Semyon Isaakovich (Itzhakovich) Simkin was born on May 7th, 1924 in Lyady, Vitebsk Oblast, Belarus. He completed 8 years of Hebrew school, after which he moved to Leningrad an enrolled in a factory training school. At the start of the war he was evacuated to Makhachkala. He then worked in Moscow at an aviation factory. In May of 1942 he was finally granted permission to volunteer for the army. He completed training at the school of junior commanders and was assigned to the anti-tank artillery regiment in the position of a signalman. Simkin partook in the Battle of Kursk, fought all over Ukraine and Poland; force-crossed the Vistula and Oder rivers. Awarded medals “For Combat Merits”, “ For Bravery” and an “Order of Glory”. He was in Czechoslovakia on Victory Day. Studied to become and aviation mechanic after the war, and continued to serve in the aviation regiment. Demobilized in 1950, he completed draftsman-designer courses and worked in a factory as the lead designer. In 1997 emigrated to Israel. Interview was recorded in Jerusalem on March 27, 2008.
Feelings of guilt after killing an enemy soldier.
Giving chocolate to German children.
Being plagues by lice at the front.
Having to kill captive enemy soldiers.
Experiencing Antisemitism at the front.