Oral History

Miles Lerman describes some of the dangers of partisan life

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.


You have to bear in mind that it was a life where every hour was danger. I'll say it to you, that the danger of dying wasn't such a big deal, so, so what is it? Everybody dies around you. The object is not to. The object is to defend yourself. The object is, you know, to demand a price for your being killed. For instance, it was an accepted omen, an accepted formula, that the last bullet is never used on the enemy. The last bullet you always use -- was used on oneself. This is not heroism. This is instead of falling into the hands of the enemy and being tortured, and being you know abused and beaten, and what have you, and then be killed? So the last bullet, if the situation was such, if the... Often, you know, we went out, and if a guy got injured, and we couldn't get to him, so he stayed and waited you know, as close as the Germans or the Ukrainians would come to him, and then he killed himself.


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum
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