91-year old Zofia Gawrońska, 1995.
Zofia Gawrońska, aged 36,
a deportee in Siberia,
in a dressing gown presented to her by
Polish authorities, 1942.
S T A L I N ' S E T H N I C C L E A N S I N G
Name: Zofia Gawrońska
Osada Wąsowicze, District Włodzimierz Wołyński
My daughter, Regina, provided me with pencil and paper and asked me to put down a few words about my military osada Wąsowicze, my deportation to Archangel county and about those events which started my exile which eventually led to sunny Australia.
I have just turned 91 and, though I am not too well physically, I am blessed with good memory. I was 36 when I was deported without my husband to Siberia with five small children, while pregnant with a sixth who was born in Siberia. How those events turned out, you can learn elsewhere in this book from my daughter, Regina's, account.
I still grieve for the loss of my osada, its pastures, meadows and orchards, its cattle and horses - indeed, all that I loved: and I shall continue to pine probably until the day I leave this world. I pray that my grandchildren and my great-grandchildren get to know what happened to their parents and grandparents and fully realise what it meant to be one of those 220,000 Poles who, one night, were shipped deep into central Russia.
It is a story both sad and richly meaningful, the history of the fate of a whole nation, and it is to be found in many books. Above all, it contains the demand that they build a better world.