Yakov Itskhakovich Shepetinsky was born on November 20, 1920 in Slonim, Poland. In 1938 he graduated from a Jewish gymnasium [college prep school]. In September 1939 the Soviet Red army entered Poland, and the local population became Soviet citizens. Shepetinsky completed courses in accounting and began working in Bialystock. On June 22 1941 he reached home, which had fallen to Nazi occupation, and shortly after was forced into the ghetto of Slonim with his family. On November 14, 1941, Shepetinsky awakened in a ravine, surrounded by corpses, having accidentally and miraculously survived a large scale Aktion (mass killing). He returned to the ghetto and joined the underground resistance, and later the partisans where he participated in railroad sabotage operations. After liberation he joined the Red Army and fought in the Baltics, participated in crossing the Vistula River, and advanced to Berlin. In 1946 Shepetinsky shot a German prisoner who insisted that the killing of Jewish children was necessary to prevent the contamination of the Arian race with Jewish blood. Later the same year Shepetinsky was arrested by the Soviet Interior Ministry and sentenced to 10 years for treason. In 1966 he emigrated to Israel. Interview was recorded in Tel Aviv, Israel, in 2008.
Analyzing Hitler’s promise to rid Europe of all Jews.
On the day we became citizens of the powerful Soviet Union.