Joseph Serchuk

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Brothers Sierczuk, David (left) and Josef (right) in Stalinist Poland wearing communist military uniforms

Joseph (Yozhik) Serchuk born Józef Serczuk or Josef Sierczuk (Chełm, 1919 – 6 November 1993, Tel Aviv) was the leader of a Jewish partisan unit in the Lublin area of occupied Poland during the Holocaust. After World War II, he testified at trials of the Nazis, and received special recognition from the State of Israel.

Biography[edit]

After his parents and other family members were killed in the ghetto in 1941, Joseph and his brother David were taken to Sobibor extermination camp. After one day in the camp, he fled with his brother to the nearest forest, and together with other survivors founded the core of a partisan group. During the war, the group was led by Jews who had escaped from nearby ghettos and from Sobibor. The group also included the postwar writer Dov Freiberg.[1]

After the war, Joseph took part in locating the fleeing Nazi war criminals in Europe and served as a witness in the Nuremberg Trials. He joined communist forces in Poland under the Soviet military control (pictured). His brother joined the Stalinist security apparatus and was killed in an anti-partisan action.[2] In 1950, during the darkest years of Stalinism in Poland, Serchuk obtained a passport and went to Israel. Immediately upon arriving in Israel, he was drafted as a soldier to the Israeli army. After service, he married, settled in Yad Eliyahu in Tel Aviv, and opened a business.

Over the years, Serchuk went to Europe several times to testify in the trials of Nazi war criminals. In the trial of Oberscharführer Hugo Raschendorfer, he was one of three prosecution witnesses (the other witnesses were Chaim Feder and Chaim Povroznik who survived Sobibor). After Raschendorfer was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment, Serchuk was awarded a special award from the Nazi Crimes Investigation Department of the Israel Police.

In 1967, Levi Eshkol, the Israeli Prime Minister, gave him the Fighters against Nazis Medal, and in 1968, Serchuk received in addition the State Fighters Medal. Serchuk saw the establishment and strengthening of the Israel Defense Forces and the State of Israel as retribution against the Nazis who slaughtered all of his extended family.[3]

Serchuk died in 1993 in Tel Aviv, at the age of 74.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dov Freiberg (2007). To Survive Sobibor. pp. 301–377, 319–322. ISBN 9652293881 – via Amazon Kindle. 
  2. ^ Paul, Mark (2008). Polish-Jewish Relations in Wartime Northeastern Poland and the Aftermath (DOC). Part Three. Toronto: PEFINA Press. pp. 33, 35, 41. 
  3. ^ ThePartisan.org. "יוסף סרצ'יק יוז'יק" [Srtz'ik Ioz'ik (or) Serchuk, Joseph]. Likely Wikipedia mirror (in Hebrew). Organization of Partisans Underground Fighters and Ghetto Rebels. See: Google translate. First captured by Wayback in 2012. 

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Freiberg, Dov (1993). A Journey To The Past With Dekel Shibolim. Ramla. 
  • Freiberg, Dov (1996). A Man as Any Other. Ramla. 
  • Freiberg, Dov (2007). To Survive Sobibor. New York.