Tag Archives: 39 grenade

Lithuanian partisan, with a few eggs and a rifle courtesy of Izhevsk

Portrait of female partisan, Sara Ginaite at the liberation of Vilna, 10 August 1944

Portrait of female partisan, Sara Ginaite at the liberation of Vilna, 10 August 1944. She is just over 20 years old.

Her weapon? A Soviet-made M44 Mosin-Nagant rifle, likely newly acquired, and (at least) two German Eierhandgranate 39 egg-type hand grenades, which the Soviets put into production post war as the modified RDG5.

Ginaite was just 15 when the war started. The Soviets came into Lithuania in 1940 and the Germans occupied the country in June 1941 during Barbarossa.

As noted by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Sara was among the first group of 17  underground members of the Kovno Ghetto who in mid-December 1943, left for the Rudninkai Forest and became partisans.

Over the next nine months she repeatedly snuck back into the ghetto to lead more partisans out, pretending to be a nurse and claiming that she needed to escort sick workers to the ghetto hospital, bringing them to the forest instead. Her unit helped liberate Vilna (Wilno/Wilna), where the above image was taken by a Soviet major who was surprised to see a female, Jewish partisan standing guard when they entered the town.

Ginaite survived the war, married her wartime boyfriend who was another underground member, and settled in Vilna.