Moisei Sosner was born in 1900 in Vitebsk. Before the war began, he moved to Moscow with his wife Roza and their two children. In 1943, at the age of 43, he was conscripted as a private but was later promoted to be the commander of an ammunition supply department. The highest rank Sosner reached was that of senior sergeant.
Sosner did not receive any orders of distinction but he was awarded some medals. The citation that accompanied the Medal of Military Merit that he was awarded in October 1943 stated: "… during the fighting for the city of Chernigov and of the forced crossing of the Dnieper River he continued to supply our advanced units with ammunition, often delivering it under enemy fire." The citation that accompanied second medal, this time For Bravery, in August 1944, was similar, but included two additional details: Sosner captured some enemy ammunition (81-mm mortar mines), which was then used against the enemy. In that year, he wrote in the diary that he kept during the war: "It was a great pleasure [for me] to see the Fritzes mowed down with their own ammunition." Furthermore, Sosner was not only a supplier of ammunition, he was also a sapper. According to his diary, more than once he took part in combat.
While advancing with his unit and entering newly liberated towns from Orel in Russia to Poland, Sosner tried to learn about the fate of Jews under the Nazi rule in each area. Hearing accounts of the mass murder of local Jews sometimes made this strong man cry. He also felt a great desire for revenge.
Sosner was killed in battle near Wismar, in German Pomerania on May 4, 1945, just four days before the end of the war.
From the diary of Moisei Sosner
During the war, Itsik Fefer, an assistant editor-in-chief of the newspaper Eynikayt called for Jewish front-line fighters to send materials about Jewish participation in the war effort for publication on the pages of the newspaper. In November 1944, in response to Fefer's call, Sosner sent three excerpts from his diary. The following is taken from this diary:
Written on April 6, 1944, in the Western Ukraine (formerly Poland):
"Our battalion is marching in the direction of Kamień Koszyrski, near Kowel... Children and one woman have come out of their houses. Standing close to us, they want to talk with [us] Red Army soldiers. A kid of perhaps 12 or 13 is looking on me, but he cannot find a way to begin. I break the silence first, asking: "What is your name, boy?" The kid answers: ""Ivan Bondarchuk." I feel that his answer is false and dictated by fear. Instinctively, I feel that he was Jewish. I call him aside and, in a low voice, ask him in Yiddish: "Are you a Jew?" "Yes!" the pretend Ivan Bondarchuk replies with joy. – "Are you a Jew too?" the kid asks incredulously."
The boy (whose real name was Samuil Iunovich) invited Sosner to the house where his four sisters and cousins were living.
"At this point, I ignored the strict order banning our entering the houses of the local population," wrote Sosner in his diary. He entered the house – not only despite the order, but also despite the fact that some members of this family there were suffering from typhus. The Iunovich family, which had lived in the town of Ratno before the war, was saved by the Ukrainian peasant Sergei Pinkevich, who decided to hide in his village several Jews - the projectionist from the local movie house, a doctor, and the Iunovichs. Young Samuil also told Sosner how his small brother Itsik and his mother were killed. "Although I tried not to, I cried together with the rest of this family, weeping and mourning" – wrote Sosner. – … When I left them, I shook [Samuil's] hand and said that the Red Army would exact revenge for the blood and tears of the innocent people, as would our Allies… I vowed that I wouldn't forget Itsik Iunovich until I myself was swallowed by the grave." It should be noted that Sosner's diary was sprinkled with citations from the Bible.
From: GARF 8114-1-64, copy YVA JM/26098.