Rubin Segalowicz

Rubin Segalowicz

Born: July 15, 1920

Ivenets, Poland

Rubin was the second of four children born to a Jewish family in the northeastern Polish town of Ivenets, approximately 60 miles west of Minsk. His father was a butcher. Rubin attended Ivenets' public elementary school until the age of 10, when he transferred to the Mirar Yeshiva to study Jewish law.

1933-39: In 1936, after completing yeshiva, I made my living as a house painter. In Ivenets people would stand in front of Jewish stores and drive customers away, telling them not to buy from Jews. In September 1939 Germany invaded Poland; several weeks later the Soviet army invaded from the east. The Soviets nationalized all businesses but our daily life didn't change much. I managed to continue working as a painter.

1940-44: In 1941 Germany invaded the USSR. I was deported to Novogrudok in 1942 but escaped to join the Soviet partisans. That winter, my patrol entered a village to retaliate against pro-German collaborators. We crossed a river to get there, killed the sympathizers and burned part of the town. As we left, a comrade approached a man to get his boots; he was a German soldier! We ran to the river, sure we wouldn't make it and they'd shoot us before we reached the other side. Luckily, the river had frozen overnight and we fled.

Rubin fought with the partisans until liberated by the Red Army in July 1944. After the war he lived in Austria and Italy, before immigrating to the United States in 1949.