Kreiser, Jacob Grigoryevich

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KREISER, JACOB GRIGORYEVICH (1905–1969), Jewish general in the Soviet army and one of the most famous Jewish fighters in the Russian campaign against Nazi Germany in World War ii. Born in Voroniezh, the son of a former *Cantonist and a small merchant, he joined the Red Army in 1921. In 1923 he graduated from the Voronezh Infantry Officers' School, and in 1931 he finished the Higher Officers' School. From 1923 to 1941 he served in the Moscow Proletarian Division, where he was promoted from company commander to commander of the division. In 1941 he graduated from courses at the Frunze War Academy. When war broke out he commanded the Moscow Proletarian Infantry Division, distinguishing himself in the defense of the approaches to Moscow, for which he was made a Hero of the Soviet Union. Shortly after, Kreiser was appointed commander of the Third Army, responsible for directing operations on the Kalinin front (1941). Later he commanded the Third Army on the Yelets front; he was appointed commander of the Second Army, and then of the 51st, which fought fiercely on the Rostov and Donbass fronts. He took part in the Melitopol campaign and helped to destroy German forces in western Ukraine and later to liberate Crimea and the Baltic States. During the war he was a member of the Jewish Anti-fascist Committee. In 1953 he refused, like *Ehrenburg and the singer Reisen, to sign a petition inspired by the authorities asking to execute the accused in the Doctors' Trials. In July 1945 Kreiser was promoted to the rank of colonel-general and in April 1962 to the rank of general of the army. In 1962 he was elected deputy to the U.S.S.R. Supreme Soviet and continued to serve in the army, becoming commander of several military districts, among them the Far East region with headquarters at Vladivostok, and from May 15, 1969, he served as supervisor and adviser in the Defense Ministry. He died in Moscow on November 29, 1969.


Istoriya Velikoy Otechestvennoy Voyny Sovetskogo Soyuza, 19411945, 2 (1961), 39, 281; 3 (1961), 318; 5 (1962), 89, 191, 358; Who's Who in the U.S.S.R. (1966), 446; Bagramian, in: Voyenny Vestnik, 10 (1964).

[Mordechai Kaplan /

Shmuel Spector (2nd ed.)]