Volunteer Eugenia Mamak: I was born in Białystok on 10 April 1921. Until the outbreak of war I had been living with my parents in Białystok. In 1940 I got married and moved to Łomża with my husband. Right after the wedding, on 13 April 1940, together with my husband, I was deported to the USSR, to Kazakh oblast, Kokchetav region, posiolek Leninżoł.

Living conditions were horrid; they lodged us with a Cossack family, which consisted of five people (we were seven), and our tiny apartment had one room. The day after arrival we had to go to work. It was hard and unpaid. I worked in bricks production, housing construction, and then in the fields at the harvest and haying when the hot summer came. After finishing work they didn’t pay us at all, saying that the first time in a kolkhoz is unpaid. So we applied to the NKVD to go to the alabaster mines in Szubucinka [Shubinka?], Kokchetav region. There, they also exploited us in every way: the payment was lower by half than what they paid to Russians. In 1941 there was a demand for Polish labor on railway construction and the NKVD sent us there, the Akmolinsk –Kartaly line, Semiozernoe region, Kushmurun station. And there the heavy, very heavy labor began. We worked 12 to 14 hours without a day of rest. So we ignored their threats and decided to take days off on our own. And then the mass arrests started. We ceased to act on our own initiative, we had to stay quiet and work.

It was so until our liberation from their horrible clutches, the happy and joyful day of 30 July 1941, came. Then we found out about the forming of the Polish Army. My husband, with great effort, got us an exemption from work and we left for Buzuluk. My husband, being a pilot, went to join the air force in Koltubianka, and I joined the Nurse Corps and sighed with relief, seeing my fellow countryman there, instead of hearing threats and yelling – rabotaj! I wished I could work not 12, but 30 hours then.

From Buzuluk I went to Wriewskij where I took a course in the Centre of Nursing Training and on 6 March 1942 left for Garrison Hospital No 1 in G’uzor. I worked as a nurse. In August we went to Krasnovodsk. After all the contingents had passed through, I was able to abandon this place of torment too. On 1 September 1942 I had already been in Pahlevi, still working in the hospital. After a month we went to Iraq, to Qizil Ribat. Presently I am in Military Hospital No 3.