The Destruction of the German Garrison in Lenin

As the Nazis conducted the Holocaust, they established over 1,150 ghettos throughout German-occupied eastern Europe. Among them was Lenin.

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A Project of the Miles Lerman Center

The Jews confined within smaller ghettos in areas now belonging to Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, and other territories of the former Soviet Union responded to Nazi German discrimination, persecution, and impending annihilation in a variety of different ways. In Lenin, partisans attacked the German garrison. 

After the liquidation of the Lenin ghetto and the murder of its inhabitants on August 14, 1942, 28 Jews remained alive in Lenin, as they continued to work directly for the Germans as tailors, shoemakers, builders, and photographers. At this time Lubov Rabinovich was ordered to train a group of Belorussian apprentices to take over his trade within one month.

A German garrison of 100 people and 30 local policemen was based in Lenin to protect the town. The Soviet “Kalinin” partisan unit planned an attack on the garrison, assisted by two neighboring units (in total about 150 people). The Jewish fighter Boris Ginsburg was the liaison between the partisan units. On September 12, 1942, the German garrison was suddenly attacked and the partisans inflicted heavy losses, apparently killing 3 German officers (including commandant Grossman), 14 soldiers and 13 policemen. The ghetto quarter was burned down. 

The remaining Jews fled to the woods with the partisans. Among them were the shoemaker “Leizer der Shuster” and his wife and daughter; the tailor Mordechai Kravetz; Fanya Lazebnik; the Slutzky family; and the Rabinovich family. In the unit named “Kotovsky,” within the Pinsk Soviet partisan formations, some of the escapees worked as tailors. Fanya Lazebnik (who later changed her name to Faye Schulman) joined the Molotov partisan unit and after recovering her camera during a second raid on Lenin also documented her life in the partisans. She migrated to Canada after the war and also published a memoir of her experiences.

 

 

Further Reading

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933-1945. Vol. 2, Ghettos in German-Occupied Eastern Europe, ed. Martin Dean. Bloomington: Indiana University Press in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2012. [Excerpted from p. 1223]

Schulman, Faye  (aka Fanya Lazebnik), A partisan's memoir: woman of the Holocaust. Toronto, ON: Second Story Press, 1995.

Tamari, Moshe, ed., Kehilat Lenin: Sefer Zikaron. Tel Aviv: Former residents of Lenin in Israel and USA, 1957.

Leonid Smilovitsky
Martin Dean