Genja Batasheva


On the 28th of September on the walls of all buildings was the order: “All Jews of Kyiv must gather at the corner of Melnik and Djagterevskaja street. The night was as in a fog. Mom bundled our belongings, and we were sent to sleep to the neighbors. Early in the morning we hit the trail. We went on Artem street. Children, women, old people, small carts with bags. Everyone moved , but nobody knew where and for what. Terrible picture. We met in the crowd our relatives and friends. Some people were crying, shouting: "We will be killed, killed!" Others were outwardly calm.
On Melnika street we saw people, who walked towards. They told us, that somewhere out there was a railway line, there were carriages for sending the Jews, and the first train had already left.
Near Pugacheva street we did not hear the shots. Near the road stood a large red house, and it is still there now, in my opinion. The Germans saw young faces in the crowd . They came and took the girls. People said - to clean up this red house and wash the windows. The street was blocked with the first antitank "hedgehogs", Germans and policemen with guns and dogs stood among the trees. They forced people to leave their things, documents and jewelry.

Here began the most terrible. "Schnell", "faster" - we heard only these words. Beats were from all sides. Mom, how she could, covered us, tried to save us. I did not even remember how we got on the territory behind the monument, across the road. I have not words to describe that events. People were tearing their hair out, screaming hysterically, went mad. Suddenly I saw a crying infant , lying on the ground. Fascist jumped to him and brained with a butt-stock. At that moment, I probably, lost consciousness and what happened next - I do not remember. When I came round, my mother, sister and brother was no longer there. I began to look about, like a madwoman, and grab people's hands. Several times the stream of people almost pushed me into the passage between the hills, but I dodged and continued to looking for my family. I had only one thought: "I shall die with them."
Suddenly I saw Manja Pal’ti. She was a girl from our yard. She was alone. We joined hands instinctively and did not leave each other. She was 13 and I was 17 years old and we did not want to die. We approached to one policeman and asked him:
- Please, let us go, we are Russian.
He looked at our blond hair and answered:
- I see that you are not the Jews. But if you are here, so stay here.
Another policeman was more compliant. He led us to the Germans, who were standing beside the car, and began to explain them something. I said to them, that we were sisters, the Germans wrote down our address, and then asked our surnames. I thought , that it was our end. I said to them "My surname is Batasheva and Manja’s surname is Cherneckaja (we had a neighbor in our yard with a surname like that). The Germans were surprised, and I showed them on the fingers, that we are cousins. They put us in the car. There was a small rear window. I looked out of it and cried. I thought I saw my mother going to the Yar. Car started ...

... When the driver brought us to Melnika street corner, we did not come up with anything better than to go to our home on Turgenevskaja street. When we came, we saw in the yard many neighbors. Nobody sit at home. We stumbled to the basement, where the Lushheevs lived. We were at the end of tether. Olja Lushheeva, my sister’s best friend, saw us and shouted, "Lisa died" - and burst out sobbing.
And when she calmed down, I went for uncle Kolja, our neighbor (Nikolaj Soroka - Kyiv undergrounder,who died in the torture chambers of the Gestapo in 1943.) On the next day he brought us two certificates: in the name of Galja Koval'chuk - this is for me, another - Marija Koval’chuk - for Manja. They said that we were students of vocational school, and we came from Chuguevo near Kharkov.
- Go to Kharkov and try to move the front line - uncle Kolja said to us at parting.
And then he looked at us for a moment (my mother did not let me alone, even to a summer camp before the war), asked Olja atlas, tore out the map of Ukraine and quickly marked with pencil our way.
It was intolerable to leave Kyiv, but harder was to look into the future. As for me, it was possible to write a novel about our monthly hungry wandering on the roads of Ukraine . And how many times we were on the point of death ...