Senior Rifleman Michał Besarab, born on 4 March 1901, a farmer and brickyard foreman by occupation, married.

I was arrested by NKVD in 1941 as an informer, for I had collaborated with the Polish Police in 1934. I was detained by the NKVD on 20 June 1941, and sent with my family to Nowogródek. An investigation was held in Nowogródek between 20 and 23 June. In its course I was threatened, beaten around the face, and had a revolver put to my head. On 23 June they transferred us from the prison in Nowogródek to the city of Tambov in Russia. We traveled for 19 days, until 12 July, in closed wagons. During the journey we had only water, for which we bartered the clothes off our backs. In total, there were 129 of us Poles – 121 men and 8 women. When we arrived in Tambov, they placed us in a prison, 40 to a cell, so that we had to lie one on top of the other. None of us thought that we would survive the terrible hunger, cold and dirt. I remember full well that the interrogations started after three months. Examinations were held in the city, and they took us there – individually – in armored trucks. The interrogators used a soft approach, trying to determine why we were opposed to Soviet authority. During the interrogations they took photographs. Thereafter we were left in relative peace until 1 December 1942 [1941]. The amnesty was read out to us and we received the necessary release documents; they also gave everyone twenty rubles and then set us free, saying: – From now on you are our allies – go to your authorities, we have nothing against you. I remember that Mr Kmita from the Girdawka estate in the commune of Wsielub, district of Nowogródek, died during our detention in prison.

There was no medical assistance.

I had no contact with my family, or indeed with anyone else back home.

On 3 December, after I was released from prison, I traveled to the city of Tashkent, where I reported to a Polish representation. I was instructed to go to Jalal-Abad, where I was sent to work on a kolkhoz. I remained in the kolkhoz from 16 April, the day of my arrival in Jalal-Abad, until August, when the welfare service gave me a travel document for Pahlevi. Immediately upon my arrival there, on 28 August 1942, I enlisted in the Polish Army.