Joseph Serchuk

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Joseph Serchuk (1919 in Chełm - 6 November 1993) was the commander of the Jewish partisan unit in the Lublin area in Poland during the Holocaust. After the war, he testified at trials of Nazis and he received special recognition from the State of Israel.

Biography[change | change source]

After his parents and other family members were killed in the ghetto in 1941, Joseph and his brother David were taken to Sobibor extermination camp. After one day in the camp, he fled with his brother to the nearest forest and together with others fleeing he founded the core of the partisan group. During the war, the group led by Jews who had escaped from the ghettos caught nearby and from Sobibor. The group also included the writer Dov Freiberg.

After the war, Joseph took part in locating fleeing Nazi war criminals in Europe, and served as a witness in the Nuremberg Trials. Then he returned to Poland and applied to emigrate to Israel, but was declined.

In 1950, Serchuk obtained a passport and went to Israel. Immediately upon arrival in Israel, he was drafted as a soldier in the army. After service, he married, settled in Yad Eliyahu in Tel Aviv and began business industry and entrepreneurship.

Over the years, Serchuk went to Europe several times to testify in the trials of Nazi war criminals. In one, the trial of Oberscharführer Hugo Raschendorfer, he was the only prosecution witness. After Raschendorfer was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment, Serchuk was awarded a special award from Nazi Crimes Investigation Department of the Israel Police.

In 1967, Levi Eshkol, the Israeli Prime Minister, gave him the Fighters against Nazis Medal, and in 1968 he received in addition the State Fighters Medal.

He saw the establishment and strengthening of the Israel Defense Forces and the State of Israel and the Jewish birthrate - his revenge against the Nazis who slaughtered all of his extended family.

Joseph Serchuk died in 1993 in Tel Aviv at age 74. He was married, and left behind nine children and more than one hundred grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Further reading[change | change source]

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