1. Personal data:

Volunteer Maria Dragun, born on 12 October 1898 in Wilno, widow. Platoon staff with the Women’s Auxiliary Service at the Staging Area Command.

2. Date and circumstances of arrest:

I was deported from Wilno on 14 June 1941, together with my husband. At the station in Wilno we were separated: I was deported to Altai Krai (Siberia), and my husband was taken first to prison, and then to a gulag camp in northern Ural, camp no 47, where he died of exhaustion in December 1941. This horrible death of my husband was witnessed by Father Wacław Krawczyk and Stanisław Kościałkowski, professor at the Stefan Batory University in Wilno.

3. Name of the camp, prison, or forced labor site:

Rubtsovsk region, 3rd otdeleniye [branch], Świekło sovkhoz.

4. Description of the camp, prison etc.:

Rather fertile soil. There was water for washing in a canal (the so-called aryk). 52 people including Jews, pallets for sleeping, tables and benches. Poor hygiene, no toilet; we bought soap on our own. We had to sell off our things, because we didn’t receive any remuneration for our work for a very long time.

5. The composition of prisoners-of-war, inmates, exiles:

There were only exiles with me. Mutual relations among us were good.

6. Life in the camp, prison:

We woke up at 5.00 a.m. and began work at 6.00 a.m. I worked twelve hours a day, eight hours for my own benefit and four hours for the benefit of the Red Army. There were no cultural institutions.

7. The NKVD’s attitude towards Poles:

Communist propaganda was disseminated by agitators during our work.

8. Medical assistance, hospitals, mortality rate:

There wasn’t any medical assistance at the site. Four people died, but I don’t remember their surnames. It was one elderly person and three children.

9. Was there any possibility to get in contact with one’s country and family?

Postal service didn’t work well: some letters went astray and not all food packages were delivered.

10. When were you released and how did you manage to join the army?

I was released in October 1941. I worked in a kolkhoz in Uzbekistan. On 28 March 1942 I left for Persia. I joined the Women’s Auxiliary Service on 23 May 1942 in Tehran on the basis of a submitted application.