KUIBYSHEV (Oct. 19)
A Jewish violinist who sacrificed his life to destroy a group of Nazi officers is listed in the Soviet press today as one of the heroic partisans who continue to make the position of the Nazis in occupied territory extremely insecure.
Mendel Harb was the first-violinist and conductor of the orchestra in the leading motion picture theatre in a small town on the Bug River. The first day following the Nazi capture of the village, the German officers, who had established themselves in a hotel adjoining the theatre, announced the showing of a film,” Germany Conquers.” All musicians in the town were ordered to appear, but Harb and his pianist, Sokolko, were the only two left. When the showing of the film was completed, tables were arranged in the lobby of the theatre and the officers held a celebration.
To the festivities they summoned Harb and Sokolko and ordered the two musicians to entertain them. While playing the “Blue Danube” for the German officers, Harb whispered to Sokolko, who was accompanying him, that he had planted dynamite under the piano. At a signal from Harb the accompanist jumped from the window the Jewish violinist touched his cigarette to the fuse attached to the dynamite, blowing up the theatre, the Nazis and himself.
Other Jews decorated for valor this week are also cited in the press today. Colonel Michail Lerner received the Order of Lenin, Brigade Commissar Axelrod and Battalion Commissar Dischman received the Order of the Red Banner, Commissars Israel Obuchowsky and Lzar Schwartz and Lieut. Joseph Berezowsky, all attached to artillery units, were also decorated. Sima Grabovsky, a Jewish nurse with the Red Army, received the Order of the Red Star, for rescuing scores of wounded soldiers at the front.
The following Russian Jewish writers, who have died fighting at the front in recent battles, are mentioned in an article appearing in the press today on the large number of intellectuals who have abandoned their artistic pursuits to take up arms: film-writer J. Seltzer; Prof. Orest Tsekhnovitzer, author and authority on Russian literature; the young novelist Eugene Sobolevsky; the post Vladimir Lifshitz and the publicist and critic Leonid Radischev.