for his good character and cleared up the misunderstanding, so the partisans let Allen join their brigade, even giving him a rifle. At age fourteen, Allen Small became a partisan fighter with the Stalinskaya Brigade.
His brigade was active in the Naliboki Forest and its surrounding areas – also the home of the Bielski Brigade. The forest’s dense, impenetrable swamps offered protection, but made movement through the forest a battle in itself. At one point, Allen and his comrades crossed a swamp so deep they had to use reeds as snorkels in order to get through.
Allen’s role as cavalry scout was one of the riskiest in the brigade. He and two other scouts rode on horseback ahead to obtain vital information for their superiors, acting as their eyes and ears on the battlefield. If trouble awaited the partisans, Allen was one of the first to see it.
After the liberation of Poland, Allen was drafted
into the Soviet army. In 1946, he was able to sneak over to the American Zone with the aid of a Zionist organization; he ended up at a DP camp in Munich, where he ran into Leon Bakst, an old childhood friend who had also survived the war as a partisan. After Munich, they would not see each other again for sixty-five years. (See JPEF’s film “The Reunion” for more of their story.)
In 1947, Allen made his way to the United States. He served in the US Army, afterwards, worked in New York for the fashion industry. He has two children, eight grandchildren and two great-grand children. He currently lives in Florida.