Iuda (Yehuda or Iurii) Kaganovich was born in 1920 in Kiev. He studied in the faculty of literature at the University of Kiev. At the beginning of the war he was evacuated to the Soviet rear. However, in September 1942 in Kazan, he was drafted into the Red Army. As a lieutenant he served as a military translator in an infantry division and from August 1943 as a broadcaster in German for a field radio station. At the same time he engaged in intelligence activities. On more than one occasion, carrying out a reconnaissance mission and making use of his knowledge of German, he took part in capturing "iazyki" (literally "tongues", meaning enemy soldiers who could be made to talk), and bringing them to the headquarters of the division, where they provided valuable information. A number of times when he was head of an intelligence group of six men, he ran into enemy fire and displayed considerable courage. For such intelligence activity between December 1943 and April 1944 he received 3 military honors – the Order of the Patriotic War, 2nd class, the Order of Bogdan Chmielnicki, 3rd class, and the Order of the Red Star.
Kaganovich was killed on August 26, 1944 during the Iaşi-Kishinev (Chișinău) operation.
Boris Slutskii about Iurii Kaganovich
The poet Boris Slutskii, who was an officer in the Red Army during the war, described a meeting with Iuda (Iurii) Kaganovich:
"One of the broadcasters via the division's propaganda loudspeakers, Iurka [Iurii] Kaganovich, a young fellow, a [former] student of the Kiev [University] literature faculty (whose poetry was probably not bad), asked to take leave from his job and undertake intelligence missions. He was a quick-tempered and withdrawn person. At work, on enemy territory, he would use his fists on his fellow intelligence operatives who would not obey him, striking them in the face and around the eyes with his weak fists.
In 1944, when for three weeks the Soviet army was quite ignorant about the situation of the enemy and the Soviet intelligence officers were three times a day either threatened with being transferred to a 'punishment' unit [i.e. of being sent to certain death] or being promised a sea of vodka, he [Kaganovich] crawled into enemy trenches and, hailing in a good German a snow-covered sentry and then gagging him, together with three other intelligence operatives from his group dispatched to capture [a 'tongue'], put him into a state that was convenient for bringing him through mine fields. In the course of three months, he captured seven 'tongues.' This was the work of a whole intelligence company (a successful one)! He was proud, even arrogant. In the period of half a year he received four military honors, which was quite rare even for the commander of a division. He was upset at the beating of POWs during interrogation. But he changed radically: he became merciless toward the fritzes [Germans], personally shooting all of those superfluous prisoners after he had seen what was left at one of the 'death camps.' During the Iassy (Iaşi) - Kishinev (Chișinău) operation, when thousands of columns of unguarded fritzes sought to be taken prisoner and cart drivers collected forage caps full of wrist watches, with six other intelligence personnel, Kaganovich, settled on a hill and began to spray automatic weapon fire on the defenseless, exhausted fritzes. At first, they ran away but then turned and trampled the intelligence men. Kaganovich's body was found later. The huge Order of Bogdan Chmielnicki [that he was wearing] was ripped off his chest with a dagger or knife, along with his military shirt, underwear, and some of his flesh. Not long before his death, he said to me: 'My comrades are surprised, they can hardly believe that I am a Jew. Major Kaliada said to me: 'What kind of a Jew are you? You are a Jewish gypsy.' And Kaganovich added angrily: 'All of this is right, well deserved.'"
Boris Slutsky, Zapiski o voine (Notes about the War), St. Petersburg, 2000, pp. 153-154.