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Oral history interview with Sonia Bielski

Oral History | RG Number: RG-50.030.0025

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.

Sonia Boldo Bielski, born on April 15, 1922 in Novogrudok, Poland (Navahrudak, Belarus), describes her family and childhood; the German invasion of Novogrudok in December 1941 and the organization of a ghetto two months later; her father rescuing her from the first Aktion in the ghetto and hiding with her in a potato cellar in a neighboring village; her father smuggling her out of Novogrudok and into the surrounding forest, where she joined the Bielski Otriad, a Jewish partisan group; meeting and marrying Alexander Bielski, one of three brothers who led the group, in the forest; watching the partisan group expand to contain almost one thousand people, for this group accepted the old, the sick, and children; the Bielskis’ decision to move the entire camp deep into the muddy swamps, where they hoped that German tanks would not be able to come; returning to the forest after a few days when they felt it was safe to return to the forest; riding with the partisans and taking part in guerrilla attacks on German soldiers in the Naliboki Forest; hiding temporarily in nearby villages when she became sick; the Bielski Otriad working in cooperation with General Platon of the Soviet Red Army who commanded all of the partisan groups in the area; the Bielski Otriad dissolving in July 1944 when the Red Army captured the Naliboki Forest; some of the partisans going to fight with the Soviets as they continued to advance; Alexander and his brother Tuvia bringing the partisan band, which then numbered over 1,200 people, out of the forest and back to Novogrudok; arriving in Palestine with Alexander in October 1945; and immigrating to the United States in 1956.

Interviewee
Sonia Bielski
Interviewer
Sandra Bradley
Date
1994 July 11  (interview)
Language
English
Genre/Form
Oral histories.
Extent
3 videocasettes (Betacam SP) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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Record last modified: 2018-01-22 10:46:48
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn504532