Plotkin was born in 1912 in Belorussia . He was drafted for the first time in 1939 – for the Soviet-Finnish war ("Winter War") of 1939-40, as a military truck driver. In 1941 he was drafted again, this time for the Soviet-German War. For the four years of this war, he served as a driver of a Studebaker for the 35th Infantry Division, with the rank of private. Only in April 1945, while in Germany, did Faitel Plotkin ask his superiors to transfer him to active service as a submachine-gunner. His request was accepted, and Plotkin was promoted to the rank of sergeant (or senior sergeant, according to Veniamin Mindlin).
In his memoirs, Lieutenant-Colonel Mindlin, who served in the same unit, with Plotkin, depicted the latter's motives as follows:
"Recently the senior sergeant received from Belorussia the terrible news about the deaths [killing] of his whole family: his wife, their five children, and [other] relatives… I can say that this stern and unfortunate man did not look for any possibility of remaining alive; he knew no fear, but always entered into the very hell of battle. Hatred for the enemy and an incurable inconsolable, hopeless grief ruled him and dulled any instinct for self-preservation."
Faitel Plotkin fell in battle on April 27 or 30 (according to different documents), 1945 in the Berlin quarter of Adlershof. Mindlin wrote thus about Plotkin's death:
"It was his close friend, the commander of a squad of submachine-gunners - Sergeant Chorny, who found the body of the Senior Sergeant Plotkin; our old Plotkin was found lying on the pavement, locked in an embrace of death with a red-haired SS-man. An SS dagger with a Gothic inscription was stuck into the senior sergeant's chest […]. Plotkin's clenched fingers were throttling the throat of the fascist."
Plotkin was posthumously awarded the Order of the Great Patriotic War, 2nd class. The citation accompanying the award noted that during street battles in Berlin Faivel Plotkin liquidated "up to ten" enemy Faustpatron (bazooka) nests.