Return to ATM Online Collections  > AHEYM: The Archive of Historical and Ethnographic Yiddish Memories  > Bershad'

 (09-010.06-F) -  Shelf Number: MDV 383

No streaming derivative is available.

Date: January 7, 2009

Participants: Sklyarskiy, Semyon Moiseyevich. Interviewed by Dov-Ber Kerler and Jeffrey Veidlinger.

Location recorded: Bershad', Vinnyts'ka Oblast', Ukraine

Language: Yiddish

Culture Group: Jews, Yiddish-speakers, Ukrainians

 Recording Content:   

The recording is a formal interview with Semyon Moiseyevich Sklyarskiy. (Part 1 of 2. See MDV 384) Semyon Sklyarskiy tells of how he survived World War II, first by fleeing Zhornische, when the Jews of that city were taken to be killed, then when his family was killed hiding out in a dugout in Ivanka, and finally as a partisan. This is the second interview the team conducts with Sklyarskiy, and focuses mostly on his time as a partisan. (see also: MDV 381, 382)

00:00:00 The team walks up to Sklyarskiy's house and meets him at the entrance. The camera collects footage of his house.
00:02:21 The team enters Sklyarskiy's house and sets up the formal interview with him. He provides personal information and speaks about his family. Sklyarskiy grew up with step-siblings (his cousins). The sisters live in Israel and America.
00:05:45 Sklyarskiy talks about his hometown Zhornyshche, including prewar Jewish life. He states that the synagogue was turned into a kolkhoz during Soviet times. He then speaks about Christian locals who collaborated with the German during the war.
00:06:50 Sklyarskiy speaks his life during World War II; in particular, about the forced gathering of the Jewish community on May 27, 1942, to be taken for mass execution in the nearby village Illintsi. He also mentions a non-Jewish childhood friend who warned Sklyarskiy beforehand and describes his escape from the gathering. Sklyarskiy maintains that a few Jewish artisans were selected to stay behind in Zhornyshche.
00:12:22 Sklyarskiy continues to describe his escape during which he ultimately joined the partisans. He talks about the year 1943, which included hiding with his adoptive parents in their basement in Zhornyshche, before escaping to Ivanki, where they hid in a pit. Sklyarskiy's parents passed away during his early childhood in Lypovets. He was raised by one of his three maternal aunts in Zhornyshche. Sklyarskiy describes his daily life in the pit and how he and his siblings went out in search for food for a total of approximately two months. One day, he explains, he and a couple of his siblings left the pit and his family was shot on March 8, 1943. According to Sklyarskiy, locals informed on them. He then describes their escape to Zhornyshche and encounter with former classmates.
00:23:05 Sklyarskiy speaks about his life during the war, addressing the period when he planned to join the partisans with other escapees in summer 1943. He then shares a dream where he was told not to return to the Linnets woods, but rather to hide in the fields. Sklyarskiy then describes his and his sibling's escape from an attack by the Cossacks in the woods between Zhornyshche and Krasnenke. He also mentions his encounter with non-Jewish boys.
00:31:32 Sklyarskiy talks about his family's fate during the war. He explains how his step-sister (cousin) was adopted by a non-Jewish family. She later joined the Red Army and was the head of the military pharmacy during the war.
00:34:40 Sklyarskiy returns to his life during the war, addressing the period after his third escape, joining the partisans for several months during winter 1943. He then talks about the period when he joined his sister, who worked at an Red Army field hospital, moving along the front. Sklyarskiy worked at the hospital until the end of the war, which he finished in Germany. He then returns to the episode about the Cossacks' attack.
00:43:38 Sklyarskiy describes the local Cossacks, who were in conflict with the partisans. He then speaks about a local police officer in Zhornyshche, who collaborated with the Germans and organized forced gatherings of the Jewish community.
00:48:20 Sklyarskiy speaks about his life during the last months of the war, as well as his experiences among the partisans. He also mentions fellow-Jews in the partisan group and talks about Jewish and non-Jewish relations.
00:50:56 Sklyarskiy returns to the moment when he slept in the fields and talks about his dream. Sklyarskiy then reads a note, where he wrote down the words in his dream.
00:56:29 Sklyarskiy speaks about his family.
00:59:42 Sklyarskiy addresses Jewish life in Zhornyshche during World War II.
01:01:14 Sklyarskiy explains his military awards.
01:01:55 End of recording.