September 1939
Airplanes arrived on 1 September. Before that there were preparations at our school. We were taught how gas works, how to protect oneself against it, that windows needed to be sealed, doors to the kitchen closed, to prevent gas from going through the chimney. In 1939, the Germans were the first ones to enter Drohobych. They were very elegantly, neatly dressed. They came by motorcycles. Everybody kept saying that the Russians were waiting here on the hill for the Germans to leave and then they could occupy Drohobych. The Germans stayed for a very short while. I cant’s remember how long. Our Ukrainians met them with bread, salt and a towel right away. It was very strange. The Germans left and the Russians came in right away. They rode on horsebacks without saddles, dirty, with guns on strings, on some belts. They looked terrible. They had guns with such bayonets, it was horrible. They had such aluminium containers on their belts and they rushed to the gardens at once. They dug potatoes, picked tomatoes, and cleared everything away in a moment. At villages they took horses away. Farmers didn’t give them saddles, but they rode on horseback without saddles. It was dreadful. Such a difference. The Germans on motorbikes, in gloves, clean, shaved, and the Russians, so dirty.
Wiktoria Kisiel
They announced on the radio that the war broke out. It was horrible, awful, unpleasant. They were bombarding the station. They were taking many people to the army. They also took my father to the army. Everybody was scared of that war. And the Russians would smoke it all out. I liked to sleep on the stove, because it was very warm. I slept very well, and only when some plaster fell on me from the ceiling, I woke up. I was running home to see, because I was staying overnight with my grandmother, I worked at my grandmother’s … People were then running away across that bridge, on foot, by cars across our bridge. The soldiers were going, too, and civilians were going. There were different transports behind the Dniester River. Romania lived in harmony with Poland. My father went to war, and I ran home from my grandmother’s every day to see what was going on there, if the bomb was not dropped there.
Barbara Medyńska-Michajłow
On 3 September they revealed that it was war and started to take away. My brothers: one, two, three of them were leaving for war. I was already married and had a daughter, Ania, she was three. We were saying goodbye, crying; they were leaving for war... Do not cry, my brother says, we will come back on the Nativity of the Mother of God (8 September is the Nativity of the Mother of God at our church), we will beat the Germans and come back. He was captured and came back only in 1946 …he was in captivity for six years.
Janina Mickiewicz
I remember when war broke out. It was a Sunday. We came home for dinner after church. There was no radio then, nor television so, when people came out of church, they had dinner and then sat around the barns. The men gathered in a group in one spot and the women in another. We children ran around here and there. We played a game called medals – you know, you draw something on the ground and then jump about on it. So we jumped around. And then, when the Germans began to shoot, or were they Soviets? Perhaps Germans – who started it? It was the Germans who started it out here, wasn’t it? And we began to shout: war, war!
Maria Poczobut
The Soviets entered, but the police was ours. There were troops in Czortków (Ukrainian: Chortkiv). They all escaped to Romania, towards Romania. I do not know, if they crossed the border or were caught. Nothing happened here, no shots, war or fight, here in Biała, I mean. Nothing happened in Chortkiv, either, because they were only at the border there. They ran away from this place, because there was police here, four or five of them. So they did not enter this place, they entered Chortkiv. Later we were only told … They came to the local council and told them what to do, what it was all about.
Maria Witwicka