1. [Personal data:]
Volunteer Gabriela Siedlanowska, born 1909, appointed civil servant, state official.
2. [Date and circumstances of arrest:]
In 1940, on the night from 28 to 29 June, my husband and I were taken to the station, where they put us in a train car together with 38 other people. The conditions were horrible; [we had] no air or water. On the sixth day, I was taken to a hospital in Liski. My health condition was hopeless, so my husband made great efforts to obtain a permit to stay with me.
3. [Name of the camp, prison, place of forced labor:]
On 9 July 1940, I was discharged from the hospital and assigned with my husband to the Lwów echelon. By the end of August, we arrived at Arkhangelsk Oblast. They took us to our destination on tractors: Arkhangelsk Oblast, Tarza razyezd [crossing point] ([km marker] 890 km), Tarza Lesepunkt [forest work unit], 5th quarter. It is on the Moscow-Arkhangelsk railway line.
4. [Description of the camp, prison:]
The posyolok [hamlet] consisted of a number of barracks built in a forest meadow. The terrain was wet, [we had] no drinking water. The barracks were full of bugs. There were a few people in each section of the room.
5. [The composition of prisoners of war, inmates, exiles:]
Mostly Jews – 85 percent. In general, there were around 300 of us, plus the Russian prisoners who guarded us while serving their own sentences. Our group was made up mostly of merchants and industrialists.
6. [Life in the camp, prison:]
Everyone who could walk, both those who were healthy and sick, were forced to work in the forest. The stronger ones cut down trees, the weaker sawed wood, and the “healthy” sick [ones] burned branches. Pay was non-existent. Receiving a portion of bread and soup depended on work efficiency. Anyone who didn’t work, even with a doctor’s sick leave, would only receive 400 grams of bread per day. There were often obligatory meetings and roll calls, during which you’d always hear, “There will never be a Poland again.”
7. [The NKVD’s attitude towards the Polish people:]
The NKVD constantly pried and forced us to work. They spread the official propaganda. Everyone had to hear how great it was now, and how bad it had been in Poland.
8. [Medical assistance, hospitals, mortality rate:]
A few months after our arrival, we were assigned a Polish doctor, who was not allowed to send a patient to the hospital without their [the NKVD’s] consent. The closest hospital was in Nyandom, 100 kilometers away, including 15 kilometers of rough terrain to Tarza razyezd ([km marker] 890 km) train station. The mortality rate was high. Those who died: a Jew aged around 70; Welcer and Bronfeld; Rozek, an attorney from Lwów; [and] Chałaciński, head of the voivodeship office in Kraków. I can’t remember any more names.
9. [Was there any possibility to get in contact with one’s country and family?]
I wrote letters with my sister in Łuck. I never received any letters from the German occupation zone of Poland, even though I wrote a lot.
10. [When were you released and how did you manage to join the army?]
After the amnesty [for Polish citizens in the Soviet Union] was proclaimed on 15 September 1941, I went to Uzbekistan. My husband was accepted into the Polish army, 9th Infantry Division in Margilan, after being examined on 6 February 1942. I joined the Women’s Auxiliary Service of the 9th Infantry Division on 27 March 1942, in Margilan.