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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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REAR TO THE FRONT. DEFENSE FUND
On 29 July 1941 the Pravda newspaper published a review of letters from hundreds of workers with a call to set up a special fund to raise money and material assets for the Red Army. People suggested investing voluntary contributions in the manufacture of tanks, aircraft and other vehicles.

A few days later, all offices of the USSR State Bank opened accounts with people donating personal savings, gold, silver, bonds. Civilians of the Soviet Union gave everything they had to the army.
Villagers, workers from cities, members of the Communist Party and non-members, scientists, public servants… People from all walks of life contributed to the fund. Workers donated their one-day earnings every month to help the army. Workers arranged Sunday workdays, collective farms planted "defense hectares", representatives of science and art donated royalties and bonuses. Over the four months the defense fund raised more than seven billion Soviet rubles, and tens of thousands of kilograms of silver, gold and other valuables.
Donation updates were published in regular reports by the Soviet Information Bureau, printed in newspapers. The unity of the front and the rear was reflected in articles in handwritten partisan journals:
"The Soviet people are not sparing their efforts to provide the front with everything it needs to fight and win. Workers and peasants have collected millions of felt boots, fur coats and sheepskin, warm underwear, gloves and other items for the Red Army… People in the Soviet rear are working tooth and nail to help the Red Army as much as possible with weapons and food supplies. Working at factories and plants, in mines, in the public transport system and in agriculture, Komsomol members lead the way by demonstrating exceptional dedication and selfless work. They organized the two-hundreders movement to produce twice as much in the name of "the comrade who left for the front" and set up frontline brigades.

Excerpt from the Sokol handwritten journal, Issue No.3, Ponomarenko Unit, Levchenko Minsk Brigade No.2, March 1944

People all over occupied Belarus and partisans donated their money and valuables for the capacity building of the Red Army. "It was extremely difficult to raise money in the occupied territories. However, the money raising effort went on, although every donated ruble could entail death for donators and their families," partisans wrote in their handwritten journals.
For reference: By spring 1943 residents and partisans of Belarus had collected 5,394,342 rubles, including 606,000 rubles from partisans, 2,100 rubles worth of gold, and 1,240,000 rubles worth of bonds, for building aircraft and armored trains.

Between autumn 1943 and early 1944 residents and partisans in the occupied territory of Belarus transferred about 10 million rubles in actual currency and bonds, over 13kg of gold, about 90kg of silver, and other valuables to the defense fund.

The K.K. Rokossovsky Brigade alone collected and transferred across the frontline over 100,000 rubles and over 2kg of gold and silver. Working people in Mogilev Oblast raised 1,327,959 rubles for building the tank column Belarusian Partisan.
Porte-monnaie of F.F. Gaidukov, Commissar of Partisan Unit No.11 of the Dubov Chashniki Brigade, Vitebsk Oblast. In this wallet partisans kept bonds and money raised for the Defense Fund by partisans and local residents
Government bonds were an important source of funds for restoring the economy ruined by the Nazi and for enhancing the defense capacity of the Soviet Union. The first issue of such bonds was authorized by the USSR Council of People's Commissars in 1942. The propaganda leaflet, which encouraged people to lend money by buying war bonds, read that the war bonds were issued at a time when the country was fighting tooth and nail against the crue enemy:

"The great leader of the Soviet people and its heroic Red Army, comrade Stalin wants the country to work indefatigably in order to eliminate the Germans' numerical superiority in tanks and aviation, in order to give more and more tanks, aircraft, cannons, mortars, machine guns, rifles, assault rifles, and ammunition to frontline army units every day…

Let us help the country fight against the enemy by purchasing the Government War Bonds of 1942! Let us ensure every success to the war bonds of 1942!"

The first Government War Bonds, with their face value of 10 billion Soviet rubles, exceeded 13 billion Soviet rubles. It was followed by others, one issue per year, and each with the maturity period of 20 years. A total of four issues of such loans were floated.
"The war has made the union of workers and peasants more solid, has strengthened the friendship of the USSR peoples, and has made the Soviet state stronger. Unprecedentedly strong patriotism of the Soviet people, mass heroism on the front and selfless work in the rear are distinguishing features of the Soviet system. The Red Army is delivering more and more attacks on the enemy. Our troops continue to conduct an offensive. The people's help to the Red Army also contributed to this success... ".

Excerpt from the Sokol handwritten journal, Issue No.3, Ponomarenko Unit, Levchenko Minsk Brigade No.2, March 1944

Voluntary contributions from the population were used to build thousands of warplanes, tens of thousands of tanks, warships and submarines. Being on short commons, home front workers gave all they could to the defenders of the Motherland. Having emerged spontaneously, the defense fund went down in history as one of the most massive patriotic movements to help the Red Army during the Great Patriotic War.
Sokol handwritten journal, Issue No. 3, March 1944
To be continued...
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© BelTA News Agency, 2018
© Belarusian State Museum of History of the Great Patriotic War, 2018
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