SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Roger Strukhoff, Jason Bloomberg, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan

Blog Feed Post

Yakov Kaper and the concentration camp at Syrets

Yakov Kaper

His Account of Life in Kiev

48 Melnikova - Syrets Camp – Babi Yar   

Selected Extracts from the Thorny Road   

 

 

 

Part 1 Captured by the Germans

 

1941 Map showing German success in the Russian campaign

I was born in a small town named Lubar in the Zhitomir region in 1914. From 1935 to 1937 I served in the Red Army in Belaya Tzerkva in the 185th Turkestan Infantry.

 

I completed the regimental school for junior commanders and received the rank of sergeant-major. After I was demobilised from the army, I moved to Kiev and started to work as a carpenter in the co-operative Kievkhudozhnik.

 

When the war began I was called for military service again. We guarded military projects; at the beginning of August we were transferred to the village of Novy Petrovtsky where we dug in and set up to defend the area.

 

One night we were alerted and directed towards the town. From the distance we noticed a column of motorcyclists, but we thought they were our soldiers. When we entered one of the houses we heard some shooting.

 

We hurried outside and saw our soldiers shooting at the German motorcyclists, we ran towards our location but when we reached it, we saw that some of the soldiers had been killed and the rest had run away.

 

We moved on but our soldiers kept on disappearing because of rumours that the Germans had announced that anyone who surrendered on his own will would not be punished, I understood that we had to reach our detachment in Darnytsa.

 

In a courtyard I saw two women and asked them for some water to drink, they brought me some and asked where I was going in my uniform, since I would easily be noticed by the Germans. They invited me to sleep at their house and said that I could go in the morning.

 

At dawn the hostess woke me up and told me to leave because the German soldiers were already there. If they found a soldier they would burn the house down, she brought a pair of old trousers and a jacket for me. She told me to change into those clothes.

 

There was a school nearby where many people were hiding from the bombings, when I arrived at the school there were many people, mainly women, teenagers and children already in the building. There also were some young people in both civilian and military clothes with them.

 

Very soon we heard some shooting, a column of German motorcyclists was driving by and one man in a militia uniform was throwing hand grenades at them. Afterwards the Fascists made everybody go into the street and started dividing us into different groups. I was placed into a group of young people, some who were still in uniform.

 

The order was given to shoot us, we were lined up and marched along the road, in the opposite direction another group of German soldiers led a column of military prisoners together with some civilians.

 

Hearing that we were to be shot, the officer of that column added six people to our group, among them was one Jew in civilian clothes carrying a violin. When he found out that we were going to be shot he started begging fot mercy because he was a violinist.

 

He took off his hat, threw it down and began to play his violin, until that moment I had been absolutely indifferent to the fact that we were going to be shot, but when that Jew began to play his violin, I felt something inside of me and tears began to stream down my cheeks.

 

The Germans started to taunt him, one German cried out Yid, then they ripped of his pants to make sure he had been circumcised, another German suggested that they snip him again. They all roared with laughter, somebody pulled out a knife and cut the violinist. Even now I remember the wild screams of that man, they shot him and drove us further down the road.

 

In the morning our group was taken to Kerosynnaya, as we were marching these people were throwing bread, tobacco, biscuits, sweets and whatever else they could to us, though the Germans did not allow anybody to come near the group.  

 

The Vydubetsky monastery

In Kerosynnaya the Germans had set up an immense camp for prisoners, here too people threw whatever they could over the fence, we were forced to work every day, at the camp. The usual work was to stand in a line and pass shells up the hill from the Vydubetsky monastery. They served us gruel in the camp, but there was nothing to pour it in, so people used their hats, caps or different tins for it.

 

One day we were forced to line up and speaking through an interpreter, they ordered all the commanders and political commissars to step to the front. There were a lot of them and they were taken off somewhere. Then came an order for the Jews to come forward, I decided not to leave the line.

 

Du bist Jude? – Are you a Jew? – the German asked me.

 

Since I was afraid of being tortured, I admitted that I was, I was taken to the camp for Jews only. When I arrived I saw that all of the prisoners were lined up and a German ordered me to lie down. They started to beat me and the interpreter asked where the mines were located. At that time Kreshchatyk and other streets constantly were being blown up by mines that the Red Army had placed.

