• Yurii Kaparulin Kherson State University
  • Mykhailo Domaskin Сomprehensive School #35
Keywords: Arkadii Weispapir, Jewish agrarian settlements, South of Ukraine, collectivization, Holodomor, Great Terror, World War II, crime of genocide, Holocaust, Sobibor, media image, cinema


The relevance of the study is determined by the need to explain and rethink the tragic events of national history of the twentieth century, which resonate in modern Ukrainian society. The article focuses on the fate of ordinary person, who found himself in the difficult circumstances of the inhumane and criminal policies of the Soviet and Nazi totalitarian regimes. Arkadii Weispapir is known primarily as a participant in the uprising in the Sobibor death camp. However, a closer study of his biography prompts us to rethink other problems in the history of pre-war and post-war years. The research methodology is based on personalistic, microhistorical and systemic approaches, principles of science and historicism.

A. Weispapir came from a Jewish resettlement community in Southern Ukraine. It is established the fact that before the Second World War he grew up and worked in a peasant family whose life was radically influenced by collectivization, the Holodomor and political repression. In particular, his father Moses was illegally arrested and shot in the Kherson prison during the Great Terror. Being in the Red Army at the beginning of World War II, the young man fought for his life under the conditions of the war and the Holocaust. As a Soviet prisoner of war, he was sent to the Sobibor death camp, where he became one of the active participants in the famous uprising. During the Holocaust, A. Weispapir lost most of his closest relatives. The post-war years are characterized by A. Weispapir’s attempts to return to social activities, to improve a personal life and to make a career in conditions of increasing state and domestic anti-Semitism. This was hampered by his father’s “repressed” past, which deprived him of some opportunities. In particular, receiving a party membership card. This research includes description of A. Weispapir’s life in Ukraine after the collapse of the USSR, his role in preserving the memory of the Holocaust. The authors made an attempt to show the media image of this personality in cinema. It is established that from the end of the 1980s to the present day, he has been represented in feature and documentary films. Through his experience, the filmmakers tried to convey human behavior in the extreme conditions of war, when violence had to be resorted to for salvation. It is noted that the theme of the uprising in Sobibor retains a political connotation, and can be used in the context of information warfare.