1. Personal data (name, surname, rank, Field Post Office number, age, occupation, marital status):
Artillery Cadet Officer Stanisław Janulewicz, civil servant, unmarried, Field Post Office no. 160.
2. Date and circumstances of arrest:
I was arrested on 21 April 1940 after having been denounced by an NKVD informer, Aleksander Malewski, resident of Lida, Nowogród voivodeship. Charges: from 4 February 1938 until the outbreak of the war I had worked as a commandant of the Lida division of the Reservists’ Association. I was arrested at the train station in Lida. I was sentenced in absentia to eight years.
3. Name of the camp, prison, or forced labor site:
From 21 April to 20 October I was incarcerated in the prison in Lida. On 20 October 1940 I was deported to a prison camp in Arkhangelsk Oblast, Komiszow [?] region, Osinówka [?] gulag camp.
4. Description of the camp, prison etc. (grounds, buildings, housing conditions, hygiene):
The prison cell, which normally held from 12 to 15 people, had to house 48–56 prisoners. We were ordered to sleep sitting up. There was no air, as the cell was not only overcrowded, but also had its windows covered with wooden crates. We weren’t allowed to take any walks. Food packages from home weren’t admitted.
The camp consisted of impossibly infested barracks, with stoves and windows in a state of substantial disrepair, as a result of which in winter it was freezing cold inside. The bugs plagued us so much that we couldn’t sleep. We didn’t receive any mattresses or blankets. People slept directly on bare boards, in tattered and wet rags which they worked in every day and which they never took off.
5. The composition of POWs, prisoners, exiles (nationality, category of crimes, intellectual and moral standing, mutual relations etc.):
In the prison, 90 percent of the inmates were Poles, and 10 percent were Byelorussians and other Russian people. Category of crimes: 80 percent were political prisoners and members of the military – professional officers and non-commissioned officers, former members of veterans’ organizations, civil servants, larger landowners, merchants and industrialists. 20 percent were imprisoned for border crossing or some petty offences against public order. As for the intellectual and moral level, the majority were members of the intelligentsia, who were of high moral fiber. Apart from 500 Poles, there were over 1,000 Soviet citizens in the camp, mainly criminals with no morals, who were hostile towards Poles. The majority of the work overseers, assessors and foremen were repeat offenders and murderers, who took advantage of the Poles during work, and in the barracks robbed us of clothes and money.
6. Life in the camp, prison etc. (daily routine, working conditions, work quotas, remuneration, food, clothes, social and cultural life etc.):
In winter we had to wake up at 5.00 a.m. and set off for work at 6.00 a.m. The place where we worked was between 8 and 12 kilometers away [from the camp]. The road was covered with snow. We had a 15–20 minute dinner break. We finished work at 6.00 p.m., and returned to the zona at 8.00 p.m. We worked felling trees and performing other related tasks, such as loading carts, taking them to the railway line and loading wagons. The work quotas were impossible to meet. Remuneration for work was so meager that oftentimes a laborer would have to pay extra for his food, if the authorities had any chance of collecting such payment from him. Food from the so-called third caldron, the only one we Poles could afford, consisted of 300–700 grams of very heavy whole meal bread and 0.75 liters of extremely thin soup in the morning, and the same quantity in the evening. The second caldron was for those who met 100 percent of the quota (which was impossible under normal circumstances) and consisted of 900 grams of bread, the same soup and a spoon of groats in the evening. The third caldron was for meeting 125 percent of the prescribed work quota. It entitled one to 900 grams of bread and the possibility to buy an additional 300 grams in the shop, soup in the morning and in the evening, a spoon of groats and usually a herring head.
Clothes. So-called bushlats [pea jackets], all torn, equally ragged pants, no underwear, and slippers made of old car tires, in which our feet were very susceptible to frostbite. There wasn’t any cultural life, because we didn’t have time to organize anything, and besides the authorities wouldn’t agree to it. We had some rest, that is, a day off, from 1 to 2 times a month.
7. The NKVD’s attitude towards Poles (interrogation methods, torture and other forms of punishment, Communist propaganda, information about Poland, etc.):
The interrogations were carried out in a vulgar manner, and the foul language of the interrogators made us sick to our stomachs. With respect to that, even the female functionaries of the NKVD would not be put to shame by the degenerate men. We were beaten, kicked and prodded at every step. The women and the men were interrogated in the same way. The Communist propaganda took the form of extolling the freedoms of living in Russia and the high earnings of all its citizens (in fact, it was quite the contrary: the entire Russian territory was dotted with gulag camps, which housed over 90,000,000 Soviet citizens).
8. Medical assistance, hospitals, mortality rate (give the names of the deceased):
In the prison, a mentally ill inmate was kept for five days in the punishment cell, from which he was let out half-conscious and covered in blood (Michał Kolęda, Zygmunciszki, Lida district). A prisoner who suffered from a toothache and was asking for seven days straight to be taken to a dentist was punished with four days in the punishment cell for pestering the guard with his requests (in the punishment cell you received 300 grams of bread and some unboiled water three times a day, and you went there either naked or only in your underwear). A tuberculosis patient was taken to the doctor only to be declared dead (Mularczyk, Poczerń village, Lipniszki commune, Lida district).
In the camp, only those who ran a very high temperature were exempted from work. Those who couldn’t walk due to exhaustion were beaten with a baton by the guard.
9. Was there any possibility to get in contact with one’s country and family?
During my year’s stay in the camps I didn’t establish any contact with my family or my friends. Some people received letters and even packages, but very rarely.
10. When were you released and how did you manage to join the army?
I was released from the camp on 20 October 1941. Upon release, we weren’t told that a Polish army was being raised. They tried to talk us into joining the Soviet army. Having refused, I was assigned to stay in the area of Sverdlovsk, where I then went. On the way I learned that the Polish Army was being formed in Totskoye, and on 17 November 1941 I arrived there, without any help from the Soviet authorities.
Note: I was sentenced in absentia by the so-called troika to eight years of ispravitel’no- trudovye lagerya [gulag camps]. Offence: preparing youths for a war with the Soviet Union by commanding “a fascist reservists’ association”.