** Webmaster Note: The following translation was generously provided
by Diane Moore. We have presented
it here exactly as it was
translated for us.
[Note from Diane Moore: This is an
account from Yad Vashem, told by Reuben Baril and written down
or redacted by someone named Shapira. It is in Yiddish
script. I have attempted a translation, but there are many
places where I can’t read the handwriting or can’t find the
words. My notes will be in brackets.
The use of an ellipsis (three dots) indicates an unreadable
Heading from Yad
Baril, Reuben, born
May 4, 1905, in Vladimirets, Rovno province. [Trade?] Stayed
alive with his whole family, a wife and two children.
Lives now  in Landsberg. [May refer to Landsberg
Am Lech, a DP camp.]
Survival in the Wild and
in Partisan Detachments
It was two
days before the massacre of the Jews of our town, that
is, August 27, 1942. When I found out that they
were digging graves behind the town, I went five
kilometers away, with my wife and two children, to a
peasant, Andrei, whom we had known before everything
changed. Trying to leave the shtetl, we were
caught by two Ukrainian policemen. But we managed
to ransom ourselves out of their hands for two watches,
because one of the policemen was an acquaintance of
mine. We arrived at the home of the peasant, who
took us in, of course, being well paid [.....]
after the shooting, the peasant came with the bad news
that they had murdered all the Jews, even the workers
that the killers had wanted to leave out, but who chose
to share the fate of their neighbors. The peasant
told us that he ran too much risk in keeping us, and
could not continue. He advised us to go to the woods,
and he would bring us food. Having no other
choice, we went into the woods. For a week we
lived there in great hunger, eating only berries; the
peasant brought no food.
Once my son
went back to the peasant to ask for food. He gave
him a bit of potato, scarcely enough for one person.
was hopeless, desperate. I couldn’t watch the
children die of hunger. I would lie with my head covered
and cry, unable to endure the misery of the children.
I considered hanging myself. The children
understood my thoughts and kept watch on me.
standing guard, I discerned four Ukrainians with our
peasant in the lead, riding on horses in our direction.
The peasant had led them to kill us, in order to be free
of us and have the use of all our belongings. At
the same time I saw in the distance two Jews from our
town, who had surrendered themselves voluntarily to the
Germans. The Ukrainians captured them and shot one
of them. The other one ran away. [I think it
says he lived and tells where he ended up. ]
situation, I shouted to my wife and children, “Run!”
And we started running, oblivious of our weakened
condition. They ran after us and fired at us.
Still we managed to escape into the woods.
We stayed in
the woods till nightfall, and then we went two
kilometers away, to a Pole who let us in and gave us a
piece of bread with a cucumber. He let us rest
until two in the morning, and then woke us so we could
go on. Suddenly a Jew from our town, Shlomo
Appelboim, came in with the Pole. He kissed us
joyfully, because he had heard that we’d been shot.
He soon left us; he was looking for his son, from whom
he had gotten separated.
We went twelve
kilometers farther, to a village called Radzishon.
We went past a town where Germans were quartered.
On the way we met peasants. [Can’t read this; I think
they were looting.] As we were walking, my daughter fell
in a ditch and I barely managed to pull her out of the
water alive. Because of the child, we had to stop
at a peasant’s house, an acquaintance called Amsunciuk,
who gave us food and took us to another peasant.
That one told
us that Ukrainians that day, with his son at the head of
them, had caught a Jewish family called Chonie from the
village of Chinocie and turned them over to the Germans,
who beat them up and then shot them. The Ukrainians had
received clothes and boots as a reward. Seeing
that we were in danger from this person, I decided to
put him off the scent. I said to him that we were
going to turn ourselves in to the Germans. He led
us out and on the way he asked us not to stray, and
maybe we’d save ourselves.
When the peasant left us, we
turned off the road, deeper into the woods, and we cameto a Polish colony called Ruta Stepanska. We
went in there, to a Pole we knew. He didn’t let us in,
saying “This is your fate, ordained by God, and I can’t
perish along with my family for your sake.”
