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Group portrait of members of the intelligence unit of the Molotov partisan brigade.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 56442

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    Group portrait of members of the intelligence unit of the Molotov partisan brigade.
    Group portrait of members of the intelligence unit of the Molotov partisan brigade.


    Group portrait of members of the intelligence unit of the Molotov partisan brigade.
    Faye Schulman (Faigel Lazebnik)
    [Pinsk; Belarus]
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Belarusian State Museum of the History of the Great Patriotic War

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    Belarusian State Museum of the History of the Great Patriotic War
    Copyright: Public Domain

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Faye Schulman (born Faigel Lazebnik) is the daughter of Rayzel Migdalovich Lazebnik and Yakov Lazebnik. She was born on November 28, 1919 in Lenin where her father had once owned a shop and was active in Jewish communal affairs, and her mother supported the family by running a restaurant in their home. Faigel had two sisters and four brothers. Her oldest sister Sonia was married to Rabbi Yitzhak Koziolek who headed a yeshiva near Lublin, and had two children. Her next oldest sister Esther was married to a doctor, Meyer Feldman. Her oldest brother Moishe ran a photo studio in their home and then opened studios neighboring towns. Kopel, the third eldest, was a yeshiva student. Faigel also had two younger brothers, Grainom and Boruch. Faigel learned photography from her brother Moishe and assisted him in his business. After the start of World War II, Lenin fell under Soviet control, and the Soviets ordered that all inhabitants have a valid picture identification card. Faigel kept busy taking photographs for the whole town and surrounding villages. Since the Soviets forbade religious study, Grainom left home to resume his yeshiva studies in Vilna, which was then still independent. He later perished there. Soviet rule was considered preferable to German occupation, so Faigel's parents persuaded Sonia to move back home with her two children. Her husband, unwilling to leave his students, remained in German occupied Poland where he perished. On June 24, 1941 Nazis occupied Lenin. In the days immediately following the invasion, Faigel was sent to do domestic work in the homes of Nazis. Though she often was beaten, she was able to retrieve leftover food and bring it back to her family. After the establishment of a civilian Nazi administration, Faigel was again put to work as a photographer in addition to being assigned to regular slave labor. In May 1942, the Germans sent a group of young men to a work camp in nearby Gancevich, among them Moishe and Kopel. On May 10, 1942, the Nazis created a ghetto in Lenin. Since most Jewish males 16-50 already had been deported for forced labor, the ghetto consisted mostly of women and children including Faigel, her parents, Sonia and her children, Esther and her husband, and Boruch. Faigel was allowed out of the ghetto in order to continue working as a photographer in her old studio taking portraits of several Nazi officials. Then on August 14, 1942, the Nazis rounded up the ghetto's Jews and placed them in an open truck. They were brought to three trenches outside the town where they were shot. 1,850 Jews were killed on that day including Faigel's parents, sisters and younger brother. The Nazis spared only six essential workers and their families, a total of 26 people, among them Faigel. The Nazis took pictures of the killing, and ordered Faigel to develop the prints; she also made copies for herself. They then ordered her to begin training a new Ukrainian assistant. Faigel knew that as soon as the girl was trained, the Germans would no longer have need of her services. Two weeks later a group of partisans burst into the town and began shooting. In the confusion, Faigel fled to the forests where she joined the Molotava Brigade, a partisan brigade composed mostly of escaped Soviet POWs. Though she did not have a weapon or military training, she was accepted because the partisans knew that her brother-in-law had been a doctor and assumed that she could work as nurse. For the next two years, September 1942 to July 1944, Faigel lived with the partisans serving as a nurse and participating in their raids. Later in 1942, the Molotava Brigade conducted a second raid on Lenin. Faigel went along and succeeded in recovering her old photographic equipment and family pictures. During the next two years, she took over a hundred photographs and developed them in primitive darkrooms made from blankets. After war, Faigel worked as a photographer in Pinsk and began searching for Moishe and Kopel whom she knew had also escaped to the partisans. Faigel learned that Kopel was now in a regular Soviet unit and was fighting in Germany, but she found her older brother Moishe working as a photographer in Minsk. He was rooming with an acquaintance from Lenin, Morris Shulman. Originally from Warsaw, Morris had served as a commander of his partisan unit. He and Faigel fell in love and married on December 12, 1944. They next reunited with Kopel who had been sent back to the Soviet Union to recuperate from an injury. Though Faigel and Morris enjoyed a prosperous life as decorated Soviet partisans, they were anxious to leave Pinsk, which reminded them of a graveyard. Along with Kopel they joined the Bricha and fled first to Poland and then to the Landsberg DP camp. With the aid of the Vaad Hatzalah, Kopel established a yeshiva in Landsberg and then immigrated to New York. Morris and Faigel lived in Landsberg for the next two years and came to Canada in 1948.

    [Source: Schulman, Faye, "A Partisan's Memoir: Woman of the Holocaust"; Toronto, Ontario, Second Story Press, 1995.]
    Record last modified:
    2003-09-16 00:00:00
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