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.

"The night was frosty. The ground was deep frozen. A hatchet would not go in and we had to use our hands. The guards were approaching. Sweaty hair stuck to our foreheads... But we were good. The Germans passed by and went ahead. I warmed up my fingers and gently inserted a detonator into a bomb. I softly covered it up with soil..."
"The risk was great but the desire to derail an enemy train was stronger than fear," Fyodor Bachilo wrote in his book-confession "I Stay to Live" in 1981. But back then in 1942, he, the commander of a sabotage unit of the Voroshilov partisan unit, brilliantly coped with another assignment.
Photo from the museum's archives
"Prior to joining the partisan unit Fyodor Bachilo worked in contact with partisans. He gave them 16 rifles, up to 10,000 cartridges, one RPD machine gun and a sub-machine gun. He also distributed Soviet literature and performed all sorts of tasks of great importance for partisans."

Fyodor Bachilo's combat performance review, 1944
18-year old Fyodor Bachilo joined partisans on 29 October 1942. "Soon afterwards, Fedya grew into a skilled demolitionist," reads his biography in the National Avenger handwritten journal of Budyonny Minsk Brigade No. 3 as of 1943. The courageous young partisan derailed over 20 enemy trains and killed hundreds of Nazis. He was seriously wounded three times.
"The command of the partisan unit highly appreciated the work of the brave demolitionist. He has been recommended for the government award for the second time, but Fedya says that nomination to become a member of the Communist Party has become the best reward for him. Fedya is not getting above himself. He stays humble, as a true candidate to the Lenin-Stalin Party of the Bolsheviks."

National Avenger journal, Issues No. 2–3, Budenny Minsk Brigade No. 3, October–November 1943
Photo from the museum's archives
Note: The team led by the demolition specialist Fyodor Bachilo blew up a total of 26 enemy trains destroying 18 steam engines and over 150 railcars with enemy personnel, hardware and ammunition. The group organized six diversionary explosions at the railway station Mikhanovichi, Minsk District, and in the city of Minsk.
"The party taught us courage, and you learned the lesson well" – these words begin a piece of poetry published in Leonid Albakh's collection of poems Partizanskaya Zorka published by Budenny Minsk Brigade No. 3. It is dedicated to partisan Bachilo, "the brigade's best demolitionist".
Photo from the museum's archives
"As the leader of the demolition team he earned the respect not only of his superiors and subordinates but also the local population," Fyodor Bachilo's combat performance review reads. "As a Komsomol member he put a lot of effort into propaganda in the villages and took an active part in the daily public life."
Portrait of Fyodor Bachilo made by partisan artist G.F.Brzhozovsky
During one of his missions Fyodor Bachilo was seriously wounded in both legs. After the war, he spent a lot of time in hospitals. After recovery in 1949 he came to the Chyrvonaya Zmena newspaper to work as a photojournalist.
Photo from the museum's archives
For his valor and heroism, Fyodor Bachilo was awarded the Partisan of the Patriotic War Medal First Degree and the USSR highest award, the Order of Lenin.
"Timegoesby. The war ended a long time ago. But the old wounds still hurt. So do the memories..." These are the final lines in Fyodor Bachilo's book "I Stay to Live". He passed away in 1992, but the name of the hero will remain forever in the history of the Belarusian partisan movement.
National Avenger journal, Issues No. 2–3, Budyonny Minsk Brigade No. 3, October–November 1943
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© Belarusian State Museum of History of the Great Patriotic War, 2018