The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Life and Fall of Wlodowa

The Memorial Book of Wlodawa

The partisan founders in Wlodowa

During one of the March nights in the year 1943, after a few months of preparation a group of 10 men under the leadership of Moshe Lichtenberg was on its way to the forest. The group contained Jews from the ghetto, from Falkenberg camp and Moshe came from the Adampol camp. These ten: Moshe Lichtenberg, Motel Rosenberg, Jankele Wolk, Moshe Falbmann, Lion Nmaser (not from Wlodowa, but escaped from German imprisonment), Asalke Bornstein, Isralke Fishein and three others, Abarbanel from our region and some others whose names I do not remember were the first founders of the Jewish partisans from Wlodowa.

The men of Lichtenberg purchased some weapons during their preparations. The others were unarmed and remained in town, they moved to the forest after the "Judenrein Aktzia" I left the camp Adampol in July 1943. After a lot of wandering I found the group of Wlodowa.

In the position

The partisan group from Wlodowa fixed their position in the forest about 10 or 15 km from Adampol.

The forester Papisk knew about us and helped us. We drew our water from his courtyard. The group had already contained 40 people. There was also the Pole from Wlowoda, Wladek Koslowski, who had escaped from the "Laszinioko" (hut of the forester).

The group used him as a messenger between Wlodowa and Adampol. Once he went as a messenger to our people to the Falkenberg camp and also to bring medicines from the district doctor Sichowski, who helped the partisans. On his way he also went to the barbershop to cut his hair and to shave. When he was already soaped up, he saw in the mirror in front of him an SS-man saying: "Ha"nde Hoch!" meaning hands up. He was arrested with his faced soaped. Without taking into account that he was armed with two guns and a bomb, he was liberated. He was sent back to the "Achasze" where the partisans lived. We suspected that he was an agent and informed all the partisans of the region. We searched him quite a long time and did not find him.

In the battle

Our most difficult task was the supply of food. The Poles hated the partisans and the Jewish partisans especially. During the night nearly the whole group of us went to bring food. Four men remained in the position: I, Hashke, Andsje, Chaja and some other young men among them Jasha.

Suddenly we heard nearby shots. We got up from our places and everyone ran where he could. I entered the bushes. I wounded my hand and my leg but I continued.

After the shots had stopped, I heard a noise among the bushes. I stopped. The steps approached and in the light of the moon I saw the shadow of Jasha. I was very releived because Jasha knew all the paths of the forest.

We approached our position. Jasha whistled our slogan whistle and he was answered by a similar whistle. When we arrived at the position all were ready to leave the place. On the way we learnt the reason for the shots.

When our men had gone to bring food, they also wanted to visit the forester Papinski, as usual. From far our four men saw that in the yard a German was standing and washing. Moshe gave order to enclose the house of the forester and he himself with some men went to the German. "Ha"nde hoch!" he imitated the screams of the Germans. Immediately he lifted his hands. Another German came out of the house and he was seized. He screamed and he was silenced by a bullet. Two other Germans, as it seemed, had heard his shouts and started firing through the windows. Our men fired back and killed them. One German slipped away and disappeared. In this fight Monik Bornstein was wounded and the son of Abraham Hillel.

After this action we became 4 guns richer which could not be weighed in gold, we also got other military equipment. On one of the Germans we found a map of the forest and where our position was marked.

The feelings of revenge of which everyone was seized by the killing of the Germans and the 4 guns animated our paths. Our courage increased and we became confident that one day the day of real revenge would arrive.

Crossing the Bug

Our situation became worse and worse from day to day: the farmers hated the partisans the shepards betrayed the place of our position to the Germans and we were forced to rush from forest to forest. One day two Russians, Kolka and Waska came from the other side of the Bug. They told us that on the other side all the villages were already under the supervision of the partisans who had there an easier life. They advised us to move to the other side.

We already consisted of 100 men. The group from the "Achosze" joined us. It contained many from the surroundings of Wlodowa and Russia.

