The philosopher Teodor Oizerman was born in 1914, in a Jewish family living in the village of Petrovirivka in the Odessa Province. Shortly after his birth, the family moved to Novomoskovsk in the Dnepropetrovsk Province. After the Revolution of 1917, Teodor's parents worked as teachers at a public boarding school. Apart from his teaching job, Ilya Oizerman, Teodor's father, was also head of the local Jewish self-defense squad, which guarded the town against pogroms.
In 1922, Ilya Oizerman died, and his widow, Teodor's mother, moved with her children to Dnepropetrovsk, where she continued to work as a teacher. Teodor Oizerman finished high school in that city in 1930, and began to attend the industrial school of the local locomotive factory.
From an early age, Teodor Oizerman wrote poems, which were published in Ukrainian in one of the Komsomol newspapers.
In the late 1920s, Teodor's mother was fired from her teaching job, since she could not speak Ukrainian. Knowledge of this language had become mandatory for teachers following the reorganization of Russian schools into Ukrainian ones, as part of the policy of "Ukrainization".
In 1931, the Oizerman family moved to the town of Kolchugino in Vladimir Oblast. There, Teodor's mother began to teach at a local school, while Teodor became an electrician at a metalworking factory.
At the same time, Teodor began to write short stories, which were published in magazines. One of his stories was positively reviewed by the émigré Russian critic Georgy Adamovich in a Paris newspaper. However, his short story collection On the Peksha was rejected by the state publishing house, and Teodor abandoned his dream of becoming an author.
In the mid-1930s, Teodor Oizerman moved to Moscow, where he found employment as a fitter at a construction combine, while simultaneously attending a workers' faculty (rabfak). These faculties had been created in 1919 in order to educate Soviet peasants and workers, preparing them for institutions of higher learning. After graduating from the rabfak, Teodor Oizerman enrolled in the faculty of philosophy of the elite Moscow Institute of Philosophy, Literature, and History (IFLI).
In 1938, after receiving his degree, Teodor Oizerman became a postgraduate student at the Institute, and in 1940 he began to teach at Moscow State University. A year later, Oizerman defended a candidate's thesis on the subject of "The Marxist-Leninist Theory of the Transformation of Necessity into Liberty."
In late June 1941, following the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, Oizerman was drafted into the army and sent to an officers' school. After finishing it, he initially served as a political commissar in an air defense division deployed near the front line. He was then dispatched to the front. In the summer of 1943, he was shell-shocked in one of the battles of the Kursk Salient, but returned to active duty. He now served as an instructor in the Political Department of the 6th Army, combining these duties with those of an interpreter at the interrogation of German POWs. Oizerman met V-E Day in Breslau (present-day Wrocław, Poland). He went on to serve for another year in Vienna, where the central group of Soviet forces was deployed, and he worked with the city's civilian population. In the course of the war, Teodor Oizerman was awarded the Order of the Patriotic War, 2nd class, and medals.
After being discharged from the military, he returned to Moscow.
From 1947, Oizerman taught at the History of Foreign Philosophy Department of the Lomonosov Moscow State University, initially as a docent (associate professor). In 1953, after defending a doctoral dissertation, he was appointed department head. From 1962, Oizerman also served as professor at the Higher Party School.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Teodor Oizerman worked at the Institute of Philosophy of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, where he was in charge of the section of the History of West European and American Philosophy. He was a member of the Anti-Zionist Committee of the Soviet Public (AZCSP), which was established in 1983.
That same year (1983), he received the USSR State Prize for his monograph Making of the Marxist Philosophy.
Teodor Oizerman authored Marxist works on Hegel, Schelling, Fichte, and Kant. He also edited the six-volume Collected Works of Immanuel Kant.
From 1994, Oizerman held a senior post at the Russian-German Center for the Study of Modern German Philosophy and Sociology.
Teodor Oizerman died in 2017, at the age of 102. He is buried at the Troyekurovskoye Cemetery in Moscow.