Yakiv Kaper


Yakiv Kaper

About 29 - 30 September ,1941 prisoners were started moving out from our camp to the Babyn Yar where they were shot. I was in the last car, but in the Lukyanivka estate I jumped on the move and fell on the full of corpses road. I could not hide. I was caught by the Brownshirts in Pushha-Vody`cya and was sent to the Gestapo, and then to Kiev camp for Jews on Instytutska street.
After two months along with five other prisoners I were taken to work in the so-called school of police on the Miller Str., 48. As in the camp, the conditions were inhumane there. Autumn, in September - October 1942, I and three prisoners - Budnik Davy`d , Ostrovs`ky`j Leonid, Vilkis Py`ly`p – was put in the gas van and taken to the concentration camp Sy`recz`, where we were until August 1943.We saw as Brownshirts took prisoners to the camp

and shot them.
In August 1943 we were shackled and forced to pull corpses out from the pits, to build special burners and to cremate them there. We were put in the dugout. Sonderkommando’s Germans were cruel with us. We stayed overnight on the damp ground. There were more than 300 people in the dugout. After excavation we pulled corpses out with special hooks. Then we stacked them in the burner, which was built of tombstones, rails, twigs and wood, poured with oil, firmly against each other. Burners were set afire and then they burnt more than one day. In the same time we were forced to built new burners elsewhere in the ravine. The same thing recurred again with great frequence.

After cremation of corpses, we crushed survivors bones with mortars, bolted them, mixed with sand and sprinkled it with ash to flatten a road. Prisoners were forced to pull gold teeth out of corpses before their cremation.
I saw the gas van came to the ravine, stayed for a few minutes with the running engine, and then we were forced to unload corpses from this machine and throw them into the burner. Often people were thrown into the fire alive. In such cases cries and moans sounded. People were brought in ravines by cars and were shot there without not being gassed. Corpses were burned. Civilians, guerillas and Soviet volunteers were killed and shot in gas vans and at the Babyn Yar.

I and other prisoners were about two months at the Babyn Yar. About 120 000 corpses were cremated during this time. We were cosigned to death, so the last burner we built for us.
Although we were under the powerful guard of Nazis, we got ready to escape to freedom. Prisoner Yershov inspired us to do it. Among the corpes, I found the key that fits to the lock of our dugout. September 29, 1943 we opened the lock and flied at the guard. Only 10-15 people of 300 prisoners cracked and escaped. Others died not far from the dugout. Except me, stayed alive Davy`dov, Steyuk and others.