Born in the village of Okolsk near Braslaw. His mother died when he was two and his father remarried. His family was very poor; his father worked seasonally in Latvia. Julian worked from his earliest childhood grazing cows and pigs. He did not go to school. During the German occupation he was detained by the Germans during a roundup at a market in Braslaw. He ran away with a few friends from the train going eastward. He could not return home, he stayed in the forest joining the local Soviet guerrillas. After a year he was conscripted into the Soviet army and sent to the front, where he was wounded. He had a major operation in a field hospital and was sent to Moscow for treatment. He returned home in late 1944. After the war he worked at a fish factory in Braslaw. Now, he lives with his third wife (his first two wives died). He has two daughters; one of them lives in Latvia the other one in Ukraine.