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.

Together with adults they bore all the hardships of the war and partisan life. They pasted leaflets, were couriers and scouts, took part in combat operations. More than 5,500 young patriots joined the underground and partisan movement during the Great Patriotic War in Belarus. Two of them, Marat Kazei and Zina Portnova, were awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union title posthumously.
Secretary of the Minsk Underground Regional Committee of the Communist Party of Belarus I. Belsky (second from right) during radio communication with the Soviet Union rear. In the center is Tolya Delendik, a 10-year-old adjutant of the commander of the unit, 1943. Photo from the museum's archives
In his book "People of High Sense of Duty" Hero of the Soviet Union Roman Machulsky described the perseverance and heroism of the children who aspired to join adults in their fight against the Nazis: "You feel this burning feeling of pity for them and also pride for what they, our children, are". According to Roman Machulsky, no one encouraged the children to join partisans. On the contrary, they were sent home. But they would come back again and again..."
"It is difficult in the German rear. How much grief the Nazis brought us! They executed our parents or took them to Germany... Our fathers and brothers are fighting against the Germans. Our main task is to study, study and study!"

Excerpt from the article in wall newspaper Our studies, Issue No.1, of the Kirov pioneer organization, Brest Oblast, 1944
Teenagers whose parents were killed by the Nazis were allowed to join partisans. Some partisan units opened schools so that children could continue studies. Children had to witness the hard life of partisans: they saw them off as fighters set forth on combat operations, saw the suffering of the wounded and paid last respects to the fallen. All this was documented by newspapers handwritten by pioneers units of forest schools.
"At a mourning rally we learned that our brigade suffered a grievous loss – the Nazis killed 20 partisans. We, students of our school, swore to take revenge for the murder of our brothers. The number of higher achievers rises every day…"

Excerpt from the Pioneer wall newspaper, Issue No.2, school of the Zhdanov Unit, Brest Oblast, 1944

Essays and stories about young heroes written by talented partisan journalists Ananyin and Deyev remained in the handwritten journals of the Stalin Unit from Mogilev Oblast and Budyonny Minsk Partisan Brigade No.3.
"When our forces were retreating together with the Red Army, children hid and stored weapons and military equipment. Often they did not even tell their families or elder comrades about it. Very soon children learned about some strong and very brave people who lived in the forest and who came at night to talk to villagers."

Excerpt from the People's Avenger handwritten journal, Issues No.2-3, the Budyonny Minsk Partisan Brigade No.3.

"A 11-year-old pioneer Dodik Nalibotsky demonstrated exceptional courage. Back in 1941 the Nazi tortured his father, sister and brother to death. In May this year he managed to escape from the ghetto together with his mother and six other comrades. Upon joining the partisan unit he earned respect and trust of the group's commanding officer from the very first days. Several days later he once again went to Minsk on a special mission upon the order of his superior officer. He completed the mission with honor and came back."

Excerpt from the People's Avenger handwritten journal, Issues No.2-3, the Budyonny Minsk Partisan Brigade No.3.

A 14-year-old Vasily Rusalovich joined the Voroshilov Partisan Unit in summer 1943. Before the war he was a third-grade student of the Skorinichi basic school in Minsk District. In 1939 he was admitted to the Minsk Choreographic College. As part of the partisan unit he was initially a messenger for the commanding officer I. Pavlov. But Vasily insisted he should be transferred to the demolition team led by V. Pisarchik. The boy went out on reconnaissance missions many times. He learned how to use explosives and was a perfect shot with a rifle.

Vasily Rusalovich, a partisan from the Voroshilov Unit of Minsk Brigade No. 3. Photo from the museum's archives

Comrade Rusalovich derailed three trains, killing and injuring 90 Nazis. Comrade Rusalovich also took an active part in a head-on battle with the Nazis in the village of Obshchaya. During the encirclement he, despite the young age (born in 1928), moved tirelessly together with his commander Amelyanchik.

Excerpt from the personal file of Vasily Rusalovich

Vasily Rusalovich was nominated for the government's award, the Partisan of the Patriotic War Medal 2nd Degree. The time spent in the partisan unit made the young reconnoiterer grown-up and mature. On 16 July 1944 he joined the historical parade of partisans in Minsk.
After the war Vasily resumed his studies in the choreographic college and performed in the opera and ballet theater for some time. Unfortunately, he tragically died in 1947.
Young national avengers had to take part in the partisan war by a twist of fate. An army of boys and girls fought against the Nazis. They defended their Motherland and did their best to bring the Victory forth as much as they could.
National Avenger handwritten journal, 15 June 1942
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© Belarusian State Museum of History of the Great Patriotic War, 2018