My Mother Was a Partisan

Object Day Regensburg: Sofiya Haradzetskaya

“Show us your story!“ – Beginning last year, the Jewish participants in the Object Days project have followed this invitation by recounting their migration stories.

An elderly couple holding an old black and white photograph in their hands

Sofiya Haradzetskaya (on the right) with her husband Ilya Haradzetski.
Born in 1933 in Dubrowna, Vitebsk Region, USSR, now Belarus.
Living in Germany since 2000.
Nurse.

My mother joined the partisans and fought with them until late 1944. A friend of hers had fetched me from the Dubrowna Ghetto; my grandparents had been shot. The friend took me to her relatives 30 kilometers away, claiming I was her daughter from her first marriage. I survived there, tending to the cows. I didn’t look Jewish. Later, that friend also rescued my mother from the ghetto. The eastern part of Belarus was liberated first: Mazyr, Gomel. The rest remained under occupation until November 1944. When the Red Army advanced, the Germans drove everyone from Dubrowna to Orsha so there would be nothing left for the Red Army: no supporters, no provisions, nothing. I walked around barefoot. It was wintertime. My legs ache to this day. Because Orsha was an important transportation hub, the Wehrmacht didn’t want to surrender the town. The battles over the town were fierce. I tended to cows again, even after Orsha was liberated. That’s how I survived. Then my mother returned in April 1945. When she found me, I was twelve years old.