Leizer Kalter was born in 1922 in the town of Oświęcim, Poland, the youngest of seven siblings. His father David, a shoykhet, died when Leizer was a year and a half old. His mother opened a shop. The family belonged to the Hasidim of Belz and was very pious. At the age of three, Leizer was sent to study in a kheder and, only when he was seven, sent to study at a general Polish school. Upon graduating from school, Leizer rejected both the exhortations of his maternal relatives to study at a yeshiva and the proposal of his brother Simha to join him in his goldsmith business. Instead, Leizer decided to work as a courier for a bank.
On the first day of the German invasion of Poland, September 1, 1939, the town of Oświęcim was bombed and shelled. Leizer left the town with a column of other refugees. The attempt to flee failed and Leizer was interned in a forced labor camp near Oświęcim. During the demolition of a synagogue in a nearby town, Leizer hid the holy books from it and, thus, saved them from destruction. He was brutally beaten by Germans, who promised that this was only the beginning of his punishment. That night he escaped from the camp and arrived at the demarcation line between the German and Soviet zones of occupation in Poland. After many adventures, in the spring of 1940 he crossed the new border and found himself on the Soviet side – one of hundreds of Jewish refugees in Eastern Galicia. Leizer spent the following year as a typical refugee – with no valid documents except for a temporary ID, no home, and no work -- from time to time, being arrested by the Soviet authorities.
In June 1941, some days before the German attack on the Soviet Union, Leizer Kalter was apprehended on a street of the town of Zborów (now Zboriv, Ukraine), where he was staying at this time, and drafted into the Red Army. He was assigned to the 66th Reserve Battalion. The war began for him with the Red Army retreat eastward because Kalter did not even undergo military training. During an enemy air raid on their column, since Leizer lagged behind his battalion, he was caught by two Soviet soldiers and narrowly escaped being executed as a spy. The counter-espionage unit to which Leizer was brought found in his pockets not only letters written in an unknown alphabet (Hebrew), but also envelopes that he had brought from the German-occupied Poland and that had stamps with a portrait of Hitler. Furthermore, Leizer's Russian had a strong non-Russian accent. His interrogators decided that he was a spy who should be executed. Leizer's life was saved by a Soviet major, who was Jewish and appeared suddenly at the execution site. The major arranged a test to ascertain whether Kalter was Jewish or not: he asked Kalter questions about the Jewish holidays and for words in Yiddish. When he thus proved that Kalter was Jewish, the major ordered that he be freed.
After training in a camp near Kharkov, in Ukraine, Kalter was assigned to a parachute unit, which was to infiltrate an occupied area in Ukraine in order to support the partisan movement that was emerging there. During the training Kalter was seriously injured. This literally saved his life. The assault of his unit was ill prepared and all its members, except Kalter, were killed. His injury led to a long stay in a hospital, from which he was released in the fall of 1942 and was sent to Stalingrad.
At Stalingrad Kalter fought in the area of the tractor factory. One of the problems faced by the fighters in this area was with food. The only way to bring some food to them was by rafts sent at night from the left, eastern side of the Volga River. The Germans set up two machine-gun bunkers opposite the place to which the rafts were crossing and succeeded in sinking them. A group of 12 volunteers was formed in Kalter's regiment to destroy the bunkers. Kalter was one of the volunteers. All of them donned white camouflage cloaks and crawled through the snow to the bunkers. After some time, Kalter realized that he was alone; but he felt that the Germans had not noticed him. He managed to approach one of the bunkers and threw a heavy grenade into its embrasure. When he discovered that the bunker had been put out of action, Kalter took the German machine-gun back to his regiment. At headquarters, he found out that his comrades had returned back to the base, and declared to the commander that the mission was impossible. By himself, Kalter proved that it was not. When he entered the headquarters with the German machine-gun, he heard the derisive question of the commander: "Where did you find that machine gun?" In his memoir Kalter stated that there was something antisemitic about this question. He replied: "Are there any other men who found such things?" Subsequently his commander recommended Eliezer for a medal and promised that he would be also be awarded an order. However, Kalter never received the latter.
In subsequent fighting, Kalter was wounded again. After treatment in a hospital in Western Siberia, he was released from the army in 1943 and remained in Siberia. There he learned how to be a welder and then worked at a military plant.
In 1945, in the course of the repatriation of Polish citizens to Poland, Kalter left the Soviet Union. In the same year, he left Poland for Czechoslovakia and then, via Austria and Italia, he was able to sail to Palestine in 1947 on one of the ships of aliya-bet – the illegal immigration movement that brought Holocaust survivors to the Land of Israel. His ship was intercepted by the British, and Kalter had to spend a year in a British camp in Cyprus. In 1948, he arrived to Israel, where he married another survivor of the Holocaust from Poland. The couple had children and grandchildren.
Eliezer Kalter died in 2003. He is buried at the cemetery in Nes Ziona.
 Eliezer Kalter, Hilazta nafshi mi-mavet, Jerusalem, 2002, pp. 83-84.