Veniamin Galiuz was born in 1911 in Brailov, Ukraine. To the best of our knowledge, he was living in Vinnitsa just before the war.
During the first days of the war, after Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, he was drafted into the Red Army. First he fought on the Southern Front then, from January 1942, on the Volkhov and Leningrad Fronts. In 1944 he took part in the liberation of Lithuania and Poland from the Nazi occupation. In April 1945, as a senior sergeant, he served as an instructor in chemical warfare in a high-caliber howitzer artillery brigade. Although it turned out that chemical weapons were not used during World War II, every Red Army military subunit had people who were responsible for reacting to possible chemical attacks. However, since they were not participating in the combat activity they had trained for, chemist-soldiers like Galiuz often fulfilled other functions. Veniamin Galiuz’s award certificate stated that on more than one occasion he evacuated wounded Red Army men from the battlefield. In Berlin he thus saved the wounded commander of an intelligence unit and brought him to a hospital. For such service and bravery Galiuz was awarded the Defense of Leningrad Medal and the Order of the Red Star.
In 1945 Veniamin Galiuz sent a letter to Ilya Ehrenburg, the most popular Soviet correspondent, whose articles included information about the Nazi mass murder of Jews. Galiuz expressed his feelings about the murder of members of his family and that of the huge number of his fellow Jews by the Nazis, as well as his concern about negative, hostile attitudes toward Jews on the part of Soviet people, as well. He expressed the feelings of a simple provincial Jew and his letters had a number of historical inaccuracies. Although his personality had been formed under Soviet conditions, as noted above, he was familiar with the Jewish traditions kept by his family. In his letter one senses his nostalgia for the traditional Jewish culture that was destroyed along with those whose lives embodied it.