Ilya Abramovich Litvin was born on January 16, 1924 in Odessa, Ukraine.  On June 21, 1941 Litvin celebrated his high school graduation ball and on the following morning learned that Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union.  In May 1942 he became a cadet at an artillery school and was sent to the Front by December.  Participating in the Bryansk and 1st Central Belorussian Fronts, Litvin fought in the Battle of Kursk, crossing of the Dnepr and Vistula Rivers, and the storming of Berlin.  Wounded four times during the course of the war, Litvin was awarded with the Order of the Red Star, Order of the Great Patriotic War 1st and 2nd degrees and Order of the Red Banner.  After the war Litvin returned to Odessa and completed studies at “Evrolom,” school for young Jewish workers, then technical school, foundry department, and finally the North-Western Leningrad Polytechnical Institute, long-distance studies, department of metallurgy.  He worked at the “October Revolution” factory in Odessa.  Interview was recorded in Odessa, 2009.  

I asked mom: who are we at war with?

I worried that someone might accuse me of being afraid.

When I woke up, we were already far out at sea.

How did I win the war? Dad died, mom died, sister died.