Iurii Lisman was born in 1923 in the town of Camenca in the Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, as Idel Lisman. His father was a clerk; the family was moderately religious. Idel Lisman finished seven classes of Yiddish school and two classes of Ukrainian school; afterward, he worked at the school.
In June 1941, the Soviet-German War broke out. The Lisman family failed to evacuate and remained under Romanian occupation. In November 1941, they were deported to the town of Bershad in southwestern Ukraine. A month later, they fled to the town of Balta, where the regime seemed to be milder. In March 1944, the Romanian occupation was replaced with a German one. On the eve of their retreat from Balta, the Germans decimated the Jewish population of the town – in particular, they herded the Jewish workers from the railway station into a barn and burned them alive.
In April 1944, Balta was liberated by the Red Army. Lisman was drafted into the so-called "black shirts" – an auxiliary paramilitary unit whose members were not even issued uniforms. Lisman was assigned to guard a prison where former local collaborators with the German and Romanian occupiers were held. After a month of such service, Lisman decided that it was time for him to enlist in the Red Army. He would later recall 1, how he came to his mother and told her: "'You know, I am going to volunteer to serve in the [Red] Army – because, if I don't, what will happen? If I survive, so much the better; if not, such is my fate. But if I don't go [to serve in the Red Army], I won't be permitted to get an education, since I lived under [enemy] occupation and never served in the army. In a word, this would be a stain on my biography'." Thus, he went to the recruitment office, and was enlisted. In July, after undergoing military training, Iurii Lisman was sent to the frontline as a machine gunner. He saw action in Romania and Yugoslavia. On October 5, 1944, he was wounded, and recovered at a hospital in Romania. In February 1945, Lisman was sent to Austria, this time as an anti-tank gunner. He met V-E Day in St. Pölten, Lower Austria.
After the war, Lisman continued his military service in Constanța, Romania, as a military translator from Romanian. In 1946, he was discharged from the army. He later graduated from the Odessa School of Dentistry, and went on to work in this profession, first in his native Camenca, and then in Leningrad (present-day St. Petersburg, Russia). In 1990, Lisman immigrated to Israel, following his son.
- 1. [YVA O.93/26404]