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Holocaust Survivor Testimony: Baruch Kopold

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Published on Apr 7, 2013

Baruch Kopold was born in 1923 in Iwje, Belarus, the second of five children to Mozes and Hassia.
The Germans occupied Iwje in June 1941, and Baruch was put to backbreaking labor. By May 1942 most of the town's Jews had been shot. After Baruch was forced to cover up the mass graves, he was then deported with his family to the Lida ghetto. With his father's encouragement, Baruch and seven of his friends cut the fences of the ghetto, swam across the half-frozen river and escaped to the forests. The group came upon partisans who refused to accept them without weapons. Later on, they were accepted to Tuvia Bielski's brigade, underwent training, and were issued arms.
The fighters acquired guns from attacks on SS soldiers, or by smuggling from a weapons factory close to Lida where many Jews from the ghetto worked. When the Germans placed a siege on the forest, the partisans dug underground bunkers that they camouflaged with leaves and branches.
In June 1944, eight of the fighters in the brigade were killed in an encounter with an SS unit.
When the area was liberated by the Red Army, Baruch returned to Iwje but discovered that his parents, his brother Yitzhak and his three sisters -- Bracha, Bailea and Havva -- had been murdered in Majdanek. After escaping from a Soviet work camp, he returned to Poland and joined an Aliyah preparatory group. He led a group of Jews on foot through Czechoslovakia, Austria and across the Alps to Italy. In May 1946 Baruch arrived in Eretz Israel. During the War of Independence, he was drafted into the Haganah and met his future wife Lea, an Auschwitz survivor. Baruch worked at Bank Leumi until retirement.
Baruch and Lea have three daughters, eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

For more information http://www.yadvashem.org/remembrance/...

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