Eugene Kats

Eugene Kats

Born January 6 1925 Desna, Poland.

Interviewed In: Toronto, Ontario

Medals Awarded: Order of the Patriotic War (1st and 2nd Class),  Medal for Partisan of the Patriotic War (1st and 2nd Class),  Medal for Courage,  Medal for Battle Merit,  Medal For Capture of Konigsberg and Victory over Germany In The Great Patriotic War

Polish Partisans, Heavy Machine Gun Division

 

“From the 900 that ran away from the graves, only 12 survived”

Eugene joined the partisans in June 1942 after escaping a mass execution in the ghetto. He had already lost both parents, two sisters, and one brother was killed at The Battle Of Kursk in December 1941. With the resistance, Eugene and his lone surviving brother did anything they could to disrupt the Nazi occupation:

“We used to blow up trains, put mines in the highways, kill motorcyclists, putting a wire across the highway, we cut off their heads.”

During the winter of 1943 Eugene, his brother, and their partisan commander were offered shelter by a family that was close with Eugene’s before the war. They were betrayed and only Eugene escaped, though he contracted stomach typhus from running back to his unit through the snow:

“They told me my brother was killed, the other one and the commander. And I told not to tell anybody, I want to go to the village to see the 2 brothers who did the job. I came there, I find them there in the house, I pulled them out of the house, I killed both of them.”

“In June ’44 we was united with the Russian army. They give us new uniforms. They put 10,000 and new from the hospital everything and they sent us to the front line. That was the idea, Stalin’s policy. They promise miracle, you’ll go, you save Russia, we’ll look after you. They didn’t have what to give. And they sent 10,000 partisans to the front line.”

Eugene participated in The Battle Of Konigsberg with the heavy machine gun division: “I went to heavy machine gun. On each corner of the division there were machine guns on little wheels, 250 bullets in each section. 2 people – one is carrying the bullets, one remain with the machine gun. And I was behind the machine gun”.

After the war, Eugene immigrated to Canada and ran a furniture business in Toronto.