The "nationality question" at the front
"The constant talk about 'Yids in Tashkent' got to me in the brigade and I became quite fed up. Outwardly, I did not look Jewish, on the contrary I looked like a pure German, and when we were in Germany, some Germans once took me at once for an Aryan, one of theirs, especially because I spoke German almost fluently. Our guys in the company also thought that I was a German or a Russian by birth and that I must have had a skeleton in my closet so I somehow got hold of someone else's identify papers and was passing myself off as a Jew. I always stressed my [Jewish] nationality in the army. I showed that I was not afraid of anything, that I was braver than many others, and I tried to do my work better than others.Twice I was given the opportunity to leave the front line for an accelerated course of a military school, but I refused because I did not want people to say 'hey, look, another Jew has escaped from the front to the rear.' By the way, it was because of this 'nationality issue' question' that I refused to join the Party.Once I was called by the head of the political department of the brigade, Lieutenant-Colonel Sviridov, who asked directly why I refused to apply for admission to the Party. I told him straight out: 'I will join the Party when there are no longer any rabid antisemites in it.'
But they were in the Party, not only in the Party but also around it, and near it.
What is funny is that there was one argument that shut the mouths of many people who were eager to discuss the 'nationality question' with me. When I said to them – 'You are kolkhoz cattle, ignorant and dark. The Jews gave you God, so just sit quietly and hold your tongue'... That worked like a blow to the head."