Gennady (Khena) Lvovich Shikhelman was born in 1921 in a Jewish shtetl in Odesa Oblast, Ukraine. He was drafted in 1939, and his combat experience included the Kalinin Front, Battle of Rzhev, Smolensk Front, 2nd Baltic Front, and Courland Pocket. He was wounded near Rzhev in 1942. After the hospital, Shikhelman was appointed head of an intelligence division. Awarded the Order of the Red Star, he celebrated victory in Riga, Latvia. After demobilization, Shikhelman entered the Odesa Polytechnic Institute and worked as the head of the research sector at the Odesa Machine-Tool Plant. He married Yulia Grigorievna Tyagai in 1951 and in 1990 emigrated to the US with his family. Shikhelman’s archive includes his letters from the front to his family. Gennady died in 1994. Interview was recorded with Yulia Shikhelman in Lost Angeles on March 13, 2009.


A German spy infiltrates a Red Army platoon.