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Defiance My parents Tova & Hertzel Nohomovski Partisans in the Bielski Group

My Parents 1946 - Israel

The Bielski Partisan Group

Operating in Western Belorussia (Belarus) between 1942 and 1944, the Bielski partisan group was one of the most significant Jewish resistance efforts against Nazi Germany during World War II.

While its members did fight against the Germans and their collaborators, the Bielski group leaders emphasized providing a safe haven for Jews, particularly women, children, and elderly persons who managed to flee into the forests.

Under the protection of the Bielski group, more than 1,200 Jews survived the war, one of the most successful rescue efforts during the Holocaust.

The area of the Forest and the "Zimblanke"
Group of Partisans
Group portrait of former Bielski partisans from Nowogrodek taken in the Foehrenwald displaced persons camp. Germany, April 3, 1948
My parents were born in Belarus. At home they spoke Yiddish. At school they learned Polish or Russian. I don't have many pictures of their childhood. I never got to meet their families. My childhood in Israel was full of stories and memories about their life in the old country, the war, the Bielski Partisans & their long journey to Israel.

Gutke Gantzevitz (Tova Nohomovski)

Gutke Gantzevitz was born in 1920 in Karelitz, a small town in Belarus. Her parents Devoshke & Zelig were merchants and owned a small grocery store in town. They had five kids, three boys and two girls.

While visiting her grandmother in Neshvis nearby, the Germans came into Karelitz, took out her two older brothers and killed them in the center of town. Gutke and her surviving family were forced into the Karelitz Ghetto. Soon thereafter her mother, sister and brother were killed. Along with her father she was able to survive for awhile in the Ghetto, working as a dental technician.

One stormy day, the Germans came to the ghetto and divided the people into two groups. She watched the German take her father away. According to her stories later, she wanted to join her father but he told her ” Stay where you are, and live to tell our story.” She never saw her father again. She was the sole survivor of her family.

Gutke Gantzevitz survived the war. She joined the Bielski group and was hiding in the forest for over 2 years. Together with Hertzel Nohomovski, her future husband, she emigrated to Israel in 1946 after a year of wandering around Europe escaping from the Russians. Upon arrival in Israel, then Palestine, they were taken by the British to a refugee camp in Atlit. Soon after they moved to Gedera and settled.

Gantzevitz Family 1922 -1923?
Devoshke and Zelig Gantzevitz
Moshe David Gantzevitz
Luba Gantzevitz
Itzhak Berl Gantzevitz
Gutke Gantzevitz
Yudel Gantzevitz
Gutke Gantzevitz
Luba Gantzevitz as a young girl
My mother's Grandmother Tamara. She died in the Holocaust age 96.
My Mother's great grandfather
Gutke Gantzevitz survived the war. She joined the Bielski group and was hiding in the Forest for over 2 years. Together with my father she emigrated to Israel in 1946 after a year of wandering around Europe escaping from the Russians.

Tova Nohomovski lived to be a great-grandmother. She dedicated her life to her family and never stopped talking and telling stories about her family that she lost during the Holocaust.

Tova Nohomovski was an extraordinary woman. She was admired by her family and everyone that met her. She was a true inspiration of courage and survival .

Hertzel Nohomovski

Hertzel Nohomovski Was born in Eveye on April 28, 1920. His parents were Chana and Kusha Nohomovski. His family owned land both in Novagrudek and Eveye. They lived in both places. His parents were Zionist, they named him Hertzel after Theodore Hertzel.

He came from a home with a rich, deeply rooted Jewish tradition and culture. His parents were Zionists, who named him Hertzel after Theodore Hertzl. They were not very traditional and did not keep kosher. They were wealthy, owning windmills, electricity stations and land. His father was an artist and his mother was a homemaker who created social events. His young sister Naomi was born in 1936.

Hertzel completed his studies at the Hebrew Gymnasium in Vilnius (Vilna) in 1938. With the outbreak of World War II in 1939, the family returned from Ivie, where they had lived for several years, to live in Novogrudok.

