Michael Temchin
(1909 - ?)

Polish Jew born in Pińsk to active member of the Jewish Labor Bund. Temchin graduated from medical school in Warsaw in 1937. He was mobilized into the Polish Army in 1939 and was taken prisoner after three weeks of fighting and tending the wounded. Spent time in several different German POW camps where he was allowed to tend to the other POWs. Then in September 1940 he was deported to a German labor camp in Poland with the other Jewish POWs. After several weeks in horrible conditions he escaped and fled to the Warsaw Ghetto. To escape the Ghetto, and unable to reach his family in Soviet-controlled Pińsk, he started practicing medicine in different Jewish Ghettos in Eastern Poland. As the Nazis consolidated the Ghettos, Temchin was moved with other Jews from town to town and eventually put on a train to the "final destination" Sobibor death camp. He organized an escape in the train compartment, refusing to go peacefully to his death, he helped many others jump out of the moving train, and then jumped to freedom himself. Living in the forest for months, early in the war before the resistance was strong, was very hard, and he was able to just barely survive with the help of the locals who knew him from his work as a doctor in the area. He eventually was able to join a band of Polish and Russian fighters, and then joined the Armia Ludowa, the left-wing progressive Polish resistance group. Known as Znachor (The Witch Doctor), he continued fighting and tending to the wounded until the end of the war. At the end of the war he served as a senior officer in the Polish Red Army for a time, and then immigrated to amerika.

Wrote an account of his wartime experiences called The Witch Doctor (1983) [163 pages] in which he describes eloquently the need for resistance to oppression, and the importance and significance of never going quietly to be killed.