Jeff Gradow
photogallery
Jeff Gradow activity map
Partisan activity marked in yellow as indicated by Jeff Gradow
Jeff Gradow was born in 1925 in a small town near Warsaw. When Poland was invaded in 1939, he and his father fled east into Soviet territory. In East Poland, his father got work in a factory in Bialystok and Jeff went to Russian school, soon becoming fluent in the language. When Operation Barbarossa was launched in 1941, Jeff was taken to work as a laborer for the Germans, digging mass graves that he feared would be his own.

Eventually, Jeff took his chances and escaped into the forest. The partisan encampment he found lacked weapons and intelligence contacts needed to target nearby German troops. However, in the
 
Jeff Gradow    Photo 1
Jeff Gradow, 1945
spring of 1943 the Soviets made contact with the group, airdropping weapons and explosives to them and sending in professional Russian paratroopers, armed with short wave radios.

Reorganized by the paratroopers and boasting a much larger stockpile, the brigade began to fight in earnest. They carried out hit and run sniper attacks, mined roads, and cut phone lines. As the front began to move west, the brigade stood guard over the local bridges, preventing them from being destroyed by retreating Germans and holding them long enough to allow the Soviet tanks to cross.
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