 

Later we were lined up again and driven into a big garage, but there wasn’t room for all of us, they started to shove and press everybody inside, we were packed in like sardines. The gates were closed: we could not move an inch.

 

We stayed like that for six days and nights, they did not give us food or water, many people died but there was no room for the corpses to fall, so they remained wedged between those left alive.

 

The only thing we could hear were screams for water, the odour was unbearable, next to me was my cousin’s husband Shindelman, and some other fellows who I had met there.

 

Everyone had a different opinion about our fate, some said that we would be let out, while others thought that the garage would be blown up together with us. At last the Germans opened the gates and ordered everybody over thirty-five to come out.

 

Before an hour had passed they began to take everybody who stood near the gates, it happened several times, we heard only the cars roar and didn’t know the people were taken away.

 

After those people had left there was enough space in the garage for those who remained. Through the holes in the sides we watched when the trucks came back and some clothes were unloaded from them. We realised then that all those who had been taken away were shot.

 

Again the gates opened and they ordered everyone to come out. I went out we were ordered to take the corpses out of the garage. All the trucks were full and I got into a truck with corpses. Our truck started, then made a turn and braked.

 

I jumped out of the truck, I don’t know how much time I was lying on the ground, they were shooting, when I regained consciousness I noticed that there were corpses not far from me, they had been shot on the side of the road.

 

I got up and thought it would be good to get to the forest in Pushcha- Voditsa. I was somewhere in Loukyanovka, a district of Kiev, when I was noticed by a policeman. He brought me to 33 Korolenko Street and reported that I was a Jew.

 

Nobody asked me anything but they made me clean the room with five other men until evening. That night we were locked in a cell in the basement. In the morning we were brought to the building of the Supreme Soviet, there we also did some cleaning and found some remains of food.

 

The next morning we were brought to 3/5 Institutskaya Street, before the revolution it became the home of the Secret Police. The Germans first blew up the building, but then decided to partially repair it.

 

After the mass shooting of Jews, they brought any Jew that was caught to that building to work on repairs. There were also some civilians who worked there, headed by the senior engineer Krynichny. They worked on heating and piping, in the evening they could go home and in the morning, they would come back to work.  

Read more here: http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/survivor/kapersyrets.html

 

The Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team

www.HolocaustResearchProject.org

 

Copyright Carmelo Lisciotto H.E.A.R.T 2010



Copyright Carmelo Lisciotto H.E.A.R.T 2010

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Holocaust Research Project

The aim of H.E.A.R.T is to inform and educate people about the Holocaust and the extermination programs conducted by the Nazi regime throughout Europe during the Second World War.

H.E.A.R.T research and material is contributed from a group of independent Holocaust researchers who devote their spare time to research for the production of this website and other forms of related publications, such as leaflets and books.

H.E.A.R.T is run by its trustees and directors, who manage the daily administration of the website, review all research materials, fact checking, and addressing any required corrections.

Most materials presented on the H.E.A.R.T website originate in Poland, Germany, the former Soviet Union, and the United Kingdom as well as from private sources in the USA and other countries.

H.E.A.R.T currently accepts no new membership however we do maintain affiliations with educational institutions and private associations that contribute articles, photos, rare documents, etc.

Contributed text and pages will appear on the website as a "Guest Publication" with the author maintaining full copyright to the submitted text however page design and layout is owned by © H.E.A.R.T. All other material presented on this website is subject to H.E.A.R.T copyright however all pages may be used “Freely” providing the source is credited as the following:

"Courtesy of the Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team www.HolocaustResearchProject.org " © H.E.A.R.T www.HolocaustResearchProject.org

