MOSCOW (Dec. 30)
The number of national groups that are fighting in the ranks of the Russian army on all fronts is stressed today in an editorial appearing in Pravda, which states that “our strongest and most solid weapon is the unity of nationalities…including Jews, Ukrainians, White Russians, Armenians and many others.”
At the same time other Russian newspapers carry accounts of heroic exploits by Jewish men and women on vital sectors of the front – at Stalingrad and Vorenezh – and in the guerrilla bands harrassing the lines of the retreating Nazi troops. A Jewish husband and wife, both of whom enlisted in the Red Army as volunteers, are especially praised. The wife, Luba Gumer, is a pilot of a fighter plane. Her husband, Simkha Khlebanov, is in charge of routing important military trains to their destination. By chance they were assigned to the same sector near Vorenezh during a heavy Nazi air raid. As a result of the woman pilot’s destruction of several German planes and Khlebanov’s re-routing of the trains, none of the equipment and munitions being transported to the front was lost. Both have been decorated.
Isaac Cohen, commander of an anti-aircraft detachment on the Stalingrad front has been awarded the Order of the Red Star in acknowledgement of the efficiency of his unit which, in the space of forty minutes, brought down 13 Junker transports attempting to bring relief to the Nazis in Stalingrad. During the long siege of the Volga city by the Germans, Cohen’s detachment is credited with destroying 100 planes, and damaging thirteen Nazi tanks and a quantity of other equipment.
Red-headed Lieut, Isaac Grudsky, who has been dubbed “Isaac the Red,” by the guerrilla unit he leads in the Mogilev district, “has sowed terror in the ranks of the Nazis by his lightening raids, striking from his forest hideout where the Nazis least expect him,” one correspondent writes. Lieut. Grudsky, who is 28, is a veteran of the Russo-Finnish war, having been decorated for courage in that conflict, and was attached to a regular Red Army unit before assuming command of the guerrilla band, the writer adds.