Family Camps of the Partisans


Family camps sprang up in eastern Poland, west Byelorussia, and the western Ukraine, all areas with extensive natural forests. Their aim was to rescue people, in contrast to other partisan units, whose aim was to fight the Germans from the rear. The family encampments relied on the fighting force of the partisans. The camps suffered from the hostility of the surrounding peasant population and their number remained small. Although we know for certain only about a number of small camps and a few larger ones, there were doubtless others, but unfortunately there is no trace of them. The family camp run by Tuvia Bielski was the largest, with 1231 inhabitants. As a boy Tuvia joined the pioneering youth movement and enlisted in the Polish army in 1928. After the German invasion, when his parents were killed in the Novogrudok ghetto, he took to the forests with his brothers, Zusia, Asahel and Aaron, where he formed a preliminary partisan unit. He sent messengers to the ghettos in that area, warning of the imminent murder of the Jews, and calling on people to join his group.


Source: Ghetto Fighters House