Latest Stories
Atmosera delivers modern cloud services that maximize the advantages of cloud-based infrastructures. Offering private, hybrid, and public cloud solutions, Atmosera works closely with customers to engineer, deploy, and operate cloud architectures with advanced services that deliver strategic business outcomes. Atmosera's expertise simplifies the process of cloud transformation and our 20+ years of experience managing complex IT environments provides our customers with the confidence and trust tha...
In his session at 23rd International CloudEXPO, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, will provide a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. Together we will solve a machine learning problem and find an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/busine...
CloudEXPO has been the M&A capital for Cloud companies for more than a decade with memorable acquisition news stories which came out of CloudEXPO expo floor. DevOpsSUMMIT New York faculty member Greg Bledsoe shared his views on IBM's Red Hat acquisition live from NASDAQ floor. Acquisition news was announced during CloudEXPO New York which took place November 12-13, 2019 in New York City. Our Silicon Valley 2019 schedule will showcase 200 keynotes, sessions, general sessions, power panels, and...
ShieldX's CEO and Founder, Ratinder Ahuja, believes that traditional security solutions are not designed to be effective in the cloud. The role of Data Loss Prevention must evolve in order to combat the challenges of changing infrastructure associated with modernized cloud environments. Ratinder will call out the notion that security processes and controls must be equally dynamic and able to adapt for the cloud. Utilizing four key factors of automation, enterprises can remediate issues and impro...
Intel is an American multinational corporation and technology company headquartered in Santa Clara, California, in the Silicon Valley. It is the world's second largest and second highest valued semiconductor chip maker based on revenue after being overtaken by Samsung, and is the inventor of the x86 series of microprocessors, the processors found in most personal computers (PCs). Intel supplies processors for computer system manufacturers such as Apple, Lenovo, HP, and Dell. Intel also manufactu...
When you're operating multiple services in production, building out forensics tools such as monitoring and observability becomes essential. Unfortunately, it is a real challenge balancing priorities between building new features and tools to help pinpoint root causes. Linkerd provides many of the tools you need to tame the chaos of operating microservices in a cloud native world. Because Linkerd is a transparent proxy that runs alongside your application, there are no code changes required. I...
BMC has unmatched experience in IT management, supporting 92 of the Forbes Global 100, and earning recognition as an ITSM Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader for five years running. Our solutions offer speed, agility, and efficiency to tackle business challenges in the areas of service management, automation, operations, and the mainframe.
The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential. DevOpsSUMMIT at CloudEXPO expands the DevOps community, enable a wide sharing of knowledge, and educate delegates and technology providers alike.
Darktrace is the world's leading AI company for cyber security. Created by mathematicians from the University of Cambridge, Darktrace's Enterprise Immune System is the first non-consumer application of machine learning to work at scale, across all network types, from physical, virtualized, and cloud, through to IoT and industrial control systems. Installed as a self-configuring cyber defense platform, Darktrace continuously learns what is ‘normal' for all devices and users, updating its understa...
Cloud-Native thinking and Serverless Computing are now the norm in financial services, manufacturing, telco, healthcare, transportation, energy, media, entertainment, retail and other consumer industries, as well as the public sector. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that pro...
As you know, enterprise IT conversation over the past year have often centered upon the open-source Kubernetes container orchestration system. In fact, Kubernetes has emerged as the key technology -- and even primary platform -- of cloud migrations for a wide variety of organizations. Kubernetes is critical to forward-looking enterprises that continue to push their IT infrastructures toward maximum functionality, scalability, and flexibility. As they do so, IT professionals are also embr...
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
OpsRamp is an enterprise IT operation platform provided by US-based OpsRamp, Inc. It provides SaaS services through support for increasingly complex cloud and hybrid computing environments from system operation to service management. The OpsRamp platform is a SaaS-based, multi-tenant solution that enables enterprise IT organizations and cloud service providers like JBS the flexibility and control they need to manage and monitor today's hybrid, multi-cloud infrastructure, applications, and wor...
Apptio fuels digital business transformation. Technology leaders use Apptio's machine learning to analyze and plan their technology spend so they can invest in products that increase the speed of business and deliver innovation. With Apptio, they translate raw costs, utilization, and billing data into business-centric views that help their organization optimize spending, plan strategically, and drive digital strategy that funds growth of the business. Technology leaders can gather instant recomm...
The Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence (MSAI) provides a comprehensive framework of theory and practice in the emerging field of AI. The program delivers the foundational knowledge needed to explore both key contextual areas and complex technical applications of AI systems. Curriculum incorporates elements of data science, robotics, and machine learning-enabling you to pursue a holistic and interdisciplinary course of study while preparing for a position in AI research, operations, ...