Towel used by Chaya Porus with partisans
Gift of Simon and Chaya Palevsky
Id no. 2000.A.92, Textile
Chaya Porus was a partisan in the Narocz forest of Belarus, Poland from 1943 to 1944. Chaya Porus was born in Swieciany, near Vilna, Lithuania. The Porus family joined the underground resistance when it became clear that the occupying Nazi soldiers were systematically killing Jews. Their house was used to store guns and ammunitions. They smuggled weapons out of Svencionys and into the surrounding forest. The Svencionys ghetto was liquidated in April 1943, and Porus?s family was killed in a mass execution at Ponary, outside Vilna. Porus escaped this fate by traveling with her resistance group to the Vilna Ghetto, where she joined the FPO (United Partisan Organization).

This towel was found in a bundle of personal possessions confiscated from Jews who were shot in Ponary and brought to Vilna for sorting. Porus commented that she used the towel to "dry her tears? and herself.

In June 1943, her resistance group slipped out of the Vilna ghetto and joined the Jewish partisan unit Nekamah (Revenge). There Porus served as a nurse and met her future husband, Simon Palevsky, a fellow partisan. In the summer of 1944, the region where the group camped was liberated by the Soviets.

Discover more about this artifact and other stories from the Museum?s collection in, ?To Life: 36 Stories of Memory and Hope?
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