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55 Jewish partisans honored for ‘extraordinary measures’ in resisting Nazis

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vminfla Donating Member (992 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-15-11 01:53 PM
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55 Jewish partisans honored for ‘extraordinary measures’ in resisting Nazis

Small and Bakst grew up a few houses apart in Ivye, Belarus, attending the same school and synagogue before reality turned black, back when their names were Avraham Schmulewitz and Leibel Bakst, and Ivye belonged to Poland and the Nazis had not yet invaded. They last saw each another in 1946 at a displaced persons camp in Munich.

During the two years preceding their liberation by the Red Army in 1944, the then teenagers fought the Nazis in separate brigades in the vast Nalibotskaya Pushcha forest. For their daring, Small, now living in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., and Bakst, of Dallas, along with 53 other Jewish partisans from across the United States, were honored here at a synagogue reception Nov. 6 and a gala dinner the next evening.

Like many partisans interviewed, Bakst downplayed his role, saying that sheer survival was the great motivator. Some had carried rifles, sabotaged German supply trains and attacked the enemy. Others served as scouts, guides and cooks. Bakst and his older brother, Yehoshua, were deployed to secure bread, butter, cheese, potatoes and meat from neighboring farmers; anything not given was taken. The boys were intimately familiar with the region from traversing the woods every year to visit their grandmother, Bakst explained.

The nearly 350 relatives, friends and admirers who gathered in a converted theater for the dinner were lauding the 55 partisans and their absent or deceased comrades for being “ordinary men and women taking extraordinary measures to protect Jewish lives,” said local newscaster Dana Tyler, the dinner’s mistress of ceremonies.
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