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.


Sergei Zhunin was a third-class intendant of the 8th Tank Regiment, the 36th Cavalry Division, the 10th Army of the Western Front, when the war broke out. In July 1941, he took the lead of a group of soldiers who stayed in the enemy rear near Khvatovka village in Mogilev Oblast. Within a year, the group turned into "Sergei's" unit which was later assigned No.36.
In September 1942, professional officer and experienced commander Sergei Zhunin was appointed head of Krugloye Brigade No.8 established in Mogilev Oblast. Later, he was also put in charge of the Krugloye military-operational unit that incorporated partisan units from the whole district. For successful leadership, Sergei Zhunin was awarded the Order of the Red Banner and honored with the title of colonel.
Sergei Zhunin (center), June 1940. Photo from the museum's archives
"...After three hours of fighting at the Slavnoye railway station we destroyed all enemy fortifications. A fistfight ensued near the echelon which had arrived at the station right before the battle began. Storages, barracks, two more echelons at the side tracks were on fire. It seemed that a whole army was advancing on us. Everyone around was roaring 'Hurrah!'… After we had seized the station, all that was left was more than a hundred German bodies and piles of rubble… The trains would not be able to cross the station for a long time..."

Excerpt from the chapter "Battle at Slavnoye" from Sergei Zhunin's book From the Dnieper to the Bug
A battle at the Slavnoye station in August 1942 is one of the most eloquent examples of heroism of the brigade commander and his men. The combat operation was described in Zhunin's book From the Dnieper to the Bug. The memoirs were published in 1974.
Handwritten journal of Unit No.36, Brigade No.8 of Brest Oblast
A handwritten journal is another chronicle documenting combat feats of Unit No.36 of Brigade No.8. The journal features partisans' poetry and folklore interspersed with patriotic appeals, descriptions of heroes and pictures.
Articles of the handwritten journal of Unit No.36, Brigade No.8 of Brest Oblast
Following an order of the Belarusian partisan HQ, the brigade set out on a difficult journey. Within two months it covered a long way from Krugloye District, Mogilev Oblast, to Gantsevichi District, Pinsk Oblast. After that, in January 1944, it moved to Kossovo District where it joined the partisan force of Brest Oblast.
Leaflet of the Mogilev Underground Oblast Committee of the Communist Party of Belarus, 28 June 1944
The brigade swung into action as early as February. Over the four months they derailed 45 trains, blew up 64 highway bridges and destroyed 160 enemy vehicles and other machinery.
"In the last two or three months, Sherstobitov's unit has been carrying out subversive work… Sherstobitov did not have any explosives, so his unit obtained TNT from the enemy and blew up 17 echelons..."

Excerpt from the short story Brave Demolitionists from the handwritten journal of Unit No.36, Brigade No.8, Brest Oblast
For acts of bravery during the missions in the enemy rear, courage and personal contribution to the development of the partisan movement Sergei Zhunin was awarded the title the Hero of the Soviet Union on 15 August 1944.
Sergei Zhunin (left) and head of Unit No.12, Brigade No.8 A.S. Nikitchenko, Minsk, 1968. Photo from the museum's archives
Meeting of the veterans of Krugloye Brigade No.8, June 1967. Photo from the museum's archives
After the war, Colonel Zhunin was transferred to the reserve. He continued his career as a Communist Party functionary in Brest and Minsk. Sergei Zhunin was awarded the Order of Lenin, the Order of the Red Banner, the Order of the Red Star, medals. He died in 1977 and was buried in Minsk.
A street in the town of Krugloye, Mogilev Oblast, was named after Hero of the Soviet Union Sergei Zhunin. A bronze bust to the hero was installed in the yard of Minsk School No.100.
Handwritten journal of Unit No.36, Brigade No.8 of Brest Oblast
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© Belarusian State Museum of History of the Great Patriotic War, 2018