Oral History

Alisa (Lisa) Nussbaum Derman describes joining the Nekama (Revenge) Jewish partisan unit led by Josef Glazman in the Naroch Forest

Lisa was one of three children born to a religious Jewish family. Following the German occupation of her hometown in 1939, Lisa and her family moved first to Augustow and then to Slonim (in Soviet-occupied eastern Poland). German troops captured Slonim in June 1941, during the invasion of the Soviet Union. In Slonim, the Germans established a ghetto which existed from 1941 to 1942. Lisa eventually escaped from Slonim, and went first to Grodno and then to Vilna, where she joined the resistance movement. She joined a partisan group, fighting the Germans from bases in the Naroch Forest. Soviet forces liberated the area in 1944. As part of the Brihah ("flight," "escape") movement of 250,000 Jewish Holocaust survivors from eastern Europe, Lisa and her husband Aron sought to leave Europe. Unable to enter Palestine, they eventually settled in the United States.


How could I describe to you the scene as we came down, down the hill? A scene of Robin Hood--people walking around with rifles, sides of beef hanging, huts, people coming out of the, the huts, milling, great number of people. I, I never could have believed that this is the way the underground, the underground, the resisters work. I thought they, they live hidden in some kind of a small little place away where nobody could ever find them or such. This seemed to be so open. It, it seemed so open and we were welcomed right away. The leader, uh, we came to a Jewish unit that was called, uh, "Revenge"-- "Nekama," in Hebrew--and the leader was Josef Glazman. He accepted us with warm arms, um, and right away everybody wanted to know whom we saw, the last people that we saw in, in, in the ghetto.




  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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