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After the pogrom on July 28, 1942 I managed to leave Minsk. At 6 o’clock in the morning I left the ghetto in a column of workers. I made contact with a group of partisans. I wanted to take revenge for my lost relatives. So I became a member of the Moscow landing group in September or October 1942. From that time till July 1944 I was one of the partisans. The group grew into a brigade, later the brigade developed into a formation. All the time we acted in the same region. Our base was in Stayki village.

I became the commander of the village most remote from the German garrison. There were 7 commanders on the territory. From time to time Germans appeared in our villages. Once during a meeting of 3 commanders Germans came unexpectedly and shot them. But the Germans did not dare to approach my village, because on the way there were a lot of other villages controlled by partisans.

I carried a sawn-off gun. Girls were afraid of my gun, because without weapons we could be taken for local residents, but with weapons we could be only partisans.

This photograph was taken in May 1944. Later we joined the forces of the Red Army.

More Photos from Elena Drapkina

Elena Drapkina among students (Leningrad 1948)
      Elena Drapkina at her dentist's office (Leningrad 1973)
          Elena Drapkina, her husband Wolf, and her son Alexander (Leningrad 1949)
              Elena Drapkina (Minsk 1945)
                  Elena Drapkina’s maternal grandmother
                      Alexander Drapkin (Moscow 1965)
                          Elena Drapkina (Minsk, 1940)
                              Elena Drapkina’s friend