Partisan fighter Maurice Gordon dead at 78

Maurice Gordon obituary

Partisan fighter Maurice Gordon with the Torah his family rescued

Englewood resident Maurice Gordon, who served with the partisan resistance in the forests of Belarus during World War II, died on May 20 at his home. He was 78.

Gordon and his family were among more than 7,000 Jews who lived in Glenoke, Poland at the start of World War II. In 1941, the Germans forced the Jews of Glenoke into a ghetto.

At the age of 11, after five months in the ghetto, Gordon joined his brother and brother-in-law in the forests, with a Russian resistance group of about 1,000 soldiers. He stayed with the partisans from 1942 until liberation in 1944.

Gordon was one of a few young boys with this group of partisans; he took care of their horses and was treated as a mascot.

When the Gordon family returned to Glenoke at the end of the war, they found that fewer than 100 Jews from the town had survived; Gordon was the only one whose parents had survived.

Before the Nazis forced the Jews from Glenoke, Gordon’s father, Elia, had entrusted a gentile farmer to safeguard a Torah and other Gordon family belongings.

After the war, the farmer brought the Gordons food to eat and returned the Torah. The Gordons came to Haverhill, Mass. in 1949 and settled in Dayton in 1951. Elia Gordon gave the Torah to Beth Jacob Synagogue, where it remains in use.

Gordon was preceded in death by his wife, Maxine. He is survived by his children, Helene Gordon of Dayton, Sharon and Mark Natarus of Cincinnati and Vernon and Karen Gordon of Farmington Hills, Mich., four grandchildren, Michael and Aaron Natarus, Adam and Sydney Gordon.

The interment was at Beth Jacob Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Beth Jacob. Synagogue, Hospice of Dayton or the Dayton Holocaust Educational Fund.

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