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The Parczew partisans were fighters in irregular military groups participating in the Jewish resistance movement against Nazi Germany and its collaborators during World War II. The name of the partisan force, coined by the Holocaust historians, is borrowed from the Parczew forest located a short distance away from Lublin, halfway to the town of Sobibór, the location of the Sobibór extermination camp during the Holocaust in occupied Poland. The Jews who managed to escape from the camp hid in there along with the considerable number of Jewish families of the Lublin Ghetto.
The area including Parczew and Włodawa counties near Lublin in the General Government became one of the primary battlefields of the Jewish partisan movement. An area of forests and lakes with few passable roads, the Parczew forests were an ideal location for partisan activity. Notable partisan leaders included Ephraim (Frank) Bleichman and Shmuel (Mieczysław) Gruber. Gruber became the second-in-command to Yechiel Grynszpan, who led Jewish forces in the Parczew forest, and Bleichman was one of Grynszpan's two platoon commanders.
The same forest constituted the main base of the non-Jewish Polish partisan movement as well. Such high concentration of resistance including Gwardia Ludowa (GL), Bataliony Chłopskie (BCh), and Armia Krajowa (AK) was possible only due to strong material support from the surrounding counties.
The group fought along with the People's Guard (Polish: Gwardia Ludowa) in a number of intense engagements against German forces, making use of machine guns, explosives for mining railways and other supplies air-dropped by Soviet forces, with food stuffs requisitioned from local farmers. They participated in the takeover of the city of Parczew on April 16, 1944.
The Holocaust Encyclopedia claims that the Polish Home Army (AK) usually refused to accept Jews. This information however, is challenged on statistical grounds by the Jewish veteran of the Polish Home Army First Armoured Division, Willie Glaser who wrote, that Jewish resistance fighters were members of the Armia Krajowa in considerable numbers as well. Also, Gwardia Ludowa (GL) partisans, created by the communist PPR in January 1942 (with whom Parczew partisans aligned themselves) were engaged in terror aimed at local domination. On one occasion, the unit of Gwardia Ludowa commanded by Grzegorz Korczyński from Kraśnik County near Lublin, committed mass atrocities in the village of Ludmiłówka on 6 December 1942 killing dozens of Jews in retaliation for the PPR action in Grabówka against their own men. The murders were hushed up in Stalinist Poland by the Ministry of Public Security engaged in brutal persecution of the AK soldiers.
- Battalion Zośka in the Warsaw Uprising of 1944.
Notes and references
- Holocaust Encyclopedia. "Partisan Groups in the Parczew Forests". U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Retrieved 2007-08-15.
Text from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum webpage has been released under the GFDL license (OTRS ticket no. 2007071910012533 confirmed). The Museum can offer no guarantee that the information is correct in each circumstance.
- Browning, Christopher R. (1998) . Arrival in Poland (PDF). Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland (Penguin Books). pp. 88–93, 104–106. Retrieved October 18, 2015 – via direct download 7.91 MB complete.
- Agnieszka Smreczyńska-Gąbka. "Historia Parczewa. Bitwa w Lasach Parczewskich, 6–7 grudnia 1942 roku" [History of Parczew. Battle in the Parczew forest, 6–7 December 1942] (PDF). Gmina Parczew.
- Willie Glaser (February 5, 2000). "Letter to Polish Home Army (AK) Association" (WebCite). Jewish Military Casualties in The Polish Armies in World War II. Retrieved 2013-05-24.
- Piotr Gontarczyk (2003). Przypadek Stefana Kilianowicza, vel Grzegorza Korczyńskiego (PDF). Z genealogii elit PZPR (Glaukopis No. 1-2003). Retrieved 4 June 2015.
- Parczew Partisans, Chelm.freeyellow.com