KUIBYSHEV (Jul. 8)
Stories of the drowning of hundreds of Jews by the Nazis in rivers of the Minsk district were told here today to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency by Jacob Uzdzinski, a Jewish guerrilla fighter who reached Kuibyshev after spending six months in the rear of the German armies destroying their munition stores, blowing up Nazi military trains and exploding bridges.
Emphasizing that he personally witnessed the murder scenes, Uzdzinski related how the Nazis herded about 500 Jews in Jelsk onto a barge which they anchored in the middle of a river without any food and water. “For five days we, the guerrilla unit, heard from our hiding place the cries from the barge,” he said. “A peasant from the neighboring collective farm swam over at night with bread and water for the victims, but the Nazis discovered him and executed twelve peasants from the farm as punishment. On the sixth day the Nazis exploded the barge and all Jews on it were drowned.
“A similar case occurred in the city of Mozyr, near Minsk,” the Jewish guerrilla fighter continued. “The number of Jews drowned by the Nazis in Mozyr could not be established. In the city of Stalin, the Nazis opened a brothel with Jewish girls. In the village of Tonisch, near Turow, our guerrilla detachment arrived just after the Nazis had executed 46 Jews. We regretted arriving too late. All we succeeded in saving was one woman and one boy. In Viatka, where many Jews from the neighboring collective farms were congregated, the Nazis executed 96 Jews, including mothers with babies in their arms.
JEWS FIGHTING IN ALL GUERRILLA DETACHMENTS IN MINSK DISTRICT
“The most horrible scene I ever witnessed was when our guerrilla detachment entered the township of Leltschice. About 750 Jews there, held in a barbed wire enclosure under the open sky in the public market, were machine-gunned by the Nazis, including 150 children. Imagine my horror when I found among the bodies six of my relatives, including my brother’s wife with her baby.”
The guerrilla detachment of which Uzdzinski was a member was composed of 48 men, sixteen of whom were Jews. “We fought five times face to face with the Nazi soldiers and killed 564 of them. We also destroyed 150 kilometers of railway lines and exploded 16 bridges causing great damage to the enemy. There are Jewish members in all guerrilla detachments which are operating in the Minsk district. Some of them are aged Jews with gray beards,” Uzdzinski stated.
The Jewish guerrilla fighter emphasized that the Jews in the guerrilla units are imbued with a spirit of revenge and are always the first to volunteer for dangerous assignments.