Shirt worn by Tuvia Bielsky as a partisan
Gift of Lillian Bielsky-Bell
Id no. 416.96, Textile
Subject(s):  Resistance
Tuvia Bielsky wore this shirt during his time as the Commander of the Bielsky Brigade and Family Camp (1942-1944), the largest Jewish partisan group in European forests. Bielsky brought three shirts similar to this one into the forest in 1941. Bielsky asked his wife Lillian to save this shirt as a memento of his time spent in the forest.

Bielsky was a Polish Jew born in the village of Stankiewicze, near Nowogrodek, in 1906. After the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, Jews in the region, including Bielsky and his family, were forced to move into the Nowogrodek ghetto. In December 1941 his parents were murdered by the Nazis in a mass execution, but Bielsky and his three brothers escaped into the dense Naliboki forest northeast of Nowogrodek, where they established a partisan group (soldiers unaffiliated with formal armies that fought against the Nazis). The Bielsky Brigade?s primary aim was to protect other Jews, including the weak and elderly. Over the course of the war, the group grew considerably and ultimately rescued some 1,200 Jews. After the war, Bielsky immigrated to Israel and eventually the US, where he started a small trucking business in New York.
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