1. Personal data:
Gunner Kazimierz Charytonowicz, 22 years old, no profession, unmarried, army postal service number: 161.
2. Date and circumstances of arrest:
I was arrested on 12 February 1940 in Baranowicze, and my family was arrested on 10 February as military settlers. During our journey, I joined them in the same car at the station in Rejtanów. From Rejtanów we were deported to the Soviet Union, where I remained until my release.
3. Name of the camp, prison or forced labor site:
Izoksza hamlet, [illegible], Arkhangelsk Oblast.
4. Description of the camp, prison etc. (grounds, buildings, housing conditions, hygiene):
The camp was situated on vast swampy grounds. The buildings were made of wood and very cramped. As for the hygiene, it was [illegible].
5. The composition of POWs, prisoners, exiles (nationality, category of crimes, intellectual and moral standing, mutual relations etc.):
There were 115 families in the hamlet, that is, 583 people. There were Poles, Belarusians and Ukrainians in that hamlet. Among the deported there were mainly civilian and military settlers, and also rangers.
6. Life in the camp, prison etc. (daily routine, working conditions, work quotas, remuneration, food, clothes, social and cultural life etc.):
Life in the camp was very poor, and the work quotas were very high. We worked in the woods, where we had to wade waist-deep in the snow. It was impossible to meet the quotas under such weather conditions. Food was deplorable, because one [illegible] and couldn’t get anything better. We couldn’t get any clothes; only when someone filled 120% of the quota was he issued some clothes from the warehouse, but he had to buy them with his own money, and it was very difficult to earn it.
Our life there was unbearable [?], as there were some prisoners who would sell their friend for two rubles. I submit the surnames of a few such individuals: Władysław Izendzik, Adam Hunder, Mikołaj Warenik and others. We could buy newspapers with our own money, but I couldn’t afford them. I saved money to buy a piece of bread, as I craved bread.
7. The NKVD’s attitude towards Poles (interrogation methods, torture and other forms of punishment, Communist propaganda, information about Poland, etc.):
The NKVD treated us Poles very harshly; they persecuted us and eavesdropped on our conversations. We were interrogated in a locked house and kicked from time to time. We were punished with fines and arrests, where we received food – 400 grams of bread and a liter of water – twice a day.
As for the propaganda, we were told: Poland will be reborn and you’ll go back when hell freezes over. They were also spreading political propaganda, saying that Poland would be erased from the maps forever, and that we had to forget about it and think about and defend Russia.
8. Medical assistance, hospitals, mortality rate (give the names of the deceased):
Medical assistance was decent. 74 people out of 583 exiles died in the camp, but I don’t remember their surnames. But there’s a thing that I’ll never forget; in these woods they killed my brother, born in 1923; he died during our journey after our release from the camp.
9. Was there any possibility to get in contact with one’s country and family?
We received letters and even food packages from our country.
10. When were you released and how did you manage to join the army?
On 8 December 1941 I was released from labor. We had to cover 45 kilometers before we reached the army; we waded waist-deep in the snow and pulled sledges with luggage and little children (up to six years old) who couldn’t walk on their own.
18 March 1943