In 1937, we moved into our new house, built of bricks. We now had a large kitchen, with a proper oven for baking bread. There were three bedrooms and a large sitting-room. Each tiled fire-place heated two rooms. There was also a bathroom with a big wooden bath. In the attic was a room for me and my sister.
Later, during the war, the settlement was completely destroyed but, like a miracle, our house was the only one left standing and is still there to this day!
I grew up on Osada Krechowiecka, Wolyn (Volhynia). This was a large settlement shared by ex-soldiers arriving in 1921. The name was taken from their cavalry regiment, the 1st Regiment of the Krechowce Lancers. The veterans were awarded the land free of charge after their service in the war with Russia in 1920.
Life was very difficult and primitive in the first years, but the settlers worked hard together and the settlement developed and prospered. There were about 130 plots of land so everyone had their own small farm and land to cultivate.
At first, father had to live in a dug-out but, with the help of his friends, he built a simple wooden house with a thatched roof.
I was born on 21 March 1925; I had a younger sister Zosia, an older brother called Bogus and a step-brother Tadzio.
We had a stable for horses, a cowshed and a pigsty. We also had Chinchilla rabbits, chickens, ducks, turkeys, and sheep – all guarded by the dog at night. There was also a small dog and cats for us children to play with. The garden path led to a large orchard, a fish pond and the apiary (beehives). Behind the house there were cherry trees. Father grew various crops including sugar beets and tobacco.
Around the house were lovely flowers and bushes, and a vegetable garden with various berry bushes so mother could make jams and preserves for the winter. Under the house were two cellars for storing supplies for the winter.
Helena and Stefan Maczka
Bogus, Zosia, Danusia .
As time went by, the settlers built a community centre and a huge church. The community centre housed the school, the central dairy, a post office with a telephone operator, a savings bank, a co-operative shop and a warehouse for grain. As well as the offices of various associations and youth organizations, such as Brownies, Guides and Scouts. There was a school with seven classes, for 250 children. Older children lived in the closest town of Rowne to attend Grammar School (Gimnazjum) or trade schools. The settlement was in full bloom economically and organizationally. We lived idyllic lives: happy and peaceful among family and friends.
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