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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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Zhukov Brigade's Anthology of Partisan Art
"… Often, in a grim dugout, a young partisan would gather his comrades, who would sit on bunks around a poor-lit torch, and, read out his poems or a story. The partisans tired after a difficult mission would closely listen to the young author and their life would suddenly seem more beautiful and richly colored. That was how partisans' art was born, in the rare moments of relaxation. The art was young, not clearly formalized, but sincere in feelings and aspirations."

Excerpt from the preface to The Anthology of Partisan Art, Issue No.1, Zhukov Brigade, Vileika Oblast
Partisans of Mogilev Oblast receive uniforms after joining the Red Army, 1943. Photo from the museum's archives
V.A. Titovets shared his thoughts about the works of national avengers in the preface to the handwritten journal of the Zhukov Brigade. He lauded the initiative of Eva and Pavel Kozlovsky who collected the partisans' works and assembled them into the anthology.
Before leaving for a combat operation, 1943. Photo from the museum's archives
Two volumes of The Anthology of Partisan Art compiled by the Zhukov Brigade were published in 1944. This anthology played an important role in partisans' cultural life. It brought together young fighters who made their first steps in the literary field. Poetry was the most popular genre. The anthology features many poems by head of the counterintelligence unit of the brigade Kim Antipenko (who wrote under the pen-name of Mikhail Volk).
The literary works were often dedicated to fallen comrades-in-arms. For example, there was a story about the fallen Captain Prokopiev translated from Polish, poems about partisans Cheryomukhin and Vinogradov.
"You rushed into danger. From the hills of Manchuria up to the wild Caucasus, from the sullen waters of Ladoga to the placid fields and steppes of Ukraine. The enemy bullet reached you on the sad fields of Belorussia".

Excerpt from Mieczysіaw Beronski's article On the Death of Captain Prokopiev, The Anthology of Partisan Art, Issue No. 1, Zhukov Brigade, Vileika Oblast
German soldiers yield themselves prisoner to the partisans of the Petrel Brigade.
Photo from the museum's archives
Pages of the anthology recall the first military misfortunes (Between Life and Death, Night), yearning for one's home (Partisan Song, Puzzle), daring calls for arms and spot-on irony mocking the enemy (Dangerous Hunt, Out of Luck). Patriotic and heroic epos is followed by lyric, which in turn is followed by satire and humor.
"2 July 1944 was a joyous and unforgettable day for the Zhukov Brigade. On this day advanced forces of the Red Army united with the Zhukov Brigade as they fought to free Braslav District from Hitler's scum. The period of living and writing in the enemy's rear was over. So was the anthology. Gleaming prospects for fruitful work for the benefit of the free Motherland lie before its authors now."

Excerpt from the preface to The Anthology of Partisan Art, Issue No. 2, Zhukov Brigade, Vileika Oblast
This is what the partisan Pavel Kozlovsky wrote in the preface to the second issue of the anthology. The works this issue contains were written and submitted from 1 May through 2 July 1944. The anthology wraps up with Pavel Kozlovsky's poem "We Waited for You and You Came". The poem was read to the Red Army soldiers at a meeting to honor soldiers-liberators in the village of Zamoshye, Braslav District.
Under the command of Pavel Syromakha, the partisans of the Zhukov Brigade jointly with the partisans of the Za Rodinu Brigade and the Red Army, were engaged in continuous fights against the retreating enemy, stopped the enemy's vehicles between Sharkovshchina and Braslav. A total of 142 German soldiers and officers were killed in the battles on 1 July 1944 alone. The brigade ambushed the enemy's garrison in the settlement of Opsa and waited for the Red Army to help destroy it.
On 2 July 1944, a total of 815 partisans of the Zhukov Brigade joined the Red Army. Soldiers of the 166th rifle division of the 2nd guard's infantry corps of the 1st Baltic Front and partisans of the brigade liberated the city of Braslav on 6 July.
Partisans of the Zheleznyak Brigade join the Red Army.
Photo from the museum's archives
The Anthology of Partisan Art, Issues No.1 and No. 2, Zhukov Brigade, Vileika Oblast
To be continued...
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© Belarusian State Museum of History of the Great Patriotic War, 2018
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