury forced him to spend 6 months in the hospital where he was medically discharged from the army. After the war, Isaak received a medal for saving his lieutenant: “They didn’t award me until some time later. Everyone was happy that we saved the commander that he survived. Such things didn’t happen too often”.

After the war, Isaak stayed in Ukraine and worked in a shoe factory near the Chernobyl reactor. Before immigrating to Canada, he contracted illnesses related to the radiation.