Matvey Zundelevich Sverdlov was born on April 7, 1926 in Shirokovchina region, Poland. After Soviet annexation in 1939, Shirkovchina became part of Belarus.  Sverdlov grew up in a poor and traditional Jewish household with six siblings. He evacuated with his sister to the Kurgan region when war erupted.  Sverdlov volunteered for the army, was enlisted in infantry school and deployed to the 1st Ukrainian Front, as a sergeant, machinegun division commander. He participated in the Battle of Kursk and was seriously wounded near Izyum in September 1943, rendering him “unfit for combat.” He then com-pleted tank-mechanic repair and maintenance school.  After the war Sverdlov returned to Brest.  His parents, two brothers and a sister were murdered by the Nazis.  Interview was recorded in Brest, Belarus, in 2009. 

Forbidden to bandage a friend at the front.

A special flower blooms over my brother: family killed in the Holocaust.