My dad, Boris M. Karasik, was born on October 2, 1921 in the village of Peski in Ukraine. The population was mixed but mostly Ukrainian with just four Jewish families in the village. In 1938 he graduated from the village's High School and came to Kharkov for a higher education. He enrolled into the Kharkov Railroad Transportation Engineering Institute.
In the beginning of September of 1939 all students the members of Komsomol were called to the Komsomol Committee of the Institute. The head of the Committee gave a short speech: "Comrades komsomolians! The war is raging in Poland. The Red Army needs educated young officers." Moved by the appeal, my dad submitted a request of transferring him from the Kharkov Railroad Transportation Engineering Institute to the Kharkov Military College of Communications.
After graduating the College on the fast track in February of 1940 he was assigned to a tank unit as a signal corps officer and sent to fight in the Soviet-Finnish war. By the time the unit reached the front-lines the war was already over and they were re-directed to the Southern Ukraine, where in June of 1940 they entered Bessarabia.
They have been stationed there for a year already when in June of 1941 they received the order to load tanks with live rounds. They were explained that a large military exercise involving live fire was expected. While waiting for the exercise they were unexpectedly bombed by German aircrafts on June 22. They were ordered to retreat. The retreat continued all summer and eventually they ended up at the outskirts of Kharkov, where they lost last tanks during what was later called the first Battle of Kharkov. For the battle dad got his first decoration, Medal for Combat Service.
After that they were sent to the town of Nizhniy Tagil in the Ural mountains, where a new tank plant was just erected. They got new, T-34, tanks and were sent back to the front-lines.
After the war dad stayed with the military, graduated from the Engineering faculty of the Academy of Armored Forces (1948-1954), made several inventions, and retired in 1974 at the rank of colonel. He died of heart attack on September 21, 1991.