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   Yevgeni Ratner as a soldier in the Russian Army in World War I
He was born in Odessa to a very wealthy Jewish- Russian family. On his mother's side, he was related to the highly respectable Peretz Family, whose origins go all the way back to the expulsion from Spain. His father's family, the Ratners, was also blessed with economic entrepreneurship and great wealth, thus as a child, Yevgeny had grown up with a silver spoon in his mouth, as is customarily said about heirs to wealth such as him. Yet all this good was tinged with great sorrow: His mother died giving birth to him and he was given to his aunt and a Swiss au pair, who spoke to him in French from his very first days on earth.
Due to his family ties and skills, he overcame the "Numerus Clausus" (the restriction on the number of Jews) in the Russian school in Odessa, excelled scholastically and experienced first-hand the pogrom against the Jews of the city in 1905 when he was 14. As a result, his family decided to send him to an excellent high school in Germany, from which he graduated with honors. While in Germany, he joined the renowned "Wandervogel" youth movement and left it in a huff when it became clear to him just how prevalent the antisemitism was within it. He ended his letter of farewell from the movement with the German word "Heil!" (hooray!), without even conceiving that that Nazi Party would adopt this cry only a few years later.
He began studying architecture at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, one of the best-known schools at the time. When he returned to Odessa in 1914 for a summer vacation – World War I broke out. The 23-year-old Ratner, who had previously gone through officers' school in the Russian Army but remained a sergeant due to his Judaism, was drafted to the Czar's army and filled a long list of postings at the front, central headquarters and rear echelon units. Among other things, he underwent an Armored Corp training, was seriously injured, recovered and went on to serve in a

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