In the beginning, Abe Asner thought the war would only last a few weeks. It continued for over four years and Abe?s partisan unit grew to several thousand people, including the woman who later became his wife.
I see three planes, Russian planes come to bomb the airport, cause the Germans took it over. Then three fighters took it off...Germans- they shot down the planes, and right there in the middle here I am. They saw me. They grabbed me, the Germans. I said, “Here, I’m finished.” That’s what I thought. They grabbed me. One was taking off my pants. One is taking off my shirt. One is looking in my bag, what I have. And I took, I have a Lithuanian passport, and I took out the passport and I give it to them. I’m, it is written in the passport I’m Jewish, or they don’t understand Lithuanian. They give me the passport and the one German said “not to shot him because he speaks Russian, he speaks German. He knows everything, you know. He’s some kind of spy.” I have nothing to say. They let me go.
If we blow up a train, then many soldiers get killed. If they’re carrying food or ammunition, they not coming in time. They’re coming maybe two weeks later or ten days later. Secondly, if you blow up the train, the traffic is stopped for some, for so long. I don’t know for how many, two days, or three days, further depending on the operation. Everything counts, you know. If you don’t, if you not bringing to the front, food, ammunition, or anything what they need, then they couldn’t fight.
The winter’s coming. The winter is going to show tracks in the snow. It’s not so easy. People decided to go back to the ghetto in Grodno. Grodno still was a ghetto, and lots of people went back to the ghetto like Saul, his father, his mother. And I said, “Me and my brothers, we’re not going back to the ghetto. We’re not going. We’re going to win, doesn’t matter what. If I die, I’ll die standing up not to shoot me in the back.”
One time, we went in a village... was maybe about eighteen Lithuanian with a machine gun with everything.... We start to chase them, we chase them to the forest, and I know they had a machine gun. I know if we'll come in down there they'll massacre us with the machine gun. When we walk in we saw some kind of natural hill ... It was maybe about 50 feet high all around. I said to the guys, “Let’s go all around that hill, and they’ll think there are a lot of us because we’re going around.” They were watching us, I know. So, we were seven maybe they saw fifty. We go around maybe four or five times around that hill, and then they ran away after.
She said, “Take me, together.” I said to her, “I can’t take you. I’ve got to ask my brothers, because we are four in this.” The younger brother was with me, and the older brothers wasn’t with me. I said, “I’ll ask my brothers, and I’ll come back from the forest and I’ll take you.” And then she was start to walk away and my younger brother said to me, “Take her.” Said, “If twenty-eight people going to starve, we’re going to starve twenty-nine. If twenty-eight have enough to eat, then we have enough for twenty-nine.” At that time, we were twenty-eight.
I think, if I would write a book, if I would write a book, the title would be, ”The Night of Our Mother” because lots of things we used to do at night. The night was protecting us. A mother protects her children, the night will protect us. The night was our mother.