1941 — Nazi Occupation, the Holocaust, and Flight Grs Oppeln 8508 1941 – German Army Advance in Bielorussia1941 – German Tanks in Kobryn1943 – Soviet Partisans in Bielorussia1940s German Boxcar June 25, 1941 — Nazi German troops occupied Antopol and the surrounding area on their way east during Hitler’s invasion of Russia, called Operation Barbarossa. Soon thereafter the German secret police (Gestapo) established a new police force comprised of local Poles and Bielorussians and began to identify and punish Soviet collaborators. The German authorities and local police also immediately began to oppress the Jewish community. They beat Jews, seized their homes and property, and forced them to wear the yellow Star of David. In October, 1941, the Germans murdered about 140 Jewish men and boys from Antopol in a forest outside of town, initiating the Holocaust in Antopol. The Germans then confined the bulk of the Jewish population to two ghettos –“useful” and “useless.” Mass murder of Jews continued until the final “liquidation” of the ghettos in October 1942. Only eight Jews survived. (For their moving accounts of the Holocaust in Antopol, see: https://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/antopol/Antopol.html#TOC ). The German authorities put an end to the official Soviet government program against the kulaks and other political targets. However, the Parfomuk family continued to be threatened by Soviet partisans who resisted the German occupation and tried to carry on the Soviet mission behind enemy lines. Members of a partisan unit operating out of the forest across the road from the Parfomuk farm attempted on several occasions to murder Nikifor while he worked his fields, and also attempted at least once to kill his older son, Mikolaj, walking on the road at night. Władysław also came close to being killed by a partisan who approached him one day from the forest and asked “Whose son are you?” Władysław survived because, not understanding the threat, he chose to play a game and responded only, “I am my father’s son.” Not being sure who the boy was, and fearing exposure in daytime, the partisan returned to the forest. Had Władysław said his real family name he probably would have been killed on the spot as the son of a man targeted by the Soviets for execution. In October 1943, after another partisan attempt to shoot Nikifor, the Parfomuk family abandoned their farm and took temporary shelter in Antopol. Fearing that they would not survive the partisan attacks much longer and that Russia might soon re-occupy the area in a counter-offensive, Nikifor was forced to flee with his family into Germany. Two days later, the Parfomuks and another local family boarded a rail boxcar in Antopol with whatever they could load or carry and left their homeland. Władysław brought just his clothes, some personal items, and three of his prized Angora rabbits in a cage. He was 12 years old at the time.