Oral History

Miles Lerman describes returning to his hometown

Miles Lerman was a Holocaust survivor, partisan fighter in the forests of Poland, international leader in the cause of Holocaust remembrance, and a "founding father" of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.


I can tell you that after the 23 months, when the Russian army advanced, the army advanced, and I remember that the first battalion who encountered us was a battalion commanded by a Ukrainian major. And he ordered that we surrender the weapons, we had to surrender the weapons. This was an accepted... And he said, "Who are you?" And we told him we are partisans, and we are Jews. So he says, "Jews? Jews fight in Tashkent on the -- on the black market." This was the greeting, you know. And this told me that I have nothing to look for in the Soviet Union, and I better go home. And when I came home, I found an empty town, 11 people left alive. Yeah. And told by some of my people that I knew from before the war, "Miles, you better get out of here, because if you won't get out, they'll finish you off." And I did.


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum
View Archival Details

Thank you for supporting our work

We would like to thank Crown Family Philanthropies and the Abe and Ida Cooper Foundation for supporting the ongoing work to create content and resources for the Holocaust Encyclopedia. View the list of all donors.