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Soviet Army wrist compass used by a young Jewish Lithuanian partisan

Object | Accession Number: 1992.184.1

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    Soviet Army wrist compass used by a young Jewish Lithuanian partisan

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    Brief Narrative
    Soviet Army wrist compass used by Khona Padison, a young Jewish partisan in Rudnicki forest near Kovno (Kaunas), Lithuania, from December 1943 to June 1944. The compass was given to Khona by a Soviet prisoner of war so that he could scout for their resistance group, Death to the Invaders. In June 1941, Germany occupied Lithuania. Khona, his parents Perets and Rakhel, and sister Hena were forced into the sealed ghetto. In fall 1943, Khona and his father escaped shortly before the ghetto was converted into Kauen concentration camp. They became members of Death to the Invaders resistance unit and Khona did reconnaissance. In early 1944, as the Soviet Army advanced, the Germans evacuated Kauen and then set it on fire. On August 1, the region was liberated. Khona’s mother Rakhel and sister Hena were killed in the ghetto.
    use:  1943 December-1944 June
    manufacture:  1940
    use: Rudnicki Forest; Lithuania
    manufacture: Soviet Union
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Arik Padison, in memory of Rachel and Hena Padison, his grandmother and aunt
    overall : face, center, embossed : МАСТЕРСКИЕ АУ РККА [Workshops AU Red Army]
    overall : back, engraved : 1940
    Subject: Khona Padison
    Manufacturer: Soviet Union, Soviet Army
    Khona Padison was born in Kovno (Kaunas), Lithuania to an Orthodox Jewish couple, Perets and Rakhel Kronik Padison. He had one sister, Kheina-Maia (Hena). His mother Rakhel was born in approximately 1900, in Vilno, Russia (Vilnius, Lithuania), to Itzik and Kheina Kronik. His father Perets was born in 1903, in Ukmerge, Russia (now Lithuania), to Mordekhai and Sara Padison. Perets had one brother, Shmuel. Khona and Hena were raised in the large Jewish community in Kovno. Khona’s uncle Shmuel married Khaia and they had a son, Gdalia.

    In summer 1940, the Soviet Union occupied Lithuania. They abolished Jewish social and cultural institutions and closed Hebrew schools. In June 1941, Germany occupied Lithuania. Before and during the invasion, there were Lithuanian initiated pogroms. By November, German mobile killing units, assisted by Lithuanian auxiliaries, massacred most of the Jews throughout the country. In July, Khona, his sister, Hena, and his parents, Perets and Rakhel, were forced into the Kovno ghetto, and most likely used as forced labor. In fall 1943, Khona and Perets escaped the ghetto, just before it was converted to Kauen concentration camp. They made their way to nearby Rudnicki forest, where they became members of the partisan group, Death to the Invaders. Khona and Perets were assigned to a reconnaissance unit with 30-40 fighters, 90 percent of them Jewish. The group was part of a large network of resistance units, which worked to help people escape the ghettos and attacked German forces and supply depots. Khona's reconnaissance duties included scouting around an intended ambush site for information useful for planning attacks. Khona participated in scouting missions until June 1944. In early July, the Soviet Army was approaching the region. The Germans evacuated Kauen and burned down the camp. On August 1, the Soviet Army, with partisans from several units, including Death to the Invaders, liberated the region. Khona later learned that his mother Rakhel and sister Hena had been killed in the camp earlier that year. Several members of his paternal family were killed in the Ukmerge ghetto, including his grandfather Mordekhai, aunt Khaia, and cousin Gdalia.
    On May 7, 1945, Germany surrendered. Khona and his father Perets stayed in Lithuania. Perets married Slava Schuster Padison, Rakhel’s cousin. Khona married Ada and the couple had a son. They all eventually immigrated to Israel and settled in Rehovot. Perets, 96, died in 1999, in Gedera, Israel.

    Physical Details

    Tools and Equipment
    Physical Description
    Well used wrist compass with a clear glass bezel set into a 2 part, circular, metal housing: a rotating, copper colored top and a black painted base. Around the interior is a thick, flat, metal ring with 2 sets of painted black Arabic numerals and lines to mark angular mils, 50 to 550, and degrees, 15 to 345; Cyrillic directional letters replace degrees 90, 180, and 270; an inverted triangle replaces 0/360/600. The central needle locks into place by pushing in a metal exterior tab, which pushes up a lever beneath the needle. Two small, inward pointing arrows for navigation are attached to the interior housing, above the ring. There is radioluminescent paint below each letter, on the triangles, and on the end of the needle. Two small, metal sighting plates are screwed to the top exterior housing. Two brackets are fixed on the top and bottom of the base. An 11 inch, thin, narrow, worn, removable, dark brown leather wrist band with a metal buckle and 6 punched holes passes under the flat base and through both brackets.
    overall: Height: 2.250 inches (5.715 cm) | Width: 2.375 inches (6.033 cm) | Depth: 0.750 inches (1.905 cm)
    overall : metal, glass, leather, paint, radium paint
    overall : back, scratched : ЦRЕМКОP [personal name]

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The compass was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1992 by Arik Padison, the son fo Khona Padison.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 17:51:37
    This page:

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