When the Germans occupied the city they divided the town into two groups. The group that included Hertzel was sent to the local ghetto. The other group, including the rest of his family, was transported directly to an area outside of town and immediately killed. While in the ghetto Hertzel joined the underground, then escaped to the forests and joined the partisans – the Bielski Brigade. They fought bravely against the Germans and sought revenge on the local collaborators. In the forest he met Tova (Gutke) Gantzeviz and they married in 1944.

His parents and his sister were killed in town just before he escaped to the Ghetto. He was the sole survivor.

Kusha and Chana Nohomovski
My father Hertzel Nohomovski with his Mother Chana and his Father Kusha around 1938
Hertzel with his Father.
Baby Naomi Nohomovski
Hettzel sister Naomi (died when she was 4) with her cousin Ruth that died in the war.
Hertzel age 3.
Hertzel age 5.
Chanukah celebration.
Chana Kaplinski (Nohomovski), Hertzel Nohomovski with their best friends.
Kusha Nohomovskii and his brother.
The only Artwork image that survived the war.

Together with his wife Tova, he emigrated to Israel in 1946 after a year of wandering around Europe and escaping from the Russians. Upon arriving in Israel, then Palestine, they were taken by the British to a refugee camp in Atlit. The couple were more officially married in 1946 in a Jewish ceremony, and soon moved to Gedera where they settled. Hertzel joined the “Irgun” and fought again the British. In 1947 he joined the army and fought for Israel during the War of Independence.

Together Hertzel and Tova built a beautiful family with two children; Azriel, named for his maternal grandfather Zelig. And Chana, named after Tova’s paternal grandmother Chana.

Hertzel Nohomovski worked as a builder, farmer and later joined the police force and retired as an officer.

He dedicated his life to his family and to commemorating the history of the family that he lost during the Holocaust. He educated children, gave lectures in schools, and wrote articles and memoirs.

He was an avid reader, with a special sense of humor and a zest for life.

He was an extraordinary husband, father and grandfather. At the time of his death in 1993 he was the proud grandfather of 5 granddaughters.

Before the War

Left to Right: Betar Group, 1934, Novagrudek. Youth Group Kareltiz, 1936.

After the war

My parents with their Partisans cousins in a DP camp in Romania
Kibbutz Tulda, Romania, 1945. Gutke Nohomovski on the right.
Kibbutz Tulda, Romania 1945. From left to right: Gathering and a wedding
Partisans after the war, Kibbutz Tulda, Romania 1945. Gutke & Hetzel Nohomovsky middle row center.
Memorial for Novagrudek and area.

Arriving to Israel

Tova (Gutke) and Hertzel Nohomovski, emigrated to Israel in 1946 after a year of wandering around Europe escaping from the Russians. Upon arrival in Israel, then Palestine, they were taken taken by the British to a refugee camp in Atlit. Soon after they moved to Gedera and settled.

Tova (Gutke) and Hertzel were first married in the forest in 1944, then again in 1946 by a rabbi in a Jewish ceremony in Palestine. Together they built a beautiful family with two kids; Azriel, named for his maternal grandfather Zelig, and Chana, named after her paternal grandmother Chana. They were the proud grandparents of five granddaughters. (and the family is growning..)

1947 - Gedera, Israel

The Family

Left: Hertzel with Baby Chaanle. Right Top: Azriel and Chana. Right Bottom: Azriel and Nili Wedding
Family Wedding in Los Angeles. July 2015.

Azriel and Nili Nevo have 3 girls and 7 grandchildren. They live in Israel. Chana And Stephen Messer have two girls. They live in Los Angeles. For ever remembering the family heritage and history.

Forever Together!

Hertzel Nohomovski died in Israel, February 1995. Tova Nohomovski died in Israel, October 2013. They both burried in Rishon Le Zion.
Created By
Chana Messer
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