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Abraham (Abrashe) Sabrin (Szabrinski)

Abraham Sabrin – The Avengers

Abraham Sabrin (Abrashe Szabrinski) was born May 15, 1914 in Selz, Poland. He was one of 6 siblings. Life changed for him when the Nazi’s invaded and he left Selz for Beranovich where he joined a partisan brigade. Learning that there was a group of Jewish partisans organizing in Vilna, Abraham made his way to the Vilna Ghetto where he connected with Abba Kovner’s group, the Fareynikte Partizaner Organizatsye (FPO).

Life in the ghetto was very difficult, but Abraham found joy there too when he met Luba Weiskopf, who he married in 1943. Their son Joseph was born in the ghetto. As the Nazis’ systematic liquidation of the ghetto, and extermination of Vilna’s Jews escalated, Abraham escaped through the sewers, together with Abba and others, into the forest where they renamed their group The Avengers. Together with Soviet-led partisans, they engaged in sabotage and guerrilla attacks against the Germans and their local collaborators. Comfortable using a gun, and skilled at hitting his target, the group relied heavily on Abraham and he was highly respected by his fighters.

Luba remained behind in Vilna caring for their young son, but when it became clear that survival in the ghetto was impossible, she entrusted her son to the care of sympathetic Polish farmers and escaped into the forests. She eventually reunited with Abraham in the partisan encampment where she assisted with meal preparations and other daily duties to support the group’s fighters.

When the war ended, Abraham and Luba returned to Vilna, hoping to find their son. One of the youngest to survive the Holocaust, Joseph was being cared for in an orphanage. The trio left Vilna and made their way to the Displaced Persons camp in Bad Turkeim, Germany. The family welcomed a second son, Murray, at the end of 1946. Even in the DP camp, Abraham worked very hard to provide for his family.

In 1949, Abraham’s cousin Sol secured papers for the family and brought them to New York City, where they were greeted by the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS). Abraham worked three jobs to make ends meet and in 1953, a third son, Max, joined the family. Moving to the Bronx, Abraham became a taxi driver; a profession he loved and retired from after 35 years.

In 1974, Joseph gave him a Yiddish Typewriter and encouraged him to write his memoirs. The compilation of his recollections is published in We Dared to Live: A Tale of Courage and Survival. –

Abraham led a full life, and was able to dance at his granddaughter’s wedding. He and Luba, who changed her name to Libby, were married for 60 years. In addition to his three sons, Abraham had two grandchildren. Grandson Benjamin Sabrin has two girls, Meadow and Nicollete and granddaughter Marcie Sabrin Berson, has a son, Alexy. Abe passed away in 2001 at the age of 87.