Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Leon Salomon - June 18, 1990

Contact with Other Partisans

Did you have any contact with the partisans of Vilna?

Well in the woods where I was, most of them were from Vilna. From Vilna, the same thing.

But not Abba Kovner's group?

Abba Kovner was in our area. Later on he went to, I believe, I believe later on he went to there were woods near Vilna too, I forgot the name.

Did the two units ever hook up, did your Otriad take part in any actions with the ...?

Well our otriad, what happened with our otriad is this, like I told you, I joined this otriad and it lasted for about three to four months. After that, the Germans took a few divisions out of front and together with the Vlasovscy, with Russians, they were surrounding our woods, not just ours, but also in deep in, in Russia too. And when this happened of course, we split up. The whole thing got disintegrated. But prior to this I have to tell you about an incident what happened. One day before this happened; in charge of our otriad was a Russian captain. And he called everyone in and everybody who had a watch or heavy machine gun, he took it all away. I must say that a lot of those people who came from Vilna Ghetto brought with them machine guns, pistols, automatic weapons, and believe it or not, they bought from the Germans. They bought it from the Germans. Unbelievably, but they bought it from the Germans. And this was taken away and so our otriad, which is called Mstitiel, was almost without any weapons left. And then, this came along right after, a few days after this came along, so all the otriad, not just ours, we split in small groups and we deep into the woods and into the swamps. Because the Germans didn't dare go into the woods or deep in the swamps. And this lasted only a few weeks, and I was among those people too. I was running that time almost for two weeks I had many incidences, one time I had an incident, we had no where to go, it was me and another fellow of ??? which was an American, he died in a car accident. And we went on two trees, this was the only thing was in our pathway, very thick trees. He went on one tree, I went on another tree. I had a hand grenade with me and I said if I'm discovered, I'll just blow myself apart. And, of course, our luck was the guy who was, the cowboy who was attending the cows, didn't see us and we could see from far away they went to ask him did he saw anybody running, and of course, he didn't. They went through our trees and luckily we were not discovered. So actually, after two weeks of this thing what's happening, we came back to our base and by that time everything was over.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn