April 09, 2012

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By Kathryn Kopchik

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Moshe Baran, a partisan/resistance fighter during World War II, will give the talk, "Resistance in Peace and War Times," Monday, April 23, at 7 p.m. in the Forum of the Elaine Langone Center at Bucknell University.

The talk, which is free and open to the public, is part of the University's observance of Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. It is sponsored by Campus Jewish Life and Bucknell Hillel.

Baran grew up in the village of Horodok, in what was then Poland. The Nazis arrived in the spring of 1942. He and others were rounded up and sent to Krasne, site of the region's last ghetto. He was 22. Not long afterward, Horodok was destroyed.

Baran was forced to work 12-hour shifts laying railroad ties to supply the eastern front. Rations were crusts of bread and watery potato peel soup.

He escaped the ghetto by digging his way under a fence and walking 15 miles through the night to join the resistance group.

He spent three years with the group that sabotaged and fought German troops by mining roads, planning ambushes and setting fires on horseback to mark the spot for an airplane weapons drop.

He also arranged for the rescue of his brother, sister and mother. His father, who stayed behind in Krasne to care for another daughter who was ill, died when the ghetto was liquidated.

In July 1944, the region was liberated. Four months later the Russian army conscripted Baran and sent him to the front in Gdansk where, because of his bookkeeping skills, he worked in an office until the war ended in May 1945.

In a displaced persons camp in Linz, Austria, Baran met his future wife, Malka, who had survived Treblinka. They married in the newly formed State of Israel and, in 1954, moved to New York. He worked many years in real estate management, and she had a long career in early childhood education.

After retirement, they did volunteer work in Pittsburgh, where he tutored immigrants applying for U.S. citizenship and she taught small children and gave book reviews. The Barans begin talking to students about European Jewish life before, during and after the Holocaust, partly to share the message, "Hatred was the root of the Holocaust. If you hate, it makes you blind."

Contact: Division of Communications