Mikhail Chubak was born in 1921 in Odessa. His father Kalmen was a cobbler, as was his maternal grandfather. His mother was a seamstress. The family was religiously observant. In 1928, Mikhail began to attend a Yiddish school, but quit it after completing the 7th grade at the behest of his father, who wished to make him a cobbler. Mikhail disliked this profession and went to study at the so-called Ievrabmol (the Faculty of Jewish Working Youth). There, Mikhail learned an industrial trade, and went to work at a factory in 1938. In September 1940, he was drafted into the Red Army, and served in a special chemical battalion in the newly annexed Western Ukraine. At the time of the outbreak of the Soviet-German War in June 1941, Mikhail was stationed in Rovno.
Mikhail’s regiment retreated. In July 1941, while passing through the Zhitomir region in Ukraine, he and another soldier, a Russian named Vasilii, were ordered to drive cattle from that area eastward. In the end, the two found themselves behind the lines of the advancing German army, and stayed in a Ukrainian village. The Germans, who rarely bothered to show up there, had no interest in Mikhail’s ethnicity, and neither did the Ukrainian peasants.
In November 1941, a small Soviet partisan unit, whose primary mission at the time was recruiting peasants and other individuals into the partisan movement, offered Mikhail and his comrade to join them. Vasilii refused and stayed in the village, but Chubak joined. From November 1941 until December 1943, he fought as a partisan in northern Ukraine, taking part in many military operations. In December 1943, the area was liberated by the Red Army, and Chubak was sent to a hospital in Ovruch to have his skin diseases treated. After being hospitalized for more than two months, Chubak was sent to attend a brief military course. After completing it, he was attached to the 957th Rifle Regiment, in the rank of sergeant. With this regiment, he took part in the Lvov-Sandomierz Offensive in July-August 1944, fighting in Poland, and later in Czechoslovakia and Germany. In February-April 1945, he took part in the occupation of Breslau; the city did not surrender until May 6, 1945. After the war, Mikhail was reunited with his mother, whom he had thought dead, in Novosibirsk, Western Siberia. She, too, had received a notification that Mikhail had fallen in battle. They met in a village near Novosibirsk, where she was working. Chubak’s father Kalmen, who had Mikhail Chubak was wounded twice: once in July 1941, and then in 1945. He was awarded the Order of Glory, 3rd class, two medals “For Courage”, and some other medals. His highest rank was senior sergeant.
After the war, Chubak returned to Odessa. He served in the police, and later worked at a factory.