Abram Tarnopolskii was born into the family of a hat-maker in 1912 in the town of Nezhin, Ukraine. At the beginning of the 1920s his family moved to Moscow.
Abram Tarnopolskii was a locksmith and was fond of weight-lifting. After military service from 1934 to 1937 he studied to become a traffic inspector.
When the Soviet-German war broke out on June 22, 1941, along with his two brothers, Abram Tarnopolskii joined the Red Army. In 1942 he completed a course for infantry officers, was promoted to the rank of lieutenant, and sent to the Western Front as the commander of a rifle company.
He fought in many battles, including the Battle of Kursk in July - August 1943. In combat against the Germans, he was wounded in both hand and foot. Nevertheless, he continued to shoot from a machine-gun. For this deed he was promoted to captain and was awarded the Order of the Red Star.
In the fall of 1943 Tarnopolskii and his men were ordered to cross the Dnieper River west of Chernigov and secure a bridgehead on the German-controlled bank. For his brilliant leadership and personal bravery in January 1944 Abram Tarnopolskii was awarded the title of the Hero of the Soviet Union. Mira Aizenshtadt (Zheleznova) wrote about him in the article "Captain of the Guards Abram Tarnopolskii" that was published by the Jewish Anti-fascist Committee's newspaper Eynikayt on February 24, 1944.
While serving as commander of an infantry battalion, on July 27, 1944 Major Abram Tarnopolskii was killed near the June 22, 1941 Soviet border with Poland, not far from Brest. He was awarded the Order of the Patriotic War, 1st class posthumously in July 1944.
In 2005 a street was named after Tarnopolskii in Brest.