So as we were
going to our end, I asked a Pole, Tomasz Zawadski, where
there was deeper water. He was surprised and asked
why I wanted to know. I told him the whole truth,
that we were going to drown ourselves because we had no
other way out. The Christian was indignant and
said it was sinful and we should not even think of such
a thing. He immediately gave us his food, which
his wife had brought to him where he was working.
(He was secretly distilling whisky in the field..)
Then another Christian came, Josik Turowsky. They
led us out of the woods and consulted together where to
hide us. Suddenly we saw Poles close by. We
scattered and we were alone again. But in the
evening Albiniuk Turova came and gave us a blanket and a
basket of food. Another person brought potatoes, a
third brought more food; but each was very cautious in
helping us. [I think it says they didn’t ask us to
started knitting sweaters for the peasants. Winter
was coming on. The peasants built us a booth in
the forest [name here?] on an island that was
surrounded by mud and hard to get to. [Translator’s
note: Vladimirets and its environs are not far from the
Pripet Marshes. Some of the stories in Sefer
Vladimirets talk about how damp and unhealthy these
woods were to hide in.] When a police raid was heard of,
we were moved for the time to another place.
Zawadski came running to tell us to save ourselves.
At midnight a couple of Poles came and led us to a
second hut. The Germans had heard that in the
region there was a detachment of 20,000 partisans.
A hundred policemen and three German gendarmes were
coming to investigate if it was true. They asked a
peasant (who happened to belong to the partisans, who
were based not far away) and he answered, “Where are you
going? There are 20,000 partisans in there with
tanks.” They ran away.
“fur hats” came to that place, a detachment of 12,000 men.
I ran off to report it. But they tried to catch me and
my son, and inadvertently we got separated and ran further
into the wood. The partisans then got hold of the
village magistrate, Masurkovitz, and warned him to do right
by us. After that he treated us much better.
After three days
the detachment left and in the village we set up a system
under the commandant Setow , which included us. [ I
can’t read the next part, but he is now working with the
partisans, who give him a cow and a horse and cart, so they
can get away if necessary. Something about cows and
peasants and partisans. ]
In the village of
Chinocie there was a storehouse of grain and a mill.
We surrounded the village, and threw some grenades at the
police. Several were killed, and the rest ran off.
We got 20 guns there, and some machine guns, cut the
telegraph lines, and burned the post office and the station.
A watch was set up and we controlled the area. Five
thousand Russian partisans came from [ somewhere.
Sentence about commandant, commissar, twenty parachutists.]
We were now about
twenty thousand. Our group, led by Szitof, was made up
of Vladimiretsers. It was used as a radio station. It
was a connection with Moscow, which sent parachutists at
night, signaled by our fires, to deliver weapons. [They had
much more ammunition than before. The peasants carried
out orders from the partisans.]
At the end of 1943,
there was a massacre at two Polish villages, Czajkow and
Berezina. We got an order from Moscow to [do something
about these villages. R.B. with nine others was sent
to Czajkow. A Pole brought them word that there were people
there who had taken part in the massacre,
Bulbobaczi [Ukrainian Nationalists, known
for their violence against Jews & Poles]. The partisans started to run
away but got into some kind of conflict with the
The women and children were sent away to Byelorussia and we
fortified ourselves for a defense.
[There is a whole
paragraph here about partisan activities that I can’t
translate. They were still fighting the
caught and tortured some of them. ] We were in the Pinsker
marshes until the end of 1943. There we waited until
our detachment came with arms.
An order came that
the women and children should retreat to the Russian side
[because of murderous retreating Germans.] They led us
through the wilderness for two days, until we were reunited
with our detachment. Then came an order to cross the
Bug River and [carry out some operation there.] So as I was
a “family man”, I wasn’t sent.
In April, 1944, we
were liberated, near Pinsk, by the Russian army. On
the way back to my home town, [ he was involved in a fight
Bulbobacziagain]. I worked until July, 1945, and
took a lot of revenge on our bloodthirsty enemies. In
August I was back in Poland with my family, [some time in
Lodz], we left Poland and came here. [Note:
He eventually emigrated to Israel.]