Afanasij and Fedora Chaika Ukraine
Kyiv, Ukraine… September 29, 1941 – On September 29, 1941, all the Jews in Kyiv were ordered to assemble at a designated location for resettlement. Signs were posted throughout the city saying, “Those who sheltered Jews would be killed.” The Jews were then marched to Babi Yar, a ravine on the outskirts of Kyiv, where they were murdered.
Among the Jews rounded up were Petr Ekel and his son, Yakov. When it was their turn to be shot, Petr pushed his son into the ravine and fell on top of him. The shooting went on for hours. When it was dark, Petr and Yakov crawled their way out of the ravine. They sought out Afanasij Chaika, a childhood friend of Petr’s. The Chaika family was shocked to hear about this terrible tragedy and they offered to take in Petr and Yakov despite the risk.
The Chaika family, which included three children, hid Petr and Yakov in their shed for several days. Petr and Yakov left the safety of the Chaika home to try to obtain forged documents. They were unsuccessful. Yakov returned to the Chaika family and told them his father Petr was rounded up in an Aktion and killed. Yakov remained in hiding with the Chaika family. When a neighbor threatened to denounce the family for hiding a Jew, Yakov left so as not to endanger the Chaika family. Yakov and Afansij were reunited after the war.
Afanasij Chaika and his wife Fedora Chaika died years ago.