Leon Senders
photogallery
Leon Senders activity map
Partisan activity marked in yellow as indicated by Leon Senders
Leon Senders was born in Vilna, Poland on March 19, 1923, to a secular Jewish family with strong Socialist sympathies. As a high school student he attended technical school, gaining mechanical experience that would prove invaluable during the war. Living in an area annexed by the Soviet Union, Leon was shielded from most of the violence until 1941, when the Germans broke the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact. Leon was returning from a factory picnic in the countryside when he found Vilna smoldering in the wake of a German bomb attack. Later in the day a group of local boys invited him to escape with them to Russia.
 
Leon Senders    Photo 1
Leon Senders, 1945
He remembers how his father urged him to go: “[He] said, ‘Go, you are a youngster. You are…eighteen years old…If anything will happen, people like you and your boys will go first.’”

Leon and his companions made their way East and eventually found a division of the Russian Army which helped transport them into Soviet territory. Once there, Leon joined the newly formed Lithuanian division of the Russian army. Aided by his background, he was selected to spend a year in Moscow learning Morse code and the art of deciphering telegraphs.
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