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Arkady Shulman

Memories of V. M. Lesnikov

Memories of Ludmila Surkova




Atalia Belenkaya



I was only 11 when the Great Patriotic war broke out. Naturally, I did not know everything, but I did know some things better than others, and I participated personally in certain events.

The locals who survived the war can still remember the cold autumn of 1941, when Germans and Nazi policemen took all the Jewish people from Liady to the town’s north-western suburb. Later came a carriage, and as it was approaching we heard mothers crying: we saw young men and women, horribly mutilated. Those were Komsomol activists, who, as we had expected, had left to the battlefront… Those were Izya Yuhvich, Isaak Kuznetsov, Sara Malkina, Tania Kalner and… a lieutenant from Minsk. Nobody in Liady knew him. I had seen him only twice before.

Everyone in Liady must remember the day when the first partisans were executed in front of everyone. Then all locals were taken to an old Jewish cemetery, where the Nazis forcefully separated men and women, parents and children with the help of rubber batons, then flogged young men and women with tree rods and threw them into a barnyard. In the morning they took the people’s valuables and warm clothes. Later they selected 27 men for execution… All of them were from Liady, my peers, some older. This was the end of the first campaign in Liady…

Just as adults, we did not have any doubts that the war was going to start. We only did not know when. When the War actually broke out, we knew how to dig shelter trenches, for example. The war was unexpected for the country, but not for us – boys from Liady. We went on playing, this time for real.

In the middle of July, 1941 my cousin Haim and I turned out in a real battle. Haim, my closest friend, organized a special brigade, named Gavrosh, made up of pioneers.

During those tragic events our brigade was doing things that nobody suspected of, even our parents were unaware of that. We collected Soviet and enemy weapons and ammunition after battles, caught 17 army horses, many of which were wounded. We were certain that the Red Army would come back and liberate us from the occupation. However the war was not ending…

The brigade existed until the end of 1941. Then there was a ghetto…

On the first day of Easter, April 2nd, 1942, Liady ghetto was eliminated by Germans.

I escaped the execution and turned out in a partisan brigade “Kolki”. Our leader Haim was already there. At the end of May or beginning of June, I don’t remember for certain, policemen caught Haim near a village called Baltutino. They tied him up and put him onto a carriage. As soon as the carriage came close to a bush, he jumped off and rushed into it. That was followed by shootings.

He met some girls near Gorbovo who untied his swollen hands. The right shoulder was wounded and he had lost a lot of blood.

In the August of 1942 Haim was caught again and delivered to a prison in Krasnino. In order to avoid tortures, he gnawed through the veins on his arm and bled to death…

My father was killed, too. I was lucky to survive. I invented a story that I came from an orphanage in Smolensk (this was the legend I used during all the war years) and wandered in forests in search of partisans. Perhaps that was the most difficult period from the three years of occupation.

In the March of 1943 I joined a Special partisan regiment “Thirteen” commanded by V. Grishin. In 1944 I was sent to the home front to get some medical treatment and study. I graduated from Kazan Suvorov military officer school. However I didn’t have a long military career: the war negatively affected my health…

Jewish settlements in Vitebsk region

Vitebsk Albrehtovo Babinovichi Baran Bayevo Begoml Beshenkovichi Bocheikovo Bogushevsk Borkovichi Braslav Bychiha Chashniki Disna Dobromysli Dokshitsy Druya Dubrovno Glubokoye Gorodok Kamen Kohanovo Kolyshki Kopys Krasnopolie Kublichi Lepel Liady Liozno Lukoml Luzhki Lyntupy Miory Obol Oboltsy Orsha Osintorf Ostrovno Parafianovo Plissa Polotsk Prozorki Senno Sharkovshina Shumilino Sirotino Slaveni Smolyany Surazh Tolochin Ulla Verhnedvinsk Vidzy Volyntsy Yanovichi Yezerishe Zhary Ziabki

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