class 6
Horodło, 17.06.1946

The saddest day of my life

Things had been different for a few days already. Some unknown civilian men, behaving as if they were military men, wandered about or rode their bikes and made some marks on houses and roadside trees. There were frequent fires, murders and robberies at night. Everything was strange and scary. Some people said one thing, and others said something else, but no one actually knew what was about to happen.

One morning, some people with rifles went from house to house, taking all those present. I made for the field as soon as I saw that rounding up of people, but when I passed the barn I saw farmers walking in an extended line across the fields, just behind the barn. Without thinking much, I rushed back and hid in the shelter that had been prepared long before.

I spent some half an hour there, and it got so quiet that you could hear a pin drop, so I left the shelter cautiously and had a look around. It was quiet, only the larks were singing cheerfully in the morning sun. But when I passed the orchard, I immediately saw some farmers walking the fields further off in the settlement. So I sat down and began to think what it all meant.

Suddenly I saw a few farmers walk out from behind the neighbor’s barn and come straight at me. I thought that they must have seen me. But I immediately jumped into the hornbeam hedge that grew around the orchard and hid under its wide branches. The farmers came over to the clumps of clover standing by the fence and began to pierce them with bayonets to see whether anyone was hiding there. Soon, more of them came to that spot. Suddenly I heard crying and a shout, and then machine guns and handguns rang out, grenades began to explode and one noise and groan rose in the air.

It was only then that I figured out that Ukrainians, also called rezuns [butchers], were gathering Poles and began to beat and murder them. They gathered all the Poles from that settlement and brought them to the courtyard at my uncle’s place, where I was staying at the time, and then began to beat and murder them. After a few minutes the shooting subsided, and all I could hear was the groaning of someone heavily wounded and the loud conversations of the rezuns.

On that day there was not just the pogrom of Poles from that settlement, but there were pogroms all over Volhynia, with the exception of towns, but it was difficult to get to any town as there were Ukrainian guards everywhere.

I was the only member of my family to survive, and after a few tough days I somehow managed to get to Włodzimierz.