Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Masha Bruskina


  Most seventeen year old girls in America, unless they live in the hood, dodging drive-by shootings, have the usual mundane things on their mind. Things like high school, the prom, shopping, social media and hanging out with friends. Masha Bruskina was a seventeen year old Jewish girl in October 1941 who was fighting as a partisan in the Minsk resistance against occupying German forces. She worked as a volunteer hospital nurse to care for wounded members of the Red Army. Masha helped them escape by smuggling clothes and false identity papers into the hospital. A patient ratted her out to the Germans and she was arrested. She wrote the following letter to her mother on October 20, 1941.

  I am tormented by the thought that I have caused you great worry. Don't worry. Nothing bad has happened to me. I swear to you that you will have no further unpleasantness because of me. If you can, please send me my dress, my green blouse, and white socks. I want to be dressed decently when I leave here.

  The Germans decided to hang her in order to make a public example.They paraded her through the streets with two other members of the resistance. Sixteen year old Volodia Shcherbatsevich and a World War One veteran named Kiril Trus She wore a plaque around her neck which read, in both German and Russian, "We are partisans and have shot at German troops". Masha was hung on October 26, 1941. The Germans left their bodies hanging for three days before they were cut down and buried. The following is a personal account of her hanging.

  When they put her on the stool, the girl turned her face toward the fence. The executioners wanted her to stand with her face to the crowd, but she turned away and that was that. No matter how much they pushed her and tried to turn her, she remained standing with her back to the crowd. Only then did they kick away the stool from under her.

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