Alexander Kranzfeld was born in Odessa in 1897 (according to other resources in 1901), and he was the son of the physician Moisei Kranzfeld. Alexander received a medical diploma in 1919, and began to work as an epidemiologist. He was not only a practitioner, but also a theoretician of medicine, writing and publishing articles in major scientific journals. Apart from medicine, he was also interested in literature and the arts, writing poetry and maintaining ties with many artists – and, especially, writers – based in Odessa, including the celebrated Soviet poet Eduard Bagritsky and the famous prose writer and journalist Ilya Ilf. 1916 saw the publication of the poetry collection Insincere Poems, by Kranzfeld and his poet friend Boris Bobovich. In subsequent years, Kranzfeld's poems regularly appeared in the Theater and Cinema magazine and other venues. In the 1920s, he stopped writing literature, but remained interested in it, and kept attending literary events.
Kranzfeld was drafted into the Red Army in 1941, and served as chief military epidemiologist of the 57th Army. One of his friends, who met him in the town of Lozovaya (near Kharkov) in early 1942, would later recall how the two of them spent the night in a dugout, reciting poetry by Boris Pasternak and Anna Akhmatova. Kranzfeld is officially listed as having gone "missing in action" on May 25, 1942, during the retreat of the Soviet army. He was unable to break out of the encirclement – and, according to the testimony of his comrades, he committed suicide.