The Soviet Repressions after 1944
In the gulag I met a man who asked whether I play chess. I said that I do and he suggested a game. He was a good chess player. For two hours I resisted his onslaught but in the end I tired and gave up. It turned out that he worked as a doctor’s assistant and was soon to be released from the camp. He took me to the place where the professionals in the camp worked and introduced me to the doctor. The doctor gave me some jobs as an orderly, which I carried out gladly. When it became evident that I was able to look after the sick and knew what I was doing, the doctor quickly engaged me to assist him in the operating theatre. He did not need to prompt me – I, myself, handed him the necessary instruments when they were required. And so I stayed on with him permanently; he was a good surgeon, a real professional who had graduated in medicine in Tomsk. I worked with him for several years. It was he who helped to find me medical work once I had been released from the gulag and settled in Tomsk, since I had previously worked there as an electrician.
Aleksy Gutkiewicz
When the Soviets came they closed churches right away, and the priests went to prison right away. There was a priest in Germanoviche. They came to the parish at night. Give me your documents. The priest went out in one cassock, and it was biting cold. And they told the priest to say that there was no God, that he didn’t believe in God, and, then, they would let him go at once. – Skazhy nam [tell us] one word, and we’ll let you go. – I am a priest and I paydu [will go] even to death. The priest came, his legs injured by frostbite. They were crushing him in jail. When he came back he was awfully thin, he was screaming all the time at nights, crying.
Teresa Szymko
And then the Russkis came back again. And they set enormous procurement quotas. No way could we meet them. There was a wool quota, a butter quota, an egg quota and money quota, too. So we was right glad to join the collective farm. They sucked us dry. Took everything away. Give, give, give or be prosecuted and jailed so there’s no way out. My mother’s brother’s pigsty caught fire. He burned his hands trying to put out the fire and missed a deadline. Simple, he just hadn’t been able to thrash the corn in time but he was now on his way to deliver it. They came to see him, sentenced him and sent him to jail – he died there. Just like that. We all begged the court, saying he was delivering it as soon as he’d loaded his cart. But it was not on time, he’d missed his quota. And another of my uncles – they jailed him for not meeting a quota for timber. He died in jail. And I was not far behind.
Władysława Zasztoft