Bronisław Szulewski, born in 1909, Roman Catholic, Polish.

On 24 June 1940, I was arrested and imprisoned by the NKVD in Lwów. I wasn’t told the reason for my arrest. There were so many people in the prison that we could only stand; sometimes we could sit down. I was transported from Lwów to Sukhobezvodnoye, Gorky Oblast. During the journey, which lasted two weeks, the only food we received was a piece of bread and a spoonful of sugar a day. We were also given a bucket of water for 40 people traveling in the train car. It was hot outside then. In order to make the prisoners even more tired, the transport service beat the car’s roof and walls with hammers and rifle butts several times each night.

When we arrived in Sukhobezvodnoye, we were accommodated in terribly dirty barracks, with excessive numbers of lice and bedbugs. I worked with others in the woods, where we felled trees. The work lasted 12 hours a day and everyone was forced to do it, even the sick. Those who arrived late or walked too slow were pushed and had dogs set on them. In the morning and in the evening, we were given some soup. Additionally, we received a piece of bread once a day, depending on the work quota we had met.

The mortality was high: on average, four people died every day. The sick were admitted to the camp hospital when they were already in a hopeless condition. Diseases were widespread: scurvy, dysentery, swelling. It was there that the verdict was pronounced. I was sentenced to three years in a labor camp, on charges of being a danger to the Soviet government. Apart from Polish people, there were also Czechs and Austrians in the prison, but they all died, with a few exceptions.

On 27 September 1941, I was released and I went to Buzuluk, where I joined the Polish army.