Born: March 6th 1920 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Passed Away: November 2, 2012 Toronto, Ontario.
Interviewed In: Toronto, Ontario
Medals Awarded: Order of the Patriotic War (1st and 2nd Class), Medal For Capture of Berlin and Victory over Germany In The Great Patriotic War
Air Force Engineer and Gunner. Fought in Defense of Moscow and Capture of Berlin
In 1941, Leonid initially stationed at an aerodrome near Donkov. He was wounded in one of the first Nazi raids:
“Suddenly 3 German planes appeared overhead, the anti-aircraft artillery guys must have
missed them. They appeared from nowhere. It lasted minutes. They bombarded the airdrome landing field, firing at the caponiers where the planes were, and disappeared. It didn’t last long. Several men were killed, and several men got wounded. I was among those who got wounded. I wasn’t severely wounded. The surgeon told me that had the shrapnel hit 1 mm wider he wouldn’t know how I would have ended up. I just had a small scratch that gradually healed.”
Leonid was trained as a sniper but transferred to the air force where he served as a engineer, but also went on combat missions as a gunner:
“I went on missions as a gunner. As an armament engineer I used to have in store incendiary bullets. I used them to fire at German planes. I wasn’t a sniper in the war. I went on missions to replace those gunners killed in action. When we were short of personnel, everyone went on missions, subject to the command permission.”
After the war, Leonid immigrated to Israel before eventually settling in Toronto. He did extensive research into Jewish involvement in The Red Army, which he published in a book called “Jewish Heroism At War”.