Records were made wherever and whenever possible - in dugouts, between the battles, on wallpaper, exercise books, office books…

Handwritten partisan journals were kept together with important documents. They contained facts and figures interspersed with stories about the daily grind, battles and heroes. Handmade 'books' were pepped up by pictures and unfailing sense of humor. They were circulated to raise morale. They were read to draw strength.

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It was called Little Soviet Land. The Klichev partisan area was among the largest ones in Belarus. Its territory exceeded 3,000 km2 in early 1944. As many as 18,000 partisans guarded it. It was home to over 70,000 civilians. Every day the fighters left the Usakino forests – the heart of the partisan area – to carry out combat missions…
KLICHEV PARTISAN AREA
The partisan units and groups were made up of local residents or were closely connected with the locals. They managed to survive the hard, sometimes unbearable conditions of the first years of the war. Klichev District in Mogilev Oblast was no exception. The fact is documented by multiple pages of handwritten partisan journals. The largest partisan area was created in Klichev District.
"German fascists repeatedly undertook their 'victorious' raids against partisans of Klichev District seeking to destroy and exterminate them. It cost them a lot of nerves, human resources and machinery. What did they achieve in the end? They turned themselves inside out, but their efforts came to naught…"

Excerpt from the National
Avenger journal,
Issue No. 11 as of 1942,
Partisan Unit No. 208
named after Stalin
The Klichev partisan area encompassed Klichev District and some parts of the neighboring districts such as Osipovichi District, Belynichi District, Berezino District, Kirovsk District and other districts in Mogilev Oblast. The area was created and controlled by the partisan units, who destroyed over 80 Nazi garrisons and police departments in this territory during fierce fighting in October 1941 – March 1942.
Klichev Partisan Area
A communist meeting in the village of Usakino passed a resolution on 3 April 1942 to restore the Soviet rule in Klichev District. The Klichev District Committee of the Communist Party, the Klichev District Executive Committee and the Klichev Combat Operations Center were set up.
"Since the area has been cleared of the enemy, since the people support us, we need to restore the Soviet rule and give an opportunity to its representatives to be in charge. And then this overwhelming power will spread out and history will be made…"

Excerpt from the National Avenger journal, Issue No. 4 as of 1942
Portrait photo and ID of P.Viktorchik, Chairman of the Klichev District Executive Committee of the Communist Party of Belarus
"Member of the district executive committee Viktorchik, together with comrade Zayats, fought in the underground movement. He did not leave his position, either. And now he willingly assumed this honorable and demanding task to restore the Soviet power in the district. The historical value of the restoration of the Soviet rule in Klichev District is immeasurable. Fighting deep in the enemy rear, amidst constant terror, executions and plunder, it is impossible to break the spirit and the will to victory of the freedom-loving nation".

Excerpt from the National Avenger journal, Issue No. 4 as of 1942
By the end of 1942, the liberated territory covered about 1,900 km2. It was held by partisan units No. 208, 277, 752, 61, 128, 760 and 620.
On behalf of the Military Council of the Western Front, Georgy Zhukov congratulates partisans on breaking out of the encirclement, August 1942
By the beginning of 1944, the area expanded to 3,000 km2 and had a population of over 70,000 civilians. The area was defended by more than 18,000 partisans.

A mound of glory and a monument were set up in Klichev to commemorate the partisans who liberated the town in March 1942.
Welcoming a plane from the Big land on a partisan airdrome. Photo by BelTA
The partisan areas were at the forefront of popular resistance, a rear zone, a base where planes from the Big Land could land and where partisans trained reserve forces.
"The Klichev District Executive Committee of the Communist Party, the Executive Committee of the District Council of Deputies and the Command Staff of the partisan units point out that the working people of our district have no doubts about the downfall of the German fascism and believe in the inevitable victory of the great Soviet nation. They provide more and more assistance to national avengers – Red partisans, and stand up against the enemy, in dozens and hundreds. Working people take to arms and join partisan units…"

Excerpt from the National Avenger journal,
Issue No. 4 as of 1942, Partisan Unit No. 208
named after Stalin
Civilians living in the partisan areas joined the groups of national avengers. Locals took part in the warfare, collected and repaired weapons, helped in housekeeping, provided partisans with food, dwelling, footwear and clothes, looked after injured and sick soldiers. Under the protection and with the assistance of national avengers the residents of the partisan areas sowed and harvested crops, hid them from the enemy.
Residents of entire villages left their homes to join partisans. Photo by BelTA
Leaflets, newspapers and reports of the Soviet Information Bureau were distributed among the population.

Residents of the partisan areas celebrated every Soviet holiday by hanging out red flags, holding meetings, organizing concerts and film screenings.
The partisan areas were of crucial significance for the country's resistance against the Nazis. During the liberation of Belarus the enemy did not have a chance to organize defense within the partisan areas, which helped the Soviet army conduct offensive operations.
The National Avenger journal, Issue No. 4 as of 1942, Partisan Unit No. 208 named after Stalin
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© Belarusian State Museum of History of the Great Patriotic War, 2018
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