Odessa NKVD Witness Interrogations (Depositions)
Just a Reminder!
In conjunction with the NKVD Arrest records, some Witness Interrogation (Deposition) Records which were used in the NKVD trials have now also been discovered. To fully appreciate and understand the content of these records, one must first consider the circumstances and context under which these arrests and Interrogations were conducted. The mechanism of the trials and arrests were intended to purge all of the elements of society who were considered to be anti-soviet, these people carried many labels. The entire purge campaign was continually expanded and eventually targeted minorities which amounted to defacto ethnic cleansing.
The format of these Witness Interrogations followed same structure as that of the NKVD arrests where everything was orchestrated to the point that the outcome of each trial was predetermined. The Witness Interrogation Depositions and the NKVD Arrests had the same repressive boiler plate format which divulged that these were only show trials. Along with other considerations one must realize that the Regime was intend to achieve specific results and in order to achieve these results, certain prescribed methods were employed, these methods included threats, intimation, coercion and torture.
In these Witness Interrogation records we see fellow countrymen, fellow villagers, former friends and even relatives forced to testify against each other and on occasion an individual would even have to testify against him or herself.
We are fortunate that these records have been discovered, as it sleds more light on the repressive acts which were taken against our relatives who had stayed in Russia.
I am here including the list of 1,000 names of the Witness which I have retrieved and also a sample of one of the Witness Interrogation Records. In respect to the surviving family members of the individuals listed in this record, I have replaced all of the surnames with the names of colors.
The Witness Interrogation Record that I have selected to display here reflects an arrest which took place in 1938. There are two parts to this interrogation, one that took place during the trail and the other later in 1960. The primary witness in this case can only express disparaging comments of the arrested individuals, not a single kind word of the arrested is uttered. In this case the arrested individual was found guilty and executed.
Dictator Josef Stalin died in 1953 and with the denunciation of Stalin by Nikita Khurushchev in 1956 the soviets begin to rehabilitate those who had been repressed.This led to the review of most of the victims who had been arrested. This action led to the review of the victim of whose record I have chosen to present. In 1960 his arrest record was reopened and the Witness who had been Interrogated in 1938 and was convinced that the victim was totally anti-soviet, was now again deposed and this time without any adverse consequences his testimony was completely opposite of what it had been in 1938.