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Gen. Yaakov Kreizer, Highest Ranking Jew in Soviet Army, Dead

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A Soviet Jew who, as a General of the Army, reportedly was the highest ranking Jewish military figure in the Soviet Union, died last Saturday at the age of 64, according to the Soviet Defense Ministry. The Ministry did not indicate the cause of Gen. Yaakov G. Kreizer’s death. He served as a commander on the Soviet’s western front in World War II.

His promotion in 1962 coincided with growing charges that the Soviet Union was suppressing Jewish religious and cultural life. Nikita Khrushchev, then Soviet Premier, cited Gen. Kreizer’s top military ranking as proof that Soviet Jews were not targets of discrimination. At the start of the Nazi invasion of Russia in 1941, he was one of the first militiamen to become a Hero of the Soviet Union. He received many other decorations including five orders of Lenin. Rising through the ranks before the start of World War II, he was named commander of the First Moscow Motorized Infantry and led an effort to slow down the Nazi blitzkrieg. He had been a deputy to the Russian Republic’s Supreme Soviet and to the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union.

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