The Russians knew where we could easily cross the river and we went in the direction of the Bug. This time the Russians went astray and we erred through the night. The sun rose and we became confused. One part wanted to return and the other part proposed to wait in the bushes until night-fall. The result was that those demanding to return had all the weapons including the only machine gun we had captured.

We, a small group most of which women, remained with 10 guns, and three Russians one of them Waska, Kolka had returned. We laid all the night between the bushes near Slowitz opposite Domzwe where we saw the German guards.

Towards the evening 2 Russians said they were going to the next village to bring food. On the way they met a German patrol and they had to open fire. The partisan withdrew. When arrived back they told us about the event and said that we had to fight.

It was clear that the German army would bring forces for assistance and we with our weapons could not start an open fight. Therefore we decided to cross the Bug whatever would happen. We left all our equipment among the bushes in the darkness we entered the river and treaded in the water which reached us up to the neck. The men held over their heads the guns and the bullet reserves. Leaving the water the Germans started firing on us and throwing bombs on us. They did not reach us and penetrated deep into the forest.

The Woroshilow Division

The Germans stopped shooting. A farmer came to us in a carriage and told us to make a fire and to dry our clothes. He said: "You don't have to be afraid of the Germans, you don't see the "dogs" here."...

We made a fire, dried our clothes and in the morning we continued on the way according to the farmers instruction. The way led to the Woroshilow division.

Here we learned that every partisan group in the surrounding was closely connected with the other. The division of meat was handled by the management and there was no need and it was even forbidden to look alone for food.

All the groups were under the supervision of the head quarter of the partisans and from there we got our orders.

The Woroshilow division received us very friendly and attributed us a place there in the forest. Here we waited until the greater part of our group had crossed the river and joined us.

In the meantime the partisans came to us from Domazive who had been in the Woroshilow division. But now they came without arms. Their weapons had been the property of the division and when they left, they had to give them back.

Among the ten was also my husband, originating from Brisk.

After 6 weeks a part of our group and other Jews joined us. Moshe Lichtenberg, Motel Rosenberg and Chaim Fishman (Ta"nzer) were missing, they were shot by Kolka and his friends who had insisted on getting back the machine guns.

Now we met with other difficulties: the union of the partisans of Brisk wanted already many times to send back the Jewish partisans across the Bug, to the Polish side. Finally we convinced them and we remained at this side. They "directed" us where to go and to manage by ourselves the division.

The Molotov Division

Our leaders were now Waska and Simion Rotenberg from Tomaszowka (he fell later in the Red Army). On the way we achieved a lot of arms:

We passed great dangers but our confidence was now greater than on the Polish side. We had already our own army departments. We walked in the area of the Karlowski Canal connecting the Kropetz with the Bug in the Pinski district, the place were the Molotov division was located. We arrived there in winter 43/44.

The leader of the division Mishke, a very nice man, said that he would distribute us to 4 divisions and those who wanted to remain together had to stay aside. We were joined to the following 4 divisions: Shishlowitz, Kalinski, Lusov and Katosowitz.

I was joined to the Shishawski division. In this division a very strong military discipline prevailed.

There was an airport, and planes were coming and bringing medicine and arms and took the seriously wounded away.

For the slightly wounded we had a local hospital. We lived in houses and we had field ovens. We were three Jewish girls: Andsia, Rivka and me. Our task was to guard 2 hours and to rest for some hours.

I can not report about all the military actions in which the Jews took part, but in all the dangerous actions of the 4 divisions as: terrorism, bombing bridges, trains and destroying telephone-lines and other actions, the Jewish partisans from Wlodowa took part in the same way.

When the front approached the Germans sent great forces to our area. After a hard fight we were forced to withdraw and we wnet to the direction of the front. On April 44 we met the Russian army. Nearly all the Jewish partisans of Wlodowa were mobilized to the Red Army. We, the girls decided to wait until the liberation of our town.

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