Class 6
Horodło, 17 June 1946

Fleeing the Ukrainian gangs

This happened in 1943. In Volhynia, a Ukrainian gang would regularly attack people, and so the entire population moved to the other side of the River Bug. My parents also decided to leave.

In the early morning of 27 August, as soon as it started to dawn, daddy and uncle got on our cart, which was loaded with things, and drove off. Mummy and I followed on foot. When we reached the River Bug, there were no Germans keeping guard. Gladdened by the fact, we drove into the water. But as soon as we crossed the Bug, Germans approached from Łuszkowo. They stopped us, rummaged through our belongings, and took whatever they pleased. They took all of the grain that we had with us, but most importantly they stole our young mare. Worse still, they found some Soviet newspapers which uncle used to light up fires, and they wanted to shoot him and daddy just because they had them, saying that these were clandestine newspapers intended to stoke up opposition to the Germans. But uncle explained that he used the papers to light up fires, and so they backed off. At last they told us to go back across the river, threatening that they would shoot us if they caught us again.

The crossing was difficult, what with only one horse. But somehow, by the grace of God, we got to the other side and drove on to Uściług. We spent the day in Uściług, and when night fell we carefully chose a moment when there were no guards and crossed the River Bug again and went on to Horodło.

Such was the fate of Poles living in Volhynia during the German occupation: you could not remain in one place, for the Ukrainian gangs would attack you, murdering and burning, while the Germans would not let you cross to the other side of the Bug.