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Tuvia Bielski (1906–1987) was the leader of the partisan group the Bielski Brothers who were situated in the Naliboki forest in pre-war Poland (now western part of Belarus) during the Second World War. His aim as leader was not to attack railroads and roads that the Nazis were using as supply routes—although there were some attacks—but to save the Jews who were under persecution from the Nazis during the Holocaust.
The partisans lived in underground dugouts (zemlyankas) or bunkers. In addition, several utility structures were built: a kitchen, a mill, a bakery, a bathhouse, a medical clinic for sick and wounded, and a quarantine hut for those who suffered from infectious diseases such as typhus. Herds of cows supplied milk.
Artisans made goods and carried out repairs, providing the combatants with logistical support that later served the Soviet partisan units in the vicinity as well. More than a hundred workers toiled in the workshops, which became famous among partisans far beyond the Bielski base: tailors patched up old clothing and stitched together new garments; shoemakers fixed old and made new footwear; leather-workers laboured on belts, bridles, and saddles. A metalworking shop established by Shmuel Oppenheim repaired damaged weapons and constructed new ones from spare parts. A tannery, constructed to produce the hide for cobblers and leather workers, became a de-facto synagogue because several tanners were devout Hasidic Jews. Carpenters, hat-makers, barbers, watchmakers served their own community and guests. The camp's many children attended class in the dugout set up as a school. The camp even had its own jail and court of law.
The Bielski partisan leaders split the group into two units, one named Ordzhonikidze, led by Zus, and the other Kalinin, commanded by Tuvia. According to partisan documentation, Bielski fighters from both units killed a total of 381 enemy fighters, sometimes during joint actions with Soviet groups.