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Oral history interview with Yevgeniy Vakulyuk

Oral History | Accession Number: 2010.445.23 | RG Number: RG-50.653.0023

Yevgeniy Vakulyuk, born September 24, 1930 in Smolensk, Russia, describes being in a summer camp when the war began; evacuating with his family to Moscow, Russia then Yelnya, Russia; the bombing of their train during the journey; being sent to Minskaya highway, from which they drove to Dukhovshchina then walked to Smolensk; his father, Ivan Romanovich Vakulyuk, who was Russian, and his mother, Kotchurina Esfir Ilyinichna, who was a Jew; identifying as Russian; living with his mother in the Jewish ghetto; conditions in the ghetto; a man in the ghetto who maintained a record of the deaths from typhus; his mother’s work on the railroad as well as a nurse to the sick; receiving food coupons; Jews having to wear round, yellow patches on their left sleeves; attending school in 1941 for a short time; Burgomaster Mishanin ordered Jews to cut off their fur collars in the winter of 1942; the taxation system; having to give rooms in their home to Germans; the liquidation of the ghetto during the night of July 15, during which the people in the ghetto were put in trucks and gassed; seeing the trucks (called “dushegubkas”) earlier in the day in town; his mother’s death in a gas van; the Jews who survived the liquidation; the mass burial of the dead in Vezovenki; seeing a large column of captive Poles in Smolensk; the collection of corpses in Smolensk; being wounded by a grenade while another child played with it; two boys dying while playing with explosives; the gallows that were built on Kolkhoznaya Square when Smolensk was liberated; working as a trumpeter at Dnepropetrovsk Opera after the war and his Jewish colleagues; and seeing antisemitism in Kiev, Ukraine and Smolensk.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Yevgeniy Vakulyuk
interview:  2014 July 12
1 digital file : MPEG-4.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, courtesy of the Jeff and Toby Herr Foundation
Record last modified: 2020-05-04 15:48:34
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