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July 29, 1983 - Image 3

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-07-29

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

,Friday, July 29, 1983 3

A Jewish Partisan Called The Witch Doctor'

saw orphanage director.
In his foreword, Dr.
"The Witch Doctor,"
authored by Dr. Michael Temchin observes, "It is
Temchin with an "Introduc- the survivors' duty to
tion" by Alexander Donat bear witness to Jewish
and published by the suffering, humiliation,
Holocaust Library (Schoc- sacrifice, and heroism.
ken Books) is a memoir by a And it is in this spirit that
this memoir is being of-
Jewish partisan.
In his introduction, Donat fered."
In the opening chapter,
remarks that as a result of
the Holocaust "some 3,000 "The Beginning," the
Jewish physicians became author relates his family
martyrs and heroes." The background. Born Aug. 5,
list and names of the mur- 1909, he attended a Yiddish
dered doctors, he informs, folkshule, a state gym-
appeared in "Martyrdom of nasium (high school) and
Jewish Physicians in Po- the medical faculty of the
land," published in New Warsaw University from
which he graduated as an
York in 1963.
The most famous of these MD in 1937. His parents,
doctors, undoubtedly, was Shejna and Jacob, he tells,
Janusz Korczak, the War- were, among others, "the
of the Jewish
r • BUSINESS • 11% backbone
Socialist party, the Bund.
1
EXPO
From them I inherited a
I CLEARANCE I strong attachment to the
Yiddish language and ev-
Desks ,$79.96
Chairs .$10.0.0 I erything Jewish."
Executive
I Dr. Temchin's partisan
1 j
Chair ..$69.96
activities began following
I . New Banquet Tables
.$59.96 • his escape from a train de-
Copiers
$149.49 1 porting the. Jews from
'Typewriters
$10-$25
Grabowiec and Hrubieshov
Adding Machines
$10.00
Files
$52.99 • to the Sobibor deathcamp.
Prior to the deportation,
• 1' IBM's $49 50-$99.5011
New Four Drawer
1 Dr. Temchin practiced
Locking Lateral
medicine in Grabowiec for a
Files .. .
year. Its population con-
I.;
$500. Now $189.95 I sisted of about 5,000 people:
of these 1,700 were Jews,
others Poles and Ukrai-
I IA OFF SELECTED TYPEWRITERS I the
nians.
I
Starting at $39 96
I Correcting Electric
1 When Dr. Temchin ar-
I Typewriters
$269.00 I rived in Grabowiec, the
Jews already had been
▪ Selectric
• Typewriters
$499.96 I confined to a ghetto.
1 Any Old Typewriters Taken in Trade!
I However, he treated all
TYPEWRITER I the local people, though it
was forbidden by Nazi
REPAIR &
11111EUP
regulations.
I
$4 Q95 I
Curiously, one of his
■ v." (pies parts)
patients was the chief of the
gendarmerie, whom he
secretly treated for a ven-
disease.'
I
I ereal
Like in all ghettos, the
1
231 W. Nine Mile Rd.
I
author motes, the Jews of
I
Ferndale • 548-6404
1 Grabowiec had no babies.
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they conceived, abortions
were quite easy to arrange."
But one woman refused to
undergo an abortion and
gave birth to 4 girl. The
Jewish community, though
initially displeased "with
what normally would have
been welcome as a blessed
event," finally "took the
baby to its hearts. Everyone
felt like a parent to the
child, cherishing it as a re-
minder that Jews were still
alive, not only empty shells,
vegetables without a future,
without self-respect." For-
tunately, the" oppressors did
not discover that a baby was
born to Jewish parents.
One day in June 1942, the
author recalls, the Germans
ordered the Jews of
Grabowiec to assemble in
front of the Judenrat head-
quarters. The Nazis "had
decided to consolidate all
the smaller ghettos in the
area into one large Jewish
settlement in the town of
Hrubieshov" where the
Jews would govern them-
selves.
However, as soon as
the Grabowiec 'Jews ar-
rived in Hrubieshov, they
and the local Jews were
forced into freight trains
that had been waiting to
take them to Sobibor.
On the way to the
deathcamp, as already
noted, Dr. Temchin jumped
off the train. Shortly after-
wards, he joined a group of
partisans consisting of
Poles and Russian whose
sole "aim was to survive
until the end of the war."
Before long, Dr. Temchin
became their leader and
ideologue. Their objectives,
he explained, should be
threefold: not to antagonize
the local populace; to fight
the Nazis; and to obtain food
and other necessities from
the Germans.
Thus, under his leader-
ship, the group, in time, be-
came an effective fighting
force.
Their activities, among
others, included destimc-
tion of German property,
cutting telephone lines,
setting fire to ware-
houses, raiding German
and Polish police sta-
tions.
In addition to his partisan
work, Dr. Temchin also
practiced medicine and ac-
quired the nickname,
"Znachor" (Witch Doctor), a
name that stuck to him long
after the war had ended.
As a result of Znachor's
efficient leadership, the dis-
trict chiefs of the "Armia
Ludow" (AL or "Peopl'e's
Army") appointed him chief

El Al

of the district medical corps.
Dr. Temchin points out
that the AL was an ideologi-
cal partisan group consist-
ing of Socialists, Com-
munists and various pro-
gressive elements. The
other ideological partisan
groups (nowadays we prob-
ably would refer to them as
guerrillas) were the AK and
the NSZ.
The AK or "Armia
Krajowa" ("Home
Army") ideologically re-
presented the Polish
government in exile in
London. The NSZ, or the
National Armed Forces,
"were violently anti-
Socialist and zoologically
anti-Semitic, so much sb
that they killed any Jews
they encountered or else
reported them to the
Germans."
Besides the ideological

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groups of partisans, there
also were partisans that
consisted of members of var-
ious nationalities, includ-
ing the Jewish. The two
main objectives of the
Jewish partisans were to
fight the Germans and pro-
tect the Jews in hiding.
Towards the end of 1944,
Dr. Temchin was freed by
the Russians. For his war
activities, he was awarded
the Grunwald Cross ( the
highest decoration in the
new Polish republic), the
Cross of the Brave, the
Cross of Poland Reborn
(Polonia Restituta) and
numberous other medals.
In September 1946, Dr.
Temchin and his family
immigrated to the U.S. -

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