Solidarité Ukraine

European Memories

of the Gulag


Arriving at Cape Bykov on the Laptev Sea

David Jozefovich describes his arrival on the shores of the Laptev Sea in the Arctic Ocean in autumn 1942:

"How to describe Cape Bykov? It’s at the very end of the land on the shores of the Arctic Ocean, a deserted place, tundra, no vegetation.
Who was with us? Probably mostly Lithuanians, second came Jews, but there was no particular difference between Lithuanians and Jews, all of them were exiles. At the start, they housed us in a place that was just as empty, the school. In this village of Cape Bykov, there lived fishermen, Yakuts and Russians. The fish factory was not big. The school burnt down. After we, shall I say, arrived, they built yurts. A yurt consists of a timber frame covered with earth, 40 metres long, 5 metres wide, and inside, a small stove to heat it a little. In each one lived 50 or 60 people. We slept on bunk beds; the people worked in the fish factory. My elder brother and sister worked fishing, and my other sister, who was born between my elder brother and me, if I remember rightly in 1924, had died of exhaustion."