Lev Eksler was born in 1922 in Verkhnedneprovsk, in Eastern Ukraine. In 1930, he moved to Leningrad (now St. Petersburg, Russia). With the beginning of the Soviet-German war in June 1941, Eksler volunteered to join the Red Army despite the fact that he had an exemption from military service (due to an illness of the spine). In July 1941, Eksler was assigned to the 3rd Rifle Division of the Leningrad civilian militia, which was to fight in the North. According to his estimate, Jews constituted 10% of the division. Eksler became a communications man of an artillery battalion. At the end of August 1941, Eksler was shell shocked and sent to a military hospital.
After his release, Eksler was transferred to take part in the defense of Leningrad. His military rank was raised – to that of sergeant -- and he was made commander of a communications unit of an artillery battalion. The fall of 1941 was a time of retreat for the Red Army. Men in Eksler's division began to desert.
"Soldiers said openly: 'What are the Germans to us, we have already worked to the point of exhaustion [under the Soviets], [under the Germans] we will work the same way, the hell will be the same." I remember one deserter […] saying: 'Let the Jews fight, there are a lot of them here [in the division]'" – Eksler recalled in 1990. However, despite great losses of personnel, Eksler's division continued to fight. In November Eksler suffered three wounds simultaneously. He spent the winter in a military hospital in Novosibirsk, in Siberia and was then released from army service.
However, within a short time Eksler went to the command of the Novosibirsk military district and asked to be sent back to the frontlines. "They read my [release] letter from the hospital at looked at me as like I was an idiot" – Eksler noted. Nevertheless, they sent him on to the local enlistment office. There the chairman of the commission asked Eksler only one question in reaction to his German-sounding name: "Are you German by origin?" When the answer was an unambiguous "No!," the chairman accepted him into the Red Army and sent him to an artillery school.
In August 1942 Second Lieutenant Eksler was sent to the Voronezh Front as the commander of a howitzer platoon. The Stalingrad operation was commencing and he went on to fight German, Hungarian, Italian, and Romanian troops that were attempting to advance eastward. During this period Eksler was awarded the Order of the Red Banner.
In February 1943, while repulsing an enemy tank offensive with his howitzer platoon, Eksler was seriously wounded. He underwent a number of operations, and had to leave the army. In 1943-1944 he lived in Novosibirsk. After the war, he returned to Leningrad, where he simultaneously worked and studied at a teachers' seminary. Then he was a chemistry teacher.
In the 1990s Lev Eksler moved to Israel, where he died in 2001.
 From an interview taken by Semion Uzin, published in Ocherki evreiskogo geroizma, vol. 3. Kiev, 1997, pp. 150-155.