One day at dawn we heard shouts Hey, fellows, don't be afraid get out. The fascist are
gone. We sitting in silence remembering the instructions not to have contact with anybody.
A bit later they came back again mentioning Misha and someone else who we did not know.
When Misha went to find his wife, he must have informed his friends or relatives of our
location. After getting no answer, they went to another entrance to the sewer about 30
meters from ours and tried again. They finally found us and began to help pulling us out.
By this time we could not walk because of dystrophy.
When we looked at them, we saw that they were soldiers wearing shoulder straps since they
were already enlisted in the Red Army. Shortly thereafter Kiev was liberated.
We were brought into a house. The mistress brought us a big pot of water. We washed
ourselves. Our clothes which were infested with louses were burnt. The neighbors brought
some underwear, shirts and other articles of clothing, giving us the clothes of their
husbands, fathers or brothers who died in the war. I put on a German uniform that I
grabbed on the way. It had been hung out to dry near the cannery.
Women looked at us with sympathy and pity. They started to feed us. We filled ourselves
with hot Ukrainian borsht. At this time a military doctor came to examine us. He warned
that we should not be given too much food at once or we might die. Everybody had acute
dystrophy. I weighed 46 kilos. We were touched by the kindness of these women and I was
astonished to see how angrily they reacted when they caught a German solider under the
bridge. Young and old joined in and nearly beat him to death. In their moment of rage it
became clear how much they had suffered. The women were offended when we tried to protect
the red-haired soldier and could not understand our motives. They killed everybody and you
have mercy for a fascist, they screamed. We explained that he would be interrogated and
prosecuted in accordance with the law.
At night when we were sleeping there was a knock at the door and someone said Open up, you
have our people.
The newcomer explained that the fascists took revenge on Zhitomir and we could be in
trouble again. We were loaded into a truck and taken to the regional security department.
I remember a major gave the order to feed us before anything else. He said that they had
nothing else but some mush made from millets. For us it was a real treat.
The major talked to us and we agreed that if we saw anybody who had served in the camp or
worked for the fascists we would inform him.
Once on Shevchenko Boulevard near the Prosecuter's office we saw the sotnyk Morosov. The
same one who one morning in the camp exclaimed during roll-call that he had another Yid.
After that Davidov who was considered a Russian was transferred to the Yid barracks.
Morosov was trying to get permission to go to a village. Some of us remained behind to
keep an eye on him while the rest dashed back to the major. He sent some people and the
sotnyk was arrested.
Since I was still wearing the German uniform, a man on a bicycle one time came up to me on
the street and told me to go with him.
I asked him where he was taking me.
I know where, you damn fascist, he answered.
He put me on the bicycle and took me to the security department. Afterwards I thanked him
and told him that I needed a good ride.
After this incident I was given some regular clothes and each one of us was given a
document saying that no one could detain us. Then we went to the militia and got
I recalled how I had exchanged addresses with Yasha Kaper and decided to go to
Turgenevskaya Street to see Lidiya Stanislavovna and tell her about Yasha. In the bottom
of my heart I hoped that she knew something about him, that he somehow escaped. She had
nothing about Yasha. She greeted me warmly and offered to let me live in her apartment.
Yasha was her friend's son and though I was a stranger she gave me shelter. She treated me
like a relative, took care of me when I was sick with pneumonia and brought me to my feet.
I felt very uncomfortable about the fact that my parents were suffering without any news
of what had become of me. It was very difficult to get in touch with people then. You
needed special permission in order to send a telegram, which I eventually received.
I was so overwhelmed with joy that it was hard to control my emotions and compress them
into the text of a telegram. My father, mother and sister all cried with joy upon reading
those few words: One out of thousands remained alive. All the details on meeting. They
showed the telegram to their friends and neighbors who congratulated and cried with them.
Soon, Yasha Kaper, who survived by a miracle, came to Turgenevskaya Street. Like we
promised while in the camps, we met up and have never lost touch of each other since then.
Later, Lidiya Stanislavovna helped me get an apartment on the floor above her. It was my
first post-war apartment and for the first time, an apartment of my own. My parents
eventually moved in and then my wife.
Lidiya Stanislavovna and her niece helped Yasha and I very much. To my regret, she died
shortly after and can not hear my words of thanks and gratitude. I would love to see her
portrait in the Museum of Jewish Culture as well as Misha's from the brick factory. I
never even learned his surname and never found him after he went to save his wife. I do
not know their address or anything about him. It is a pity that I can not show my
gratitude to the man who saved my life.
The war was still on but it was already clear that the fascists would answer for their
crimes. We gave evidence and testimony to the Extraordinary Commission on Research of the
Fascist Massacre in Kiev. In the prosecutor's office we told everything in detail about
what had happened to us. Everything was written down and the materials were prepared to be
sent to Moscow. Then Davidov and I were taken to Moscow. All the time we were escorted by
a man we called Tenyn, or the shadow, since he followed us everywhere. I did not know if
he was supposed to guard us or spy on us.
In Moscow our documents were inspected and our testimonies reviewed. Some facts were
elaborated on. We stayed in Moscow for about one month. Together with us there were about
60 people from different towns and cities of the country and other former prisoners of the
concentration camps. After a thorough check-up, we were sent back to Kiev.
I started to work at the special construction department for reconstruction of Kiev as the
chief of the construction sector. All the city was in ruins and we had an enormous task in
front of us.
Some German prisoners also worked in our department. They were specialists and treated as
professionals. Could we compare to how their compatriots had treated us when we were
They lived under normal conditions in a hostel. They ate the same food as our workers,
since it was all cooked together, though they did not eat in the same place. It never
occurred to me that it was wrong or unjust. Notwithstanding the awful years spent in the
camp I did not harbor any bad will towards the Germans. To me they were also people who
had their lives ruined by the war and who were now doing work that required doing.