1. Personal data (name, surname, rank, age, occupation, marital status):
Zofia Iwaszkiewicz, born on 9 November 1912, married, volunteer in the Women’s Auxiliary Service, in the rank of senior leader, ward nurse.
2. Date and circumstances of arrest:
In April 1940 the Lithuanians deported me from Wilno (where I had arrived on 24 October 1939 from Kraków as an exile) to the Lithuanian internment camp in Žagarė. On 16 June 1941 I was arrested by the NKVD together with my husband in the village of Czermin, Šiauliai district, and deported to Altai Krai in the USSR.
3. Name of the camp, prison or forced labor site:
Martynovo sovkhoz, Togul region (near Barnaul), Altai Krai.
4. Description of the camp, prison etc. (grounds, buildings, housing conditions, hygiene):
The milk- and meat-producing Martynovo sovkhoz was situated in the steppe on the Chumysh river, 120 kilometers from the nearest train station, and consisted of three farms, each situated ten kilometers from the next. The residential buildings were old and dilapidated; all the offices and warehouses were located in old wooden houses which had been confiscated from their rightful owners. The flats for the exiles were located in the barracks, in which there were neither floors nor stoves.
5. The composition of POWs, prisoners, exiles (nationality, types of crimes, intellectual and moral standing, mutual relations etc.):
The majority of the exiles were Lithuanians who didn’t speak any Polish, and they didn’t maintain close relations with the Poles. On the contrary, they were hostile, especially following the amnesty. The Poles – 50 people in total – lived in harmony, helped one another at work, in household duties, and financially, and in general they had very cordial relations.
6. Life in the camp, prison etc. (daily routine, working conditions, work quotas, remuneration, food, clothes, social and cultural life etc.):
Work in the sovkhoz began at 7.00 a.m. and lasted until 8.00 p.m. with a one-hour dinner break. In harvest season we worked for 14–15 hours a day. We received remuneration twice a month, always irregularly, and very often not to the full amount. We were given approximately 70 percent of the money earned and told that the work was improperly performed or that the quota wasn’t filled. Those who performed very hard labor that had to be completed in a set time had the chance to buy some foodstuffs at government prices.
7. The NKVD’s attitude towards Poles (interrogation methods, torture and other forms of punishment, Communist propaganda, information about Poland, etc.):
At first, the NKVD tried to acquaint us with the Communist system at regularly organized weekly meetings, and encouraged us to take active part in them. All the Poles remained passive and attended the meetings or watched propaganda movies only under compulsion. The Lithuanians and the local Russian populace weren’t especially interested either, except for a small group of members of the Communist party.
8. Medical assistance, hospitals, mortality rate (give the names of the deceased):
A hospital with 20 beds, headed by a 72-year-old paramedic, who also provided medical assistance.
9. Was there any possibility to get in contact with one’s country and family?
10. When were you released and how did you manage to join the army?
On 10 October 1941 we were notified en masse that as citizens of the Republic of Poland we could volunteer for service in the Polish army and were entitled to change our place of stay. We immediately cabled the staff headquarters of the Polish Army in Buzuluk as volunteers for military service. We left the sovkhoz on 16 November 1941, although we hadn’t received any answer. We went to Chimkent in order to be closer to the Polish army and to personally inquire about the possibility of joining it. Until 11 February 1942 we earned our living in a Kazakh kolkhoz [illegible] near Chimkent, Georgievka region. When my husband joined the army I moved to the township of Georgievka. On 25 March 1942, in answer to a summons, I went to the 8th Infantry Division in Chokpak, and on 28 March 1942 I began to work as a nurse in the isolation hospital.