English Texts

They were many

Nikolai Konishchuk

Commander of the "Kruk" Partisan Detachment

Until the war began I was the chairman of the Village Council in the district of Kameen-Kashirsky, in the Region of Volyn (Western Ukraine). On July 28, 1941, I began to form a group of partisans. Quickly I made connections with the Jews from the village of Gryva and the small town of Maniewicz. Our partisans succeeded in rescuing about 200 Jews from the village and the nearby settlements – men and women who, afterwards, joined my unit. I will tell about several of them who especially excelled.

The scout Avraham Blaustein came upon a group of 20 Germans. He fought against them until he fell with a severe wound.

The Germans grabbed him and brought him, dripping blood, to the Gestapo headquarters in Kameen-Kashirsky.

Here, they tortured him cruelly: they stripped his flesh and broke his ribs.

The Germans demanded that he point out the location of our camp, "The Jewish Unit", as the fascists called my unit. But Avraham bore his suffering with supreme bravery and did not reveal anything to the Germans. He died a true partisan, a loyal and devoted son of his Soviet homeland.

Avraham's brother, Hershel Blaustein, also fell in battle against the Germans.

Volodya Zweibel was an excellent partisan saboteur. Both he and Sender Lissak, a Jew from Rafalovka, died a heroic death. Their murders cost the Germans dearly; in their final battles, they succeeded in destroying many fascists.

Aba Klurman, along with his group, blew up eight trains, killing 200 Germans who were heading toward the front. Aside from this he destroyed 12 cars. He was an alert scout and an excellent commander of his unit. Joseph Blaustein blew up 11 German trains and destroyed eight cars and several tanks.

Itzik Kuperberg, along with his unit, blew up seven trains carrying military equipment and wiped out approximately 80 Germans.

Berl Lorber (called "Malinka") was the commander of a unit composed solely of Jewish partisans. This unit destroyed 24 German trains,18 engines,40 coaches,four large bridges,and 300 Germans. Lorber and his fighters also ruined 28 kilometers of telegraph and telephone lines.

Itzik Zafron was born in 1928. This young partisan joined equally with all the rest in the attacks upon German garrisons and train. He carried out the most difficult and most dangerous missions assigned to him.

Shaya Zarutsky was always in the most dangerous places during a battle. When an especially important mission had to be undertaken, a mission requiring extreme courage, Zarutsky was one of the first to come forth and volunteer. More than once he went out to scout 300 kilometers away to check the places where we could capture arms and military equipment.

Aisik Avruch was one of my most devoted and loyal partisans. He accepted every difficult assignment, no matter what it entailed, and took part in many acts of sabotage against the German conquerors.

Voveh Avruch was our mine technician. He emptied German bombs which did not explode in order to equip our unit with explosive material. He thus supplied us with a large quantity of explosives from the German booty we captured.

Israel Puctik (called "Zalonka") appeared in our unit with his own weapons. He killed several Germans with his own hands and took their rifles. He was awarded the "War for the Fatherland" medal, First Class.

He was appointed to lead one of our units and, along with his comrades-in-arms, he blew up eight German trains. Many times he went out on scouting missions, attacked German command posts, and destroyed bridges.

Hirsh Flash, like Voveh Avruch, extracted caps from air bombs which didn't explode. In this way we obtained explosive material which was sorely needed. Greenberg invented an original method which simplified and speeded up his work. Many German bombs thus became the source of death for the German themselves.

Chasia Blaustein also worked in our "mine factory". She prepared approximately 1000 mines, using very primitive methods. This courageous girl also went out on scouting missions armed with her weapon. She fell during an air-attack on our brigade.

Lov Plus was our radio broadcaster. He coordinated the communications with other partisan groups and with central headquarters in Moscow. He also worked actively on making our mines and took part in many battle operations.

Josheph Zweibel was the leader of a unit. Together with other partisans he blew up trains carrying Germans and destroyed bridges. Also, Yankel Zweibel led a unit which blew up 10 German trains.

Shimon Wolper was one of the organizers of our unit. I have mentioned the names of a small number of the Jewish partisans – those who fought and headed my unit. This small list could be expanded tenfold. There were many like these "Avengers of the People". With entire families Jews escaped from the preying teeth of the enemy, penetrated into the forests, and fought a life- and-death struggle against the conquerors.