Meir Michailovich Livshits (now known as Mark Livstone) was born in April of 1943 in a partisan camp in Belarus where he lived until the Nazis left in 1944.
Mark’s parents had a partisan camp wedding. He was born in a hut built with branches. In November 1943, Hitler ordered the destruction of all Belarus partisan resistance. The partisan regional commander, in turn, demanded the death of all infants before moving deeper into the woods. Mark’s strong and determined mother, Sara, disobeyed the order and hid with Mark before reconnecting with her group.
Sara spied on Nazi activities, using Mark as a “decoy.” According to Mark, she once killed a Nazi with her bare hands. The partisan camp endured hunger, planned and trained for missions, and tirelessly evaded detection. Mark’s diapers were made out of a Nazi fabric parachute.
After liberation, Sara went to Bobruisk, Shchedrin, and then Minsk and worked in education. Mark was raised as an atheist. Sara was decorated with several medals for her service. Mark experienced anti-Semitism in Belarus and recalled that Jewish youth had to stick together for protection.
Mark married and had two sons. They applied to immigrate to the United States, and Sara’s war hero status gained them a fast approval. Sadly, 20 days before they left, Sara passed away. Mark became an engineer and, although he does not consider himself Jewish, his sons had Bar Mitzvahs. Mark expressed a belief that in time there will be no hatred.
Mark Livstone discusses the murder of most of the inhabitants of his village by Einsatzgruppen.