Evsei Krasik was born in 1924 in Gomel, Belorussia. A short time later, his family moved to central Russia, where Evsei spent his childhood. In June 1941, days before the German attack on the Soviet Union, Krasik applied to the prestigious Novosibirsk Military Institute of Transport Engineering (in Western Siberia), and in September 1941 he began his studies at the institute.
Krasik recalled that during his youth he was naïve, believing in Communism and Soviet propaganda. At the Novosibirsk institute he was a komsorg — chairman of the Komsomol (Young Communist League) organization of his faculty, idolized Stalin, and was a fervent Soviet patriot. At one Komsomol meeting he delivered a speech during which he said: "we should be ashamed to be students on the homefront at the time when our friends and brothers are at the front." Krasik must have been a persuasive speaker because the students, all of whom had an exemption from military service, rushed to volunteer to join the Red Army. The military authorities selected many of the volunteers and sent them to nearby Tomsk, to an artillery school (Krasik recalled believing that about 10 percent of its cadets were Jewish). 1
The training was difficult for Krasik, who disliked military discipline and argued with his commanders (in consequence, he was punished). Furthermore, he was not strong. However, he had two main motivations that guided him: his Soviet patriotism and the desire that no other soldier would look at him and say that Jews are cowards. This helped him graduate from the school as a lieutenant. In February 1943, together with his comrades, he arrived at the distribution center in Kolomna (near Moscow). He recalled: "I was eager to get to the front as soon as possible. Other cadets asked 'Why? Are you in a hurry to die?' He also heard the remark 'Jews like the Soviet regime more than others so Krasik wants to give his life for the Soviet regime as soon as possible...'." 2
In the spring of 1943 Lieutenant Evsei Krasik was assigned to the 1004th Howitzer Regiment as the commander of a platoon. He first fought on the Kursk Salient in the summer of 1943. In the fall of that year he fought in the Briansk area, where he was wounded. In the summer of 1944 Senior Lieutenant Krasik fought in the Nevel area (in western Russia) and in eastern Belorussia. His main responsibility, like that of his unit as a whole, was reconnaissance. Toward the end of the war, artillery reconnaissance became his specialty. At the end of 1944 and in 1945 he fought in Eastern Prussia and Pomerania; from February 1945 he participated in the liquidation of the Wehrmacht's Courland Pocket (in Latvia). Under the impact of the reality of the front lines, his Soviet enthusiasm gradually evaporated.
Evsei Krasik was awarded two military orders – that of the Patriotic War and that of the Red Star. He was contused twice (one of the contusions was accompanied by a wound).
After the war, Krasik completed his studies at a medical institute (university). After graduation, he settled in Tomsk, and worked as a psychiatrist. He was one of the leading psychiatrists in Siberia, a professor of the Tomsk University and at the medical institute there, and from 1967 – the head of the Department of Psychiatry at the institute. He published 18 monographs and hundreds of scientific articles.
In 1993 Evsei Krasik immigrated to Israel. He died in 2009.
The Jewish question at the front
For a long time at the front, I served side by side with the brigade commander Colonel N, who had graduated from a military academy before the war, a covert antisemite who even believed in the 'blood libel,' but at the same time had some degree of intelligence…. He constantly said me: 'All Jews are cowards!' I asked him: 'Comrade Colonel, in your brigade, batteries are commanded by Vaisbein, Iaroslavskii, Tishkovskii, and so on. One third of the brigade headquarter's platoon and one third of its reconnaissance are also Jews. As infantry men these people are always on the front lines. And how many of them have already been killed! Which of them is a coward?' N. replied: 'In my brigade, all the Jews are brave, but I heard about one or another, and in general....' No objective arguments could influence him.
Since I was the head of brigade reconnaissance, I always had to be with the brigade commander during meetings with the commanders of the rifle units that we supported with fire. I was shocked by the words of the brigade commander when he introduced me to the infantry commanders: 'This is my reconnaissance man. He is Jewish but he behaves like a Russian!'
Consider [also] Sasha K. – it was simply impossible to speak with him about this matter. Once volunteers were selected to cross a river and to seize a bridgehead. It was necessary to position nine reconnaissance officers at the bridgehead to adjust the fire. They faced certain death.... I said to K.: 'Battalion commander, what do you say? Of the nine volunteers, there are five Jews.'"
In response, Krasik heard from him: 'These are not real Jews. In general, they are all hiding from the front line in Tashkent [Central Asia!]….'
Because of my naivety and youth, I constantly rushed into the heat of battle -- to prove to the antisemites that they were mistaken."
"There were moments when all my patriotism was almost destroyed by a single sentence. The commander of the artillery of the army was due to visit us for an inspection. Usually, during such inspections, shooting was tested, for example, by firing two shells at a target, etc. Successful shooting was always rewarded. The brigade commander asked me to select a battalion commander for the shooting demonstration. I said to him: 'Comrade Colonel, why do we need to select anyone? Here is Semion Vaisbein, the best artilleryman in the division. He has been at the front since the first day of the war. He shoots like a god.' The brigade commander immediately interrupted, saying: 'Fuck your mother! Are you fucking crazy?! The commander cannot stand Jews!'."