Bombardier Cadet Andrzej Kijowski, born in Lwów on 22 May 1919, 2nd-year student of pharmacy at the Jan Kazimierz University in Lwów, unmarried.
On the night between 28 and 29 March 1940, at 3.00 a.m., two cars pulled over in front of the detached house I was living in with my mother, two brothers, and two sisters (my father had already been arrested on 6 October 1939). My older brother Adam was a lieutenant colonel in the permanent active service at the time. Trying to avoid getting into the NKVD’s hands, he escaped through a window to the backyard, while I was opening the gate. But they heard the noise of an opening window. One of them stayed with me with a gun in his hand, and four others went after my brother. I don’t know what happened there. I was slapped in the face several times for not telling them who escaped. But after a couple of minutes, they brought my brother back to the apartment. They took us both into a car. Two NKVD officers stood at the car’s doorstep with guns in their hands. They took us to the prison on Sądowa Street 7, where 20 people were held.
The cell was really tiny. In normal conditions, it wouldn’t fit more than three or four people. The floor was concrete and the paned windows small and barred; an iron door had a hole to inspect the prisoners. The cell was cold, unheated, and wet, even more due to the fact that a water pipe was running through it. We suffered from a lack of air, to such an extent that a lit match would blow out immediately. You had to get close to the door slot and light a cigarette there.
People were dirty and lice-ridden, because they didn’t wash themselves at all. All of them were of Polish nationality, intelligent, and often secondary education graduates. They were very close, and a common misery bonded them even more. Almost all of them were arrested for belonging to a secret military organization. I was interrogated only once, because I refused to admit that my brother was a Polish Army officer, and he confessed to it, because they had proved it to him.
Then the interrogation leaned towards the secret military organization. Since [the NKVD man] couldn’t get anything out of me for four hours, he concluded the investigation.
I wasn’t beaten while in prison. After the investigation, I was released only to be deported on 12 April 1940, along with my mother, two sisters, and my younger brother, to Kazakhstan, Semipalatinsk Oblast, Ayagoz region, sovkhoz Myn Bulak, farm no. 1, which was situated in the mountains, 90 kilometers from the railway station.
The buildings were made from clay, with no floors and no stoves, and glass panes were missing in the windows. About 10–15 people lived in every small room. Maintaining any kind of hygiene wasn’t possible at all. No medical care nor medications were available as well.
The population was 100 percent Polish, usually families of the Polish Army officers and State Police officers. Mutual relations and coexistence between the families were fine. Working quotas to attain were rather low, so that we were able to fulfill them. Remuneration during sowing, haymaking and harvest was pretty good. A man could earn 200 rubles monthly, a woman 100 rubles, depending on the job they were doing. In the winter though, which lasted six months, we could earn 18–25 rubles per month on stable cleaning. Work was obligatory. They would take us to court for not attending work. I was tried once for doing so and I was sentenced to four months of the heaviest labor and had 25% deducted from my wages. Anybody who was sentenced again for refusing to work was punished with a year of prison and deported to labor camps.
In the summer there were bread deliveries, and each worker could buy 800 grams. In winter, nothing could be delivered due to a lack of [clear] roads. Food scarcity was so severe that throughout the final three months of winter, Polish dwellers ate exclusively stolen black barley, which the cattle was fed. There was no firewood at all, only bricks made of cattle’s manure which – when dried – could replace firewood. We didn’t get any clothes nor did we have a chance to buy them.
We always heard: “Forget about Poland, it used to be, but it will be no more, don’t you think about it, it’s a waste of time”. But the spirits among the people were still high. The thought of not going back didn’t cross anybody’s mind. Everybody was sure of getting back eventually, as one is sure that the sun would come up the next day.
Our people were ill with scurvy. I went through it pretty badly, as it attacked my throat and gums. The following died: Antoni Głazowski, Maria Soroka, Maria, and Józef Kaliszczak – all from Lwów.
We would receive letters in the summer, but there was no way to deliver them in winter. The wife of General Fabry from Lwów, Maria, was with me there; I know she is in the USSR until now, probably in Semipalatinsk.
I was released on 30 September 1941. Because I was with my mother and sisters, I didn’t join the Polish army right away, but searched for my father and my older brother instead. Having found them already in the ranks of the Polish Army, my mother went to see my father, while I, my younger brother, and two sisters, joined the army, that is the 6th Division of Antiaircraft Artillery in Jakkobsk [?] on 5 March 1942.
Place of stay, 4 March 1943