Moshe Lersky from Boryslav, Poland was conscripted into the Polish army at the beginning of the war. When the Polish defense disintegrated in the face of the Nazi onslaught, Lersky returned home to Boryslav, then under Soviet control. After Germany declared war on the Soviet Union, Lersky joined the Red Army. He saw combat in many battles, among them the defense of Kiev. Later on he joined one of the Polish units in the Red Army, and participated in the liberation of the Majdanek death camp.
On entering the camp, Lersky came face to face with the horrors of the extermination of his fellow Jews. Discovering a prayer shawl and prayer book that had belonged to one of the victims on a pile of clothes, he took them, preserving them among his belongings. Lersky was injured in the battle to liberate Warsaw and released from the army as a disabled veteran, receiving medals of distinction from the Polish government. In 1951 he immigrated to Israel, bringing with him the prayer shawl and prayer book he had found at Majdanek.
Yad Vashem Artifacts Collection
Donated by Moshe Lersky, Tel Aviv, Israel