1. [Personal details:]
Gunner Zygmunt Bajorek, 27 years old, single, [illegible]. Before the war, I lived in Lwów.
2. [Date and circumstances of arrest:]
On 13 April 1940, I was deported to Kazakhstan with my parents. The NKVD authorities did not give any reason for the deportation, but merely stated that they would take us to another oblast on the decree of the VyerkhovniySoviet [Supreme Soviet]. The reason for the deportation could have been the arrest of my brother Second Lieutenant Jerzy Bajorek on 9 December 1939.
3. [Name of camp, prison or place of forced labor:]
I was taken to Kazakhstan, the Semipalatinsk Oblast, Kokpektinsky region, the Komintern state farm, farm no. 2 Komsomol. The farm was located on a steppe in the mountains, and animals were bred there.
4. [Description of the camp, prison:]
Houses of the local Kazakh people—small, dirty huts near the stables. The Poles lived together in a barrack, then they were moved to an old stone stable, transformed into living quarters. This housing was very cold and damp, almost without light, with smoky heating stoves. Some Poles lived in Kazakh or Russian houses. Through contact with the local population, it was not long before the Poles caught lice. Dirty housing, barracks, lack of flooring, beds [and] bathing in the winter caused the lice infestation. In addition to lice there were many other insects in our living quarters.
5. [Composition of the prisoners, POWs, exiles:]
The displaced Polish citizens mainly consisted of Poles; out of 50 people in this area there were two women of Jewish nationality. 90 percent [were made up of] women, children and adolescents of school age. The displaced persons consisted of military families and state officials.
Despite the harsh conditions in which the Poles lived, there was no solidarity, no joint action, no mutual help. I noticed the cases of people attempting to secure better work and getting hold of food. The Poles, preoccupied with matters of work and food, lived in seclusion, without communication or understanding. The only sign of cultural life was the borrowing of Polish books. Sometimes people came together for church services.
6. [Life in the camp, prison:]
The Poles were mostly kept busy with agricultural work: plowing, haymaking, harvesting or building new stables, in the garden. The state farm authorities gave us the hardest and most poorly paid work. The labor was forced. The work quotas were set high, so that any displaced person unaccustomed to physical labor would not be able to meet them. As a result, the earnings were small and not enough to last even a few days. On average, women earned about 15 rubles a month, men 40, and the daily upkeep of a person could cost about five rubles. Half of the Poles did not work (elderly and children). Anyone who worked had the opportunity to buy a kilo of bread per day, and received 100 grams of bread for their non-working family members. People who did not work and did not have a family could not buy bread at the government price. In these circumstances, they got money and food mainly through the sale of personal items (clothes) or through money and food parcels sent from back home. Working conditions for agricultural work on the steppe did not allow for any kind of yield. Working from sunrise until night, we received a kilogram of bread per day (or 750 g) and some tea, and every few days we ate some soup with meat.
7. [Conduct of the NKVD authorities towards the Poles:]
The NKVD authorities conducted themselves towards the Poles in a two-faced and hypocritical manner. Hypocrisy was the main feature of their behavior. Externally, their behavior was in line with the regulations. During an inspection, they would listen to complaints about the housing and hygiene relations, confirmed and registered them, promised that they would act upon the pleas, but they did not help in any way. The Poles were, in fact, deprived of legal defense and placed at the mercy of the state farm officials.
We were issued passports for five years, which allowed us to move within the area.
They abused us psychologically at every opportunity, declaring that we would always be in the Soviet state, and would never return to our country, that Poland would never rise again. They had learned by heart a banal rhetoric about the relations that existed in Poland, and everything Polish was ridiculed. The blame for the fall of Poland was attributed to Minister Beck, claiming that he had betrayed Poland on behalf of Germany. They said that in pre-war Poland there was serfdom, and they talked about workers being beaten, about unemployment. They referred to all Poles, even genuine physical workers, as capitalists. They claimed that Poland was inhabited by capitalists, unemployed and paupers.
8. [Medical assistance, hospitals, mortality:]
In the state farm, there was a sick-bay. The doctor usually could not help the patients due to lack of medication. His main activity was to give ill people sick leave. Without such a document, you could not be absent from your daily work. In the district town there was a hospital, where seriously ill people were sent. Despite the worst hygiene conditions, I did not encounter any incidents of an epidemic. The Poles suffered from exhaustion, malnutrition and damp in their living quarters. One elderly lady died on the farm as well as one child.
9. [Was there any communication with homeland and family? If so, how was it?]
The Poles maintained postal communication with the homeland. Families and friends sent a large quantities of food, clothing and money parcels.
10. [When were you released and how did you reach the army?]
After the so-called amnesty, the Poles received special documents called udostovyeryeniya which allowed them to choose their own place of residence, except for border zones and towns in the first category. After receiving these documents, all the Poles left the farm and moved to towns in Kazakhstan or Uzbekistan.
In October 1941, I went to Semipalatinsk with my parents. In January 1942, I stood before the Polish-Russian conscripts commission. On 19 February 1942, I left for the Polish Army in Lugovoy.
28 February 1942