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.

"A burst of machine-gun fire alarmed the entire squad at 7.00 in the morning. All assumed their positions... A decisive moment, a pause before a battle…"
On 2 October 1943 Partisan Unit No. 265 of Zhuravichi Partisan Brigade No. 10 of Gomel Oblast engaged in their last battle. Commissioner Karp Drachev emotionally described this event in his diary "780 Days Behind Enemy Lines".
March 1943, six months before the battle... Karp Drachev together with 10 partisans moved east of the Dnieper. Together with Ignaty Dikan's unit, the group destroyed a fortified police point in Gorodets and turned the area into a base for mass partisan movement. Since that time, many new members joined Partisan Unit No. 265. One month and a half later it merged with Zhuravichi Partisan Brigade No. 10.
"Every day we would welcome new members: young and old, men and women, armed and unarmed…"

Excerpt from the Voroshilovets journal, Partisan Unit No. 265, 1943
Partisan family camp. Photo by BelTA
Ignaty Dikan and Karp Drachev were commissioners of Zhuravichi Partisan Brigade No. 10.
Karp Drachev. Photo from the museum's archives
"Commander Karp Drachev was leading the way for his partisan group. He was a person of average height, 45 years old or something... An easy-going person, with a sense of quiet dignity. He has something to be proud of..."

Excerpt from the Voroshilovets journal, Partisan Unit No. 265, 1943
Ignaty Dikan's epaulets
Ignaty Dikan's service cap
Ignaty Dikan's papakha
Ignaty Dikan. Photo from the museum's archives
Led by Commissar Ignaty Dikan, Zhuravichi Brigade No. 10 gave rise to powerful partisan movement in Gomel Oblast. For his outstanding leadership skills and distinguished military service, he was awarded a major general rank by the resolution of the Council of People's Commissars of 16 September 1943. Since October 1943 he led the operative group of the Belarusian Headquarters of the Partisan Movement under the Military Council of the Belarusian (1st Belarusian) Front.
Photo from the museum's archives
In spring 1943, 110 partisans were encircled. They were outmanned by the Nazis several dozen times… The Engagement at Kamenka was one of the milestones in the history of Partisan Unit No. 265.
"The traitors were armed with guns, armored vehicles, dozens of mortars and machine guns. Drachev's men repelled 10 fierce enemy attacks that lasted all day long. They crushed the enemy and broke out of the encirclement. Comrade Drachev set an example of bravery and courage during the battle."

Excerpt from the Voroshilovets journal, Partisan Unit No. 265, 194
There was always time for some creativity and art despite the difficult combat conditions and exhausting operations. "The summer of 1943 is over. It is autumn now. Birds are gathering into flocks in order to leave for warm lands. Nightingales no longer sing in the forest. But our fight against the enemy never stops," the record of battles in the partisan unit's handwritten journal goes hand in hand with lyrics and humor.
"In June 1941 Hitler was fascinated by the success of the war. In his Reich Chancellery he stood in front of his portrait and asked aloud: 'Tell me, Adolf, what will happen to you in 2–3 years?' The portrait told him: I will be removed but you will be hanged".

"An episode from Hitler's life" from the Voroshilovets journal of Partisan Unit No. 265, 1943
Photo from the museum's archives
Nikolai Zakhoroshko is only 18 years old but he has already killed dozens of Germans and traitors. "There is not much to say about the life before the war: he finished school and that's it. Just like hundreds of thousands of other kids. He was under 16 when he first heard the breathtaking roar of cannons." There are dozens of biographies like that in the brigade's handwritten journal.
"A Komsomol member, demolitionist Vladimir Klyuchnikov personally derailed eight trains of the enemy… Another Komsomol member, scout Aleksei Aleshkin seized a heavy machine gun from the enemy in a battle… The Komsomol member – machine gunner Ivan Dushinov of the partisan unit named after Frunze courageously covered the breakout of his surrounded unit from 200 punitive troops."

Excerpt from the National Avenger journal, Zhuravichi Partisan Brigade No. 10, 1943
In early autumn of 1943, good news from the front on the Soviet radio was more frequent. The Red Army was pushing the enemy back to the west. Zhuravichi Partisan Brigade No. 10 was moving over the Sozh to join the Soviet troops.
"There are hordes of fascist troops everywhere. They were taking all roads to retreat to the west, over the Sozh. Many of them, however, find their death in the fields and forests of Belarus. We interfere with the advancement of the enemy in every possible way, by attacking their supply transport, and are ready to repel any attack on us…"

Excerpt from the story Last Days in the Woods, Voroshilovets journal, Partisan Unit No. 265, 1943
Partisans discuss a plan of operation. Photo by BelTA
On 2 October 1943 Partisan Unit No. 265 engaged in their last battle.
"2 October 1943 is the day that will stay long in our memory. On this day our partisan unit joined the Red Army."

Excerpt from the National Avenger journal, Zhuravichi Partisan Brigade No.10, 1943
"The last verbal warning comes from the partisan outpost. A machine gun will be next... And suddenly, out of nowhere, here comes the Soviet Red Army. Hurray, friendly forces have finally met. The long-awaited liberator has come... This was the last and very successful battle …"

Excerpt from Karp Drachev's diary "780 Days Behind Enemy Lines"
After welcoming the Red Army, 418 partisans joined the Soviet troops. Some 100 people were decorated in recognition of their military service and achievement.
Voroshilovets journal. Partisan Unit No.265, 1943
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