S T A L I N ' S E T H N I C C L E A N S I N G
STALIN’S ETHNIC CLEANSING in Eastern Poland
Tales of the Deported 1940-1946
ISBN 1 872286 88 7
Province (Województwo) WOŁYŃ
MARIA CYMBORSKA (TAIS)
OSADA OSTROWSKA near Beresteczko
All the people mentioned below were military settlers and almost all were deported by the NKVD on 10 February 1940 from Osada Ostrów.
1. Antoni Gaweł – died around 1930. His wife died in the train going south, his daughter, Danusia, now lives in Kraków.
2. Dobosz – had four children. All were moved to Beresteczko and were not deported.
3. Stefan Batory, his wife Eugenia and four children: Jurek, Krysia, Stefan and an infant daughter: two of them died in the south of the USSR.
4. Jan Zych, his wife Stanisława (?) and three daughters. During the war, Mr Zych had a nervous breakdown and was taken to hospital in Lwów. He came out after the deportation of the settlers and his own family, and it is not known what happened to him. He was petrified by the empty houses and the howling dog.
5. Wojciech Kościelny – eight children, wife died tragically around 1936.
6.Narcyz Niedzielski – died tragically, his wife married Mr Gominiak. From both these marriages there were four children.
7. Jan Berchert ( our nearest neighbours), wife Konstancja, seven children: Janina, Władysław, Bronisława, Jadwiga, Edmund, Wiktor, Felicja. Mrs Berchert was my godmother. Władysław, Wiktor and Felicja died from typhoid in Tashkent: Jadzia and Edek as part of an orphanage with General Anders’ army went to Iran and beyond. Janka and Bronia returned to Dubno and this is where they lived.
8. Jan Ślufik - wife Józefa and seven children: Janina, Bolesław, Kazimiera, Bronisław, Henryk, Władysława, Ryszard.
9. Tkaczyk – wife Maria, two children: Katarzyna and Stanisław.
10. Jan Borek – wife Marianna and four children: Mieczysław – he was the noblest boy on our osada, Helena Aniela – a beauty with a fine voice; she always took the part of the Holy Mother in the Nativity Play – Zosia and Aleksander. Mrs Borek was mother’s best friend. When Anielka was performing and sang such songs as ‘Again another mazurka dance today’, or ‘The sycamore stands by the water’ – all the listening Ukrainians would burst into tears.
11. Edmund Kosowski and wife had four children: Anatol, Kazik, Felicja, Maria. They rented out their farm and moved to Beresteczko. They were not transported on 10 February 1940 but of Mr Kosowski there is no trace. Maria lives in Chicago.
12. Walenty Tais – wife Stefania nee Zawadzka; five children: Euzebiusz, Eugeniusz, Emilian, Maria, Felicja.
13. Franciszek Fajfer – wife Marianna, four children: Henryka ( also sang beautifully), Czesław, Halinka, Wandzia – a beautiful child who sang like an angel – died in 1940 in the taiga on posiolek Obil. Marianna Fajfer died in the autumn of 1940.
14. Władysław Janusz – wife Hanna and three children: Stefan, Józia, Mieczysław. Mr Janusz whistled beautifully. Sometimes while in the ghastly Obil my daddy would plead, ‘Władek, try to whistle the song’ (he especially wanted ‘Holy Mother, to Your Heart’), so for a short while we will imagine ourselves in a better place’. Mr Janusz, his eyes wide staring into the distance, put his hands into his quilted jacket and performed, whilst my daddy sang ‘Holy Mother’ so tenderly that our hearts were breaking and both of them wept.
15. Stefan Piskorski – wife Oleńka and four children: Stefan. Lodzia and two younger ones. The little one died during the deportation journey into exile.
16. Opiola - died quite early. Two children remained: Bronia and Florian. His wife Julia remarried Pawel Lubryzcki and had a daughter Zosia.
17. Franciszek Gawlik – wife Marianne, died in the taiga with a newly born son. Had five children: Henryk, Celinka, Artur and two young ones.
18. Władysław Gatt – wife and five children.
(From the editors: Mrs Gatt and four children, Krystyna, Fryderyk, Boguslawa and Maria lived in Masindi, Uganda, from 1943 until 1948 and afterwards came to England where she settled. Her husband was in General Anders’ army and died as a result of an accident. The youngest son was taken from a transport to Persia and the family never discovered whether he died or survived and, if the latter, his present whereabouts.)
19. Rzehak (Żechok), Captain, headmaster of the school in Beresteczko, died in Russia. Wife a teacher, two daughters and two sons. One daughter lives in London. Mr Rzehak was a good friend of my father.
There was also Regulski but his land was bought, or maybe just rented by Stanisław Kosowski.
The nicest houses and farms in our osada, surrounded by hedges, flowering shrubs, fine orchards and flowers, belonged to: Tais, Kosowski, Tkaczyk, Koscielny, Batory, Janusz and Gatt.
All of this passed, was lost, ceased to exist, and will never return. Our fathers and mothers are dead. Some are buried here – in homeland soil, others are lost somewhere in the taiga or steppes and have no known graves. They have neither cross nor tombstone to state who they were, where they worked, how they fought for their country, how much they loved her – nothing! Yet, in the hearts of their children, or maybe in some failing memory, glows the childhood memory of their dearest, those who have departed.
1. Guzik – wife Stanisława (died in Obil with newly born son) and three sons: Jozef, Zygmunt (died in Obil) and Jurek.
2. Passendorfer, Lieutenant (Captain(?) – together with his brother he farmed over 40 hectares. Beautiful house and orchards.
3. Franciszek Kiedron –wife Rozalia, two daughters: Maria and Teresa. Deaf and dumb brother of Mrs Kiedron was always in our house and used to talk by sign language with my father.
4. Cwajna – wife Bronisława and two sons: elder Edward, very handsome and clever grammar school student, died in Obil. Czesław walked with crutches.
5. Jan Zając – wife and four children: Tadeusz, Emilian, Emilia, Czesław. Tadeusz and Emilia died in Obil.
6. Władysław Macherczyk – wife and three children: Władysław, Maria, Bronisława.
7. Mleczko – wife died very early leaving two children – Maria and Emil. There were two sons from his second marriage. Wife and children were deported and Mr Mleczko ran away and was hiding but the Ukrainians surrounded the barn while he was sleeping and burned him alive.
8. Czajna – wife and three children. The eldest Józia was a magnificent reciter at all school festivities.
Everything came to an end, there remains only a lot of home-sickness and memories. O God, where are they all? Are they still living? In a Ukrainian song these words occur, ' Only the traces of the horses' hooves remain after them'. But of our life over there in the military osadas of Volhynia (Wołyń) nothing remains, but painful memories of those people who are still alive and go on remembering.
Zyta Szulejewska (Reha) has written about life in osada Ostrowska before the war.