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[Page 345]


Boris Baumovitch

By Yosef Feldman (Chicago)

[photo:] Binyamin Baum

        His name was Binyamin Baum. He was born in Vartsevich, about 7 miles from Drohitchin, and lost his father when Binyamin was still very young, and his mother Chava became the breadwinner to support her five children. Later, when Binyamin grew older, he got involved in business and helped his mother earn a living. In 1937 after Binyamin returned from serving in the Polish army, the Baum family settled in Drohitchin (in the house of Meir Yudel Feldman). Binyamin got back into business and prospered.

        When the German murderers started killing the Jews of Drohitchin, Binyamin survived the ghetto and joined the partisans in the forest. He was a fine soldier, knew how to hold and use weapons, and soon became one of the leaders of his partisan unit. Binyamin then changed his name to Boris Baumovitch, and led large operations to take revenge on the German murderers.

        One winter night, Boris and his partisans surrounded the Balkon estate (around 3-4 miles from Drohitchin), disarmed the Germans running the estate, and took the entire stock of animals (28 cows and horses). They forced the Germans to take the animals into the forest to the partisans. In the forest the partisans held a trial of the Germans and then shot them.

        When Boris heard about the awful news about the deaths of the Jews of Khomsk, and how the gentiles led by the priest used scythes and axes to kill the Jews, he decided to take revenge against the treacherous peasants. Boris contacted the partisans and together they headed for Khomsk, where they used machine guns to kill all the guilty peasants, the priest and all the Germans in Khomsk.

        (One exception was the priest of Drohitchin, Polevski, who helped the Jews. When the Germans imposed a huge tax on the Jews, the priest gave away his gold crucifixes to cover the amount of the tax).

        Boris settled accounts with many other peasants who killed Jews or who helped the Germans. Whole families of peasants paid with their lives so that the people should hear and see!

[photo:] On the left is Boris with the partisan unit

[Page 346]

[photo:] Simcha Feldman (right), may G-d avenge his blood, and Yosef Feldman of Chicago.

        Boris was one captured in a trap by three Germans. He fought the three of them by himself and killed them. However, the Germans managed to shoot his horse and wound Boris in the leg. He remained alone losing blood, until a peasant wagon drove by. The peasant, seeing the three dead Germans, crossed himself and wanted to flee, but Boris was able to force him to take him to the partisan base. Boris later joined the Red Army, where he displayed great heroism as a commander, saw death and devastation in the German cities until the German murderers were destroyed. Boris was awarded the Orders of Lenin and Stalin for his heroic activities.

        I received my first letter from Boris in 1946 in which he asked me to look for his sister (Sarah and her husband Irving Farb) in Chicago. Shortly thereafter, I received a letter from Boris from Prague, Czechoslovakia, in which he said that he was ill. Boris' sister traveled to Prague, but unfortunately she could not do anything to save him. A friend of Boris, A. Briland, wrote the following about Boris in 1947 in Lodz:

        “We were in a battle with the Germans. We were few and they were many. Boris was wounded by a German bullet, and he fell down all bloodied. However, his desire for revenge did not weaken. I lifted him up and wanted to take him back to the partisan base, but Boris pulled away from me, and threw his last grenade at the Germans. I took him to the partisans' hospital some 15 kilometers away, but Boris responded, “My heart is still uneasy because I couldn't shoot another couple of Germans. Our experience cannot be put onto paper. Boris was both mother and father to me. My heart cries for him. I would like to engage G-d in a rabbinical court case. G-d had saved him from so many dangers, and now, when he could live, he took Boris away. Why?”

        Boris himself wrote a letter dated July 15, 1945 in which he said the following: “I could never have enough paper on which I could write you everything. I was wounded five times in the battles with the Germans. I am now discharged from the army (the Red Army) as an invalid. On the outside I am all right, but inside I am not all right. If I have a home, and take care of myself, I can still hope to recover completely. Emotionally I am very depressed because when I left the army I didn't find any of our relatives. I am now alone in a foreign world.”

        As long as Boris held the gun of revenge in his hand, he was raging. His wrath and desire for revenge against the German murderers gave him strength and impetus to live through all physical and emotional suffering. However, as soon as he put down his gun, all of his physical and emotional wounds reopened. Boris passed away in the hospital in Prague Czechoslovakia in 1946.

[photo:] Dr. Hershel and Liza Feldman. They perished. May G-d avenge their blood! Hershel was a cousin of Yosef Feldman.

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