This year I got the unique opportunity of spending the International Holocaust Remembrance Day in the Lubaczow region with Simon Lavee Lukawiecki and his family and friends. They all made this long way to Poland from Israel and Canada, to commemorate the memory of their family members and to see the places they had lived in until the war. I met Simon for the first time a year ago in Tel-Aviv. Our encounter was the result of previous correspondence concerning his research about a Jewish partisans unit led by his father, Mundek Lukawiecki. At the end of 2015, following a few years of intense research, Simon had published his book - “Jewish Hit Squad. The Lukawiecki Partisan Unit of the Polish Armia Krajowa, 1941-1944”.
This is a truly amazing story. I recommend you to read the book, but before that you can also take a look at this unique collection of photographs documenting the units' life in the forests. All photos were taken by partisans themselves during the war.
“The book outlines my parent’s involvement in the Polish underground movement – Armia Krajowa (AK), and follows a Jewish partisan group led by my father Mundek Lukawiecki, and my mother Chana Bern, in the Lubaczow and Puszcza Solska forests. They operated under the command of the polish AK commander of Tomaszow Lubelski, Marian Warda. The partisan group was actually an AK Hit Squad that took out German soldiers, as well as Polish and Ukrainian Nazi collaborators. Most of their missions were carried out wearing German Wehrmacht uniforms, as members of the group were able to speak German. In addition to these planned “hits”, the group also attacked strategic German targets such as fuel trains, military installations, and sabotaged Nazi operations. The Hit Squad also undermined the Ost Plan, which was the German plan to resettle Germans in Zamosc. The book explains that attempting to stop this plan was in fact the main goal of the AK Partisan movement, led by the local commander, Marian Warda.”
I sincerely recommend Simon Lavee’s book. It reveals some little-known facts about the Jewish partisan activities and resistance movement, in the area of today’s borderline between the Lubelskie and the Podkarpackie provinces during WWII.
One of the reasons for Simon’s recent visit was to tell this unusual story of a Jewish partisan unit to the people of Lubaczow. It was possible thanks to the municipal library of Lubaczow, which together with the local authorities conducted the commemoration ceremony of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The whole ceremony was very well organized. Simon Lavee, together with a few of the survivors and their family members, spoke in front of a great local audience for over two hours. One of the speakers was Lucia Retman, who survived the Holocaust thanks to Zofia Pomorska - one of Lubaczow’s residents.
A day after the events in Lubaczow we went together with the Lavee family and their friends on a trip following the traces of Mundek Lukawiecki and his jewish partisan unit. We’ve started the trip in Lubaczow and Ostrowiec, visiting the previous houses of Simon parents. Afterwards we went to see the partisans’ shelters and the different places where they conducted their actions, such as Ruda Rozaniecka, Susiec, Dlugi Kat and Jozefow. At the end of our tour we visited the Museum-Memorial Site in Belzec. Below you may find some photos from our trip and meeting in the Lubaczow library.
It was an honour for me to help organize and guide this special group as ROOTKA. Thank you for your trust Simon!