Corporal Feliks Piotrowski

The first incident happened at the military settlement on 15 November 1939: I was tossed out of the compound as a military settler and wasn’t allowed to take anything from my workplace other than my wife and three children. I had to go with my entire family to my father-in-law residing in Korzec, and that is where I stayed until 10 February 1940. So on that day, at 7 o’clock in the morning, three NKVD men and 12 peasants rushed into my father-in-law’s house and arrested me and my father-in-law. They gave us 40 minutes to take our things, which the women and children had to collect because we weren’t allowed to move an inch. After loading our belongings, they let us get dressed and get in the sledge, and they took us to the border. They came up with the documents on the same day: so my father-in-law was released, and I, as a former military settler, or a Polish dog, as they called us, was detained and taken to Zdołbynów in Volyn, on 12 February 1940. There we were loaded on a railway car and transported in closed railway cars to Soviet Russia, to Kotlas in the Arkhangelsk Oblast. We arrived there on 28 March. We were taken to the forest, where we worked, hungry and cold, to keep our children healthy. So the work lasted until 1941, until August, I can’t remember the exact date, when we were told that after the amnesty we were free Polish hrażdany [grazhdane, citizens], and in October we were given an udostoverenie [certificate of release], as it was called. After some time, we learned about the Polish post in Buzuluk, and we went there at our own expense. From there we were sent to Tashkent, where we were turned away, and they drove us around until we were transported to the Kulistan kolkhoz on 18 December, where I lived through the dark days for two months. During that time I was summoned to a military commission in order to join the Polish army, so I left my wife and three children in the kolkhoz, where they lived in these sad and difficult conditions for five months, while I came to the Polish front ranks, that is, the 9th Division, stationed in Tashlak, and joined the 26th Infantry Regiment on 18 March 1942.