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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

The Partisans: Behind Enemy Lines




From a folder of historic cards published in 1985 on the 40th anniversary of the victory of the USSR in the Great Patriotic War we continue our series looking at the Hero Cities and Fortresses as well as other sites and battles critical to the Soviet victory. The folder was entitled "No one is Forgotten. Nothing is Forgotten."


This fourteenth post looks at the heroic role played by the partisans behind the lines in fighting the Nazis and liberating the occupied parts of the Soviet Union. It has a photograph of the "Breakthrough" Memorial Complex located in the located in the Ushachi district of the Vitebsk region in what is now Belarus. It is in honour of the Polotsk-Lepel partisan unit that led a breakthrough against Nazi forces in May 1944.


It is important to never forget the tremendous determination, courage and sacrifices of the Soviet peoples and Red Army in the great struggle of liberation against Nazism and fascism that was World War II.




The struggle of the Soviet people in the rear of the Nazi invaders was one of the most striking manifestations of the people’s unyielding will to victory, their patriotism, and boundless devotion to the ideals of the party. During the Great Patriotic War, it acquired a nationwide character and became a qualitatively new phenomenon in the history of the struggle of peoples against foreign invaders.


Courageous patriots of our Motherland helped the Soviet Armed Forces to crush the fascists behind enemy lines. At the head of the national struggle was the Communist Party, the proven vanguard of the Soviet people. The Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks paid unrelenting attention to the development of the partisan movement and the activities of party organizations on Soviet territory captured by the enemy.


In the areas temporarily occupied by the invaders, a widespread partisan struggle unfolded, and numerous underground groups were active. In total, more than one million people's avengers - representatives of all nationalities of the Soviet Union - fought the enemy. The earth burned under the feet of the occupiers. Under the leadership of the communists, the Komsomol underground fought selflessly; they made up about 30 percent of all partisans. The population of areas captured by the enemy actively helped the partisans and underground fighters.


The partisans caused more than 20,000 derailments of enemy trains, disabled over 10,000 locomotives and 110,000 cars, blew up 12,000 bridges, destroyed 50,000 vehicles and 58 armored trains.


For successful actions, 184,000 partisans and underground fighters were awarded orders and medals, 249 partisans and underground fighters were awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, and over 127,000 people were awarded the medal “Partisan of the Patriotic War” of the 1st and 2nd degree.


A part of the Breakthrough Monument


Partisan unit.

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