Efim (Chaim) Diskin was born on January 1923 into a family of farmers in the village of Kadima in the Dzhankoi Region of the Crimea. Simultaneously with his school studies, he learned to play the violin. He then moved to Kursk, where he graduated from middle school in 1940 and then enrolled at Moscow's Institute of Philosophy, Literature, and History, the most popular Soviet institution of higher education in the humanities.
In July 1941, a month after the German invasion of the USSR, he volunteered to join the Red Army. After completing military school, where he specialized in anti-aircraft artillery, he was assigned to an artillery regiment of the 16th Army, commanded by Konstantin Rokossovskii. In November 1941, in view of the serious threat to Moscow, 37-millimeter artillery weapons were converted into anti-tank weapons and Diskin's regiment was transformed into an anti-tank one.
On November 17, 1941, while his unit was attempting to repulse a tank attack, Diskin's cannons were the last to continue firing. He personally destroyed 4 enemy tanks. Diskin was the sole survivor of his battery, although he suffered from multiple wounds, some quite serious.
It was said that either Marshal Georgii Zhukov or General Konstantin Rokossovskii personally observed this battle from a command point. On April 12, 1942 Efim Diskin was "posthumously" awarded the honor of Hero of the Soviet Union. While he was in the hospital, Diskin heard that he had been awarded this top Soviet military distinction.
On August 25, 1941 Eynikayt, the Yiddish newspaper of the Jewish Anti-fascist Committee published the article "Hero of the Soviet Union Chaim Diskin" by Rakhmiel Fish. The editors sent a copy of the article to Diskin in the hospital. He responding by sending a letter of thanks to the editors, which they published. This letter reflects the feelings of many Soviet Jews. It also somewhat exceeds the usual Soviet ideological framework.
Diskin was in Soviet hospitals until 1944. Then he totally changed profession, entering the Military-Medical Academy, from which he graduated in 1947. Thereafter he engaged in medical research, defending his doctoral dissertation in 1961. From 1967 until his retirement in 1988 Diskin headed the department of normal anatomy at the Military-Medical Academy. In 1981 he was awarded the rank of major-general in the Medical Service. Efim Diskin died in 2012 in St. Petersburg.