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March to Freedom: The Story of Leon Rubin

Yad Vashem Yad Vashem

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Published 1 month ago

Leon Rubin was born in 1936 in Dolhinow, Poland (today Dauhinava, Belarus). In September 1939, the town, together with the rest of occupied eastern Poland, was annexed to the Soviet Union. In the summer of 1941, with the German invasion of the USSR, anti-Jewish policies were implemented in the town. In March 1942 the first Aktion took place, during which Leon and his family hid in a hiding place in their home. About a month later, the family members were transferred to the Dolhinow ghetto. During the second and third Aktions, both taking place in May 1942, the family hid in the same hiding place and thus survived. After the third Aktion, they, as well as the remaining survivors of the ghetto, decided to flee to the surrounding forests and join the partisans. After joining the "Avenger" partisan detachment, the detachment's Commissar Ivan Timchuk turned to the detachment's headquarters and the decision was made to lead the 270 Dolhinow survivors, mostly women, children and the elderly, to the Soviet Union side through a breach in the front line. Nikolai Kiselev, a former Red Army soldier who had joined the partisans, volunteered to lead the group. He was later recognized as a Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem. In late November 1942, after two and a half months of marching for about 1,500 kilometers, the group managed to cross into the Soviet Union. After the liberation of Belarus, the family returned to Dolhinow. In the early 1950s Leon moved to Minsk where he studied physics at the university. He immigrated to Israel in the 1960s, married Jennifer. They have four children and seven grandchildren.
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