Lazar Kaplan, after World War II
Lazar Kaplan was born in 1917 in the village of Skorodnoe in Gomel County, Belorussia. After completing a 7-year school, he studied at the Taganrog Aviation Technical School and then at the Leningrad Artillery School. He was awarded the Order of the Red Banner for his participation in the 1940 winter war against Finland.
Kaplan fought on various fronts from the very beginning of the Soviet-German war. In February 1942, during the defense of Sevastopol, Kaplan "… personally led the fight to repulse a fierce tank attack of the enemy, launched several counterattacks, and was wounded four times but did not leave the battlefield. During that combat he personally set one tank afire and killed about 30 Hitlerites…." In the summer of 1944 when he was assistant commander of an artillery regiment, Major Kaplan took part in battles in Latvia. On July 18, together with a group of intelligence officers and only a single large-scale weapon, he broke into the village of Lauderi and, under heavy enemy fire, occupied a ford; this enabled a larger Soviet force to engage in battle for the town of Rēzekne on July 27, 1944. Kaplan not only directed fire at the enemy but also headed the infantry attack even though that was not part of his duties. For these and other combat services on March 24, 1945 Kaplan was honored as Hero of the Soviet Union.
He continued in military service after the war, concluding his career in 1959 as commander of an artillery division. After he retired, while remaining in the reserves Kaplan settled in Voronezh, where he died on June 10, 1994.