Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Miriam Biegun - August 10, 1983

Experience as a Child Partisan II

Did you ever see any uh, any uh, battles, skirmishes?

No, we were deep in the forest, and the fighters always used to tell us stay away from there, you know. Saw wounded, you know.

You saw wounded?

Oh sure. They used to attack us the forest, we used to see the, the burning from the forest and the bombing, shellings and stuff like that.

Do you remember what that was, what it was like to see them bring back wounded?

I'll tell you what. It was horrible to see, now that, you know, I'm older, and I think back about it, you know, seeing it. It's, it's very hard to describe it. It's--for a young child to see, it's very bad.

Uh, do you remember any specific incidents about what the partisans um, were there any people you knew who were, who were fighting the partisans?

Oh yeah. Mine, mine auntie's two, three brothers and her brother--in--law were fighting in the partisans. They helped a lot, like mine uncle, he used to go and get in a lots, you know rifles, ammunitions, bazookas and stuff like that. A lots of people used to go to the farmers in the name of my par...father. Because the farmers knew my father businessman, you see? So if you go to them and say, I came in the name of David--my father's name was David.

What was your mother's name, by the way?


Battia. Okay.

So, when they used to go there and say, you know, I need for the, children, his children are in the forest, they used to help out. Now, mine uncle from Israel, he was together mit my fath...mit the two brothers in the business.

That's which one?

This one here. So he knew the farmers knew him. So he used to go, you know, to take his smuggle over, ammunition for the partisans. But mine auntie--she's not here--mine auntie's three brothers and the brother--in--law, they were the fighters.

Did they survive?


None of them survived?

No, they all got killed.

Uh, you were telling me the story of a, a Jewish partisan?

Oh yeah, there was very strict, special when the Russian came, and there was a couple soldiers from Moscow that came in the forest. So there was a young boy, fifteen--year old. His brothers survived--they live in Tel Aviv, in Israel. And he was guarding a, a tank.

He was watching a German tank?

Watching it. No. They captured it from the German.

Oh, I see.

And they took it in the forest, and he had to watch it. Accidently, a fifteen--year old, he was tired, he fall asleep, and one of the partisans came and find him fall asleep. There was no excuse that he was fifteen and so young. They shot him. You know, like a court martial. The Russian used to do it, they used to put up this paper in a bottle, you know, and they used to say, and then put it in the grave, and they used say, that's uh, the court martial, and they shot him. And no matter how much his brothers did for them, and they were big fighters, and they still shot him.

You remember this?

No. This I don't remember quite, but I hear them, mine auntie and uncle, you know, lots of people used to come after the war, the survivors, and they used to tell all these stories. But I remember the forest and all the fighting.

And you remember his brothers?

The brothers I don't remember so clearly, but I met them in Israel, so maybe because I met them in Israel, you know, the memory, it's not.

You also mentioned the story about uh, two brothers and a father who were in the partisans.

Oh yeah, this was uh, not Jewish people. They were Russian. White Russian Jew uh, farmers. The father and one son held the partisans. One son went to work for the Germans. The father was a very, you know, smuggled food for us, you know, and if the German, if they would have captured him, they would kill him. And the brother was working with the Germans. The father couldn't stand it. Anyway, they went on a mission. The partisans went on a mission to help, and there were big fighting, and they captured his son, but they didn't know it was the son. When they brought him back to the forest, the father was there and recognized him and he says, "That's my son." So sure, they want to find out all the information they could because what he told them, you know because he was a kid. He used to come on in the forest, check it out, and then go back to the Germans to tell, so to find out what he, have to find out from him and then they kill--they want to kill him. So the father says, "He's not mine son if he could go against his family," and his own father shot him.

He insisted on shooting him himself?

Yeah. He insisted to shoot him himself.

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