In an interview given in Toronto in 1990, Leonid Lifshits recalled his last stay in a military hospital – in the summer of 1944.
"In the hospital they wanted to amputate my right arm. Gangrene had set in and the arm was black. I heard this while lying on the operating table and I screamed: 'If you cut off my arm, I will blow you up with a hand grenade. I didn't have a hand grenade: I was screaming out of fright and had almost lost consciousness. Two medical orderlies sat on me and tried to hold me down, but in vain since I was strong. There was chaos in the operating room. They had no idea how to deal with me. Suddenly a man wearing a white gown entered, approached me, touched my shoulder, and said quietly in Yiddish: 'Are you Jewish? You can trust me.'
Yiddish was the language that my father and mother spoke. I calmed down and trusted him.
The unknown surgeon made a deep incision and drained the pus. He saved my arm. I will never forget this.
When I was being released from the hospital, they gave me a document in which there appeared the name Leonid Ignatievich Levshin'.
'You've mixed up something, boys' – I said. – I'm Jewish. Livshits, Leonid; [my] patronymic is Izrailevich.
'What kind of Jew are you?' exclaimed the officer who gave me the document. 'You are one of us. Why should you suffer [for being a Jew]? Just accept being Ignatievich.'
'No' – I thought. 'Nobody can flee from himself. Why should it suddenly be Ignatievich? I like things to be clear…
'Thank you, boys' – I said 'but write it as it should be --Livshits, Leonid Izrailevich.'"
Svirskii,Grigorii.Mat' I machekha:rasskazy veteranov. North York, Ontario:Erudite Books,1990.Pp.212-213.