1. Personal data:
Lieutenant of the Regular Army Piotr Sudnisz; I was born on 11 January 1911 in Buchedu Manchuria; I’m married.
2. The date and circumstances of the arrest:
I was arrested on 7 November 1939 at the train station in Kołomyja. I had left Kowno on 2 November, with the aim of getting into the border zone and escaping abroad to Romania. The NKVD caught me during a round-up at the station.
3. The name of the prison:
They took me into custody at the station, and I was there during the first interrogations. On 11 November, they then took me to Stanisławowo. They deported me to Russia into jail in Kherson on 13 December. From prison in Kherson, they moved me to a prison in Mykolaiv on 1 March 1940. On 5 July 1941, they transferred me to a prison in Tomsk.
4. Description of prison:
Prison in Kherson was situated on the outskirts of the city. Apparently, it was a former brewery. The buildings allegedly were over a hundred years [old]. The prison was divided into three groups of buildings; Belyy korpus [white house], where I was; Krasnyy korpus [red house], a red brick building mainly for convicted Bolsheviks; and Trudovoy ispravitel’nyy lager [corrective labor camp] was in the buildings of the former military barracks. In the cells, there were often over a hundred people. Cells were large rooms with central heating and [a] sink and an inside toilet, so that they constituted a whole, and, thanks to that, we were able to use it at any time without the control of the prison authorities. At the sink, there was soap; undergarments were washed every ten days in the prison laundry. In the cell there were beds and bunks. Every prisoner had a mattress. They did not give any undergarment or linens [illegible] at all.
We went to [take a] bath every ten days. A daily walk in the prison yard – 20 minutes. In cells, they provided us with books, mostly propaganda.
When it came to the medical care, it was pretty good. A nurse came every day, with medications prescribed by a doctor, and to give any emergency assistance. She would come even at night when called to a patient. They performed some operations, including the removal of a cyst. But such good treatment of prisoners should be attributed only to the doctors, who often acted against the prison rules. One of the doctors was a Pole living in Russia, and there was another one, a female dentist, who was so sympathetic towards the prisoners, that she even passed us the news from the war in France and from the Finnish front.
5. Composition of the prisoners:
In the first months, I was in a cell with the prisoners that included: officers, non- commissioned officers, a few riflemen, approximately 40 chauffeurs from Warsaw, officials from the Stanisławowski Voivodeship, and landowners. Later, they mixed us with some Ukrainians from Lower Carpathian [Carpathian] Ruthenia. They did not mix us with the citizens of the USSR, except for some single cases.
Mutual relations in the cell were good. The prisoners celebrated all anniversaries and bank holidays. On Sundays, we read prayers together. The chauffeurs from Warsaw and some police officers were morally the weakest prisoners, often complaining about the life in Poland and even stealing from other inmates.
6. Life in prison:
Except the prison in Kherson, other Soviet prisons were harsh. The prison in Mykolaiv was characterized by harsh discipline, and we were almost naked. There was no way of getting any clothes. You slept on the floor or the wooden boards, without cover. I did not do any work except clean the cell. I received 600 grams of bread a day, and soup twice a day. Most often, soup was ordinarily water with a little bit of millet kasha. Bread was the basis of life. In terms of cells, we were mostly mixed with Ukrainians, who harassed the Poles. Frequently, there were fights, after which Poles usually went to solitary confinement. The prisoners studied history and languages, even though they risked punishment.
7. The attitude of the NKVD towards prisoners:
Very bad; vulgar insults and threats. Almost every night we were taken in for questioning. They threatened me, but never beat me. They did not use any propaganda on me.
8. Medical care:
Generally good, except the prison in Tomsk; where we became like cattle, not entitled to anything. The sanitary conditions were terrible. The cells were concrete with disinfectants on the floor. In cells, meant for 10-15 people on average – they accommodated a hundred. All prisoners were naked, in the terrible heat, covered with ulcers. There was dysentery – no care was available. It was hard to say whether anyone died or not, because the seriously ill were taken out of the cells and never returned.
9. Contact with your country and family:
Since I was being interrogated, I was not entitled to any correspondence with my home. Anyways, no one sent or received any letters. At least I never heard of such a case during my 22-month-long imprisonment there.
10. When were you released, and how did you get through to the Polish Army?
I was released on 30 September 1941 in Tomsk. I was given 25 rubles, and put on the street. I worked together with others as a porter. I felt like I was starving because I was saving money to go to the army. Initially, I did not know where the Polish Army was. We sent cables everywhere until General Wolikowski wired us from Kuybushev telling us where we should head. The Soviet authorities did not want us to leave. However, thanks to the help of railway workers, who, once bribed, made it possible for us to get into three cars. We were then able to leave Tomsk. For these cars, we paid 1,500 rubles. After 20 days, we got to Buzuluk, where I joined the army.
Place of stay, 28 April 1943.