Aleksandr Aronas was born in 1926 in Königsberg, East Prussia, Germany, as Abraham Itzhak Aron. His father, Moishe Chaim, was a native of Kremenchug, Ukraine. In the aftermath of World War I, he left Ukraine, with its pogroms, for the "safety" of Germany, and married a local Jewish woman, Dora Klein, a native of Lithuania who was twelve years his senior. In 1929, Dora died, and Moishe Chaim remarried. His second wife was Mina Riva Salmat, from Georgenburg in the Memelland (present-day Jurbarkas in Lithuania). In 1933, the family moved to Kaunas, Lithuania, where Moishe Chaim opened a photo studio. The family was considered affluent. After moving to the new country, the family Lithuanized their name to "Aronas". Abraham Itzhak had two half-sisters, Raya and Mara, from his father's second marriage.
In 1940, following the Soviet occupation of Lithuania, the photo studio was nationalized, and the financial situation of the Aronas family deteriorated. However, Moishe Chaim Aronas did not complain, realizing that, under the Nazis, their lot would be immeasurably worse. On June 22, 1941, the day of the German invasion of the Soviet Union, he was able to send his wife and two daughters eastward with a column of evacuees. On the next day, he himself fled northward with the 15-years-old Abraham Itzhak. Father and son could not proceed past Šiauliai, in northern Lithuania, and several days later both became inmates of the Šiauliai Ghetto. In the spring of 1942, the two were loaded onto a train, to be deported to Nazi camps. However, they were able to escape when the train had stopped near Tauragė, Memelland. There followed six months of eastward wandering, until, in the fall of 1942, they finally crossed into Soviet territory near Viazma, in western Russia. Here, they were detained as former German nationals and sent to Western Siberia. Moishe Chaim died two months after his arrival there, with the cause of death being an undiagnosed cancerous tumor.
Abraham Itzhak was sent to work at a military factory. He escaped from it, was caught and jailed as a "deserter from the labor front". According to his recollections, the prison food was much better than the rations fed to the workers at the factory. To secure his release, the youth volunteered to attend a vocational school and produced fake ID papers, becoming the 18-years-old Aleksandr Aronas from Kaunas, Lithuania.
In October 1943, Aronas was drafted into the Red Army. As a "Lithuanian", he was assigned to the 16th Lithuanian Division of the Red Army, but failed to reach his unit. After some adventures, he was attached to the 87th Guards Rifle Division. With this division, he fought as a foot soldier in southern Ukraine, and later in Belorussia. After an injury and a stint at a hospital, he was transferred to a sapper and construction unit. He would later recall that, despite his German background, he felt nothing but hatred and vengefulness toward the Germans, following his experiences in the ghetto and in German-occupied territory. 1
In September 1944, while fighting in Lithuania, Aleksandr Aronas enlisted in a tank corps as a gunner. He went on to serve in Lithuania and East Prussia – first as a gunner, and later as a driver. In February 1945, he was wounded once more, but was able to return to his unit after a month-long stay at a hospital. His last tank battle took place in late April 1945, in Pillau (East Prussia).
Over the course of the war, Aronas was decorated three times, receiving one medal "For Battle Merit" (as a rifleman) and two medals "For Courage" (as a tankman).
Aronas's stepmother was arrested in 1942 and sentenced to a GULAG camp, where she died in 1945; her daughters Raya and Mara were sent to an orphanage. After his discharge from the army, Aleksandr managed to locate his half-sisters. They settled in Vilnius. Here, Aronas became a student at the Faculty of Architecture of the Academy of Arts. After his graduation, he worked as an architect. In 1972, Aleksandr, his family and sisters immigrated to Israel.
Abraham Itzhak (Alexander) Aronas died in 2012 in Beer Sheva.