Jewish Woman Assumes Command of Russian Ship Under Heavy Nazi Bombing

To the long roster of Russian Jews who have been decorated for bravery in action, the local press today adds the names of two Jews – a man and a woman – who have distinguished themselves in the field of transportation, carrying vitally needed men and supplies to and from the front.

Reizel Butkevich, the first mate of a Russian freighter carrying food and munitions to the southern front is lauded for assuming command of the vessel under heavy enemy bombardment and subduing a fire that threatened to explode both the ship and the arms it carried. One of the bombs from a Nazi plane struck an oil tank on shore near where the freighter was unloading her cargo. Under Miss Butkevitch’s direction, part of the crew manned machine-guns and drove off the German raiders, others rushed the cases of munitions to a safe place while the balance of the men helped to put out the blaze.

Isaac Fisher, the engineer of a locomotive, is cited for saving the lives of hundreds of wounded Red Army men at the risk of his own. When Nazi planes bombed a Red Cross train that was en route back from the front, Fisher crawled under the train and detached several burning cars. Then he climbed into the cab of his engine and switched the rest of the cars to a sheltered track, although most of his clothes had been burned off.

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