Baruch Shuv, chairman of the partisan organization, passed away today (Saturday) at the age of 96.
He was born again in Vilnius, Lithuania in 1924, the second son of a Hasidic family of six. In 1939 the Soviets occupied Vilnius and in June 1940 annexed and ruled Communism. The universities were opened to the Jews, and Baruch was admitted to the technical high school and studied mechanical engineering.
In June 1941, the Germans occupied Vilna and began murdering the city’s Jews in Ponary. Baruch got a job in a German garage where military cars were repaired. In September, the city’s Jews were imprisoned in the ghetto, from where the deportations to Ponary continued.
The Yad Vashem website states that Baruch and his older sister, Tzipora, hid in a truck and reached the town of Radushkowice, where Baruch worked in a German army garage. On March 11, 1942, the Jews were ordered to concentrate in the town square. Baruch hid in the garage and saw a huge column of people, families with children, bundles in their hands, slowly advancing to a large hayloft standing on the horizon, from which shots were heard. In the evening the hayloft was set on fire, and thick smoke and the smell of burnt flesh filled the surroundings. On that day, 840 Jews were murdered on the spot, including Tzipora, Baruch’s sister.
The Germans established a ghetto in Berdushkowice and Baruch continued his work. In the spring, the young people of the ghetto set up an underground, collected money, bought weapons and prepared to go out into the woods and join the partisans. Baruch was one of the initiators. The activity stopped under pressure from the German families who threatened to kill them if anyone was missing in the ghetto. After receiving a letter of life from his mother who was in Vilnius (Vilna), Baruch received a permit to leave the ghetto and returned to Vilnius, where he worked in factories that produced produce for the Germans.
Meanwhile, he formed an underground with his friend Yaakov (Kuba) Kushkin and the two purchased pistols. Later, Baruch joined an underground or partisan organization. In September 1943, the Germans carried out Aktions. After an armed clash between the underground and the Germans, Baruch decided to go out with other friends to the Rudniki Forest, where they fought as partisans. Two weeks later, the Vilnius (Vilna) ghetto was liquidated. Baruch was a member of a Russian paratrooper unit and took part in combat operations such as unloading trains from the tracks, blowing up communication poles and bridges and attacks on German outposts and units. In July 1944, the Red Army occupied Vilna, and Baruch arrived in the city, where he discovered that all his family members had been murdered.
He joined the Red Army, fought at the front, was wounded and hospitalized. Several months after his release from the army, he decided to immigrate to Eretz Israel. Baruch passed through Hungary, Romania and Italy, and in October 1945 arrived in Israel, on the coast of Shefayim, on the illegal immigrant ship “Petri 2”. He served in the Haganah, was drafted into the Givati Brigade and during the War of Independence was drafted into the Air Force, where he served as an aircraft technician. After two years, he was transferred with the Transport Squadron to El Al.
Baruch joined the Aircraft Engineers course and advanced from supervisory positions to the rank of the Company’s Aircraft Engineer, Chief Aircraft Engineer and Instructor. After 33 years, he retired from El Al.
In 2010, he lit a beacon at the state ceremony on the eve of Holocaust Martyrs ‘and Heroes’ Remembrance Day at Yad Vashem. He again left behind two sons and eight grandchildren.