Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Playing with Dynamite

Esther Teichtal

For two heart-stopping years during World War II, Devorah Kosczevsky lived among gentile partisans in the forests of Lithuania. It was an ongoing trial of stamina and faith. Dora or Devorah? Jewish meidel or Russian comrade? She fought the Germans without — and the threats to her faith within.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

It’s a stretch to imagine the genteel rebbetzin sitting before me, comfortably ensconced on a burgundy velveteen couch, hunkering down in a cold mud hut, only a small fire for comfort. But this was the life Devorah once led, deep in the forests of Lithuania. Foraging for supper through heaps of muddy leaves, eager for edible fungi, time creaked in slow motion. Life made sense only in the present, and survival instinct kicked in, overriding almost all else. Almost — but not quite. For even as she took orders from the stern-faced leader, skirmished with the enemy, and laid dynamite, her childhood was never far behind. Devorah’s father, Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Kosczevsky, had been a maggid shiur at the turn of the century in the well-known yeshivah at Eishyshok (Eisiske), Lithuania. Life was hard, and with the outbreak of World War I, it only got harder. The devastation wreaked by looting Germans left the Kosczevsky family impoverished. Seeing no other option, her mother Baila (née Raichman) left town with her children and headed to her parents in Zaremby Kolsczelne. Her husband was to follow. When the Germans sealed the border, the family was separated for the four and a half years of the war.  

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

What’s in a Name?
Shoshana Friedman “What does Writer X have to say this week?”
Atonement — Fake and Real
Yonoson Rosenblum White confessionals and faux rituals
Four Walls Coming Full Circle
Eytan Kobre All the while, there’s been a relationship in the offing...
And Yet We Smile
Yisroel Besser We are the nation that toils to be happy at all costs
Out of This World
Rabbi Henoch Plotnick Dirshu Hashem b’himatzo — we are in Hashem’s company now...
Steven and Jonathan Litton
Rachel Bachrach The co-owners of Litton Sukkah, based in Lawrence, NY
Tali Messing
Moe Mernick Tali Messing, engineering manager at Facebook Tel Aviv
Sick Note
Jacob L. Freedman “Of course, Dr. Freedman. Machul, machul, machul”
Avoiding Health Columns Can Be Good for You
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Only one reliable guide for good health: our Torah
Endnote: Side Notes
Riki Goldstein Most Jewish music industry entertainers have side profes...
Me, Myself, and Why
Faigy Peritzman Where there’s no heart and no love, there’s no point
Can’t Do It Without You
Sarah Chana Radcliffe When you step up to the plate, you build your home team
Eternal Joy
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz The joy of Succos is the fruit of spiritual victory
The Appraiser: Part III
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer Make sure your child knows his strengths
Hidden Special Needs
Rena Shechter You won’t see his special needs, but don’t deny them
Dear Wealthy Friend
Anonymous There’s no need for guilt. I am truly happy for you