Boris Suris (on the right) with Captain Kiselevich, Poland, 1945 (Kiselevich was killed two weeks later)
Boris Suris was born in 1923 in Odessa. He was the youngest child in the family of the well-known local lawyer David Suris. After completing 10-year school, Boris entered the Odessa art school but, in September 1940, began to study architecture at the Odessa Construction Institute. Since he had a good command of German, as well as French, right after being drafted into the Red Army on July 22, 1941, Boris was sent to a school for military translators. After completing the course, in May 1942 as a technical-quartermaster he was sent to the front and in September of that year began translating for the headquarters, of an infantry division fighting on the Don Front near Stalingrad. He was seriously wounded in May 1943 but, after four months in hospital, he returned to the front.
From December 1943 to January 1944, in addition to serving as a translator, he was also head of an intelligence unit. At that time he organized and headed the work of an intelligence group that was sent into enemy territory. He personally took part in capturing "tongues," who under interrogation provided the Soviets with valuable information about the enemy's forces.
For his work in translating and intelligence gathering, Suris was awarded the For Combat Merit Medal and the Orders of the Patriotic War, 2nd class, and of the Red Star. He learned of the end of the war in May 1945 when he was in Czechoslovakia.
After being demobilized in 1946, Suris entered the Leningrad Academy of Arts in the faculty of art history. After graduating, he worked as an editor in the Iskusstvo (Art) Publishing House in Leningrad. He began a well-known specialist on the Leningrad school of graphic artists. Among his works was his 1972 (rare for its time) book on the Jewish artist Tanhum (Anatolii) Kaplan, which dealt in detail with the artist's illustrations for works by Sholem Aleichem, and devoted considerable attention to the depiction of life in theshtetl.
Boris Suris died in Leningrad in 1991.