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Kresy Family group
In the cemetery at Tengeru with Lucyna Onyszk 1945
Altar boys Tengeru, 1944
In front of our little house under the papaya,
16 March 1945. Olga Trybuchowski with her children
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) NOWOGRÓDEK
At the outbreak of war in 1939 my father, being an NCO reservist was mobilised and for a long time we had no idea where he was. In that way it came about that mummy, besides attending to her professional work, also looked after the farm. Following the Soviet invasion of 17 September 1939 mummy’s school; was designated as being Belorussian and she was required to go to Nieśwież for a teacher’s retraining course to familiarise herself with the Soviet syllabus which in the end, despite her protests, she had to teach in the new school. Even so, whenever she taught her pupils the Soviet national anthem, she deliberately omitted the second verse which proclaims ‘No God, no Tsar, no hero’. As you might expect she was reported and, as a consequence, was threatened with imprisonment, although she excused her action by pleading that she didn’t know Russian all that well.
Father escaped from Soviet captivity and returned home on Christmas Day. Thus as a family we survived, somewhat precariously, until 10 February 1940 when, very early in the morning, someone rattled at our front door simultaneously shouting out that we had to pack our goods and chattels. Father was ordered to lie on the floor in the corner of the room. In all that consternation mother completely went to pieces so it was lucky that auntie Rózia and uncle Władek were staying with us, for it was they who dressed us children and piled feather quilts, eiderdowns and pillows on the sledges. Mother stuffed photographs in her briefcase along with one jar of preserve which in the end was crushed and stained most of the photographs. She also took a bag of dried bread. Auntie Rózia packed a few suitcases with food and clothing and, since she was not on the Soviet’s list, remained in our home while we, surrounded by private soldiers carrying rifles, set off for the school in Zaostrowiecze.
After a stop in a forester’s lodge, we moved on to Baranowicze where we were loaded into large cattle trucks containing two straw-covered bunk beds, a stove with wood for burning, a bucket of water and a hole in the floor. The doors were bolted and then, after a further period of waiting, we set off into the unknown.
We were thrown together with complete strangers into a wagon of stinks, rank odours and wailing children. We travelled for three whole days without a stop and when at last we came to a halt we found ourselves in wide-open fields; we were allowed out to stretch our legs and take a lungful of fresh air. We were also given some wood and set about gathering snow to melt for water.
By peering through the gaps of the planks which formed the wagon’s walls, we read off the names of the stations through which we passed and eventually reached Sinega where lorries in a terrible state of disrepair, simply held together by ropes, awaited us. The private soldiers assured us that we were bound for a paradise overflowing with plenty. After a further day’s journey, we arrived at a collective farm where we were counted onto sledges and, in Indian file, went into the forest for a few more days until we reached posiolek Kubalo, Ustyanskiy Region, Archangel Province. Here there were eleven barrack huts, each divided into halves, and four families were placed in each half – i.e. 21 people in a space five metres by eight metres. Our family was assigned the lower bunk bed.
The posiolek was also divided into two sections - one part was at the top and the other at the bottom of a hill on land where one river flowed into a larger one. Those who lived in the lower area tended to become ill with greater regularity and certainly many infants died there.
I don’t remember all that clearly what happened at the beginning of all this, but what has stuck in my mind is standing in long queues turn and turn about with my sister so as to keep our place. One such queue was for the 300gms of bread allocated to each person: this added up to a quarter of a heavy round loaf. We were lucky if the loaf was cut on a slant because then we straightened it by picking at it but all the time keeping a sharp eye on it so as to ensure that no-one got more than anyone else. Sometimes we obtained a small addition to our ration and this we’d divide between us and say nothing to our parents. Once it reached home the bread was cut up into exactly equal portions. Father exchanged part of this share for tobacco which he rolled in newspaper to make cigarettes. His matches he cut into quarters but always tried to beg a light from some other source so as to save his supply.
There was generally also a possibility of buying some watery oatmeal soup or cereals.
Different sizes of saws and axes were handed out and from that moment all men and women worked as equals cutting the forest trees which, as logs, were then floated down the river to Archangel. I well remember the agility which men employed jumping on the floating logs to prevent log-jams though sometimes they had to resort to using dynamite to disentangle the snarl-up.
Mother applied to the administration to work as a teacher but was made to work in the forest because the commandant feared she might inculcate inappropriate ideas in the children. Father’s left thumb became frostbitten making him unable to work in the forest. The thumb began to rot so he got some permanganate of potash to soak it in (this was about the time I discovered how unpalatable was some red liquid I found in a jar). When the flesh was well-rotted daddy, using a pair of pliers, cut it off at the joint. In time the wound healed and he was allocated office work where he kept accounts. This, incidentally, was better-paid work than tree-felling in the forest.
Our family suffered neither night-blindness nor scurvy. In the main, people though constantly hungry, remained fairly healthy.
All children had to attend school. Despite mother’s warning us not to be too keen to learn, my sister was always perfect in everything and was awarded a Certificate of Good Conduct and Progress – a colourful affair bearing portraits of both Stalin and Lenin. On the other hand, I heeded mother and my certificates were simply scribbled out on paper torn from a notebook. The syllabus was very basic with special attention being given to handwriting, arithmetic and singing – Communist songs, of course.
Dynamite was used to clear the trees around the huts and potatoes were planted in their stead. These we were forbidden to gather even when they were frozen.
Once a horse died and was buried but some men dug it up again and distributed its meat to the people. The cutlets were very sweet. On another occasion, we got hold of a piece of badger from somebody or other. Then there was the time I scampered all the way home because I’d found a half rotten pickled gherkin.
For a few months we received food parcels from relatives in Poland. Among these was one containing a whole goose and some eggs sent by our former maid, Theodora. How they all arrived in one piece I’ve no idea but they really saved our lives. Mother sliced that goose into thirty portions which we ate at the rate of one per day shared among all of us.
There was just one incident of an escape from the camp. After a week the two men involved were found half-dead, lost in the forest. Of course, they were punished. Those receiving heavy penalties were committed to prison in Archangel; lesser sentences were served in the camp.
One day my mother was summoned to the commandant. She went to him worried stiff. He met her wreathed with a smile saying that she had caused no amount of trouble, her very name having played mayhem in the Soviet Union. What had happened was that he had received a telegram which read ‘Pay 70 roubles [to] three buchowska Olga’ which he’d taken to mean ‘Pay 73 roubles [to] Buchowska Olga’. For a week he’d wondered to whom to pay these 73 roubles but, just to show how benevolent was the USSR, she would receive that amount in full but she must change her name.
Mother returned very pleased with herself but still with her old name. (Ironically a few generations earlier the Russians had changed our surname from Trzebuchowski to Trybuchowski so as to ease the pronunciation for themselves).
The majority of the workers had to buy themselves thick felt boots and quilted jackets or they would have perished in the forest.
Full payment was accomplished only by producing the norm. Not more than a handful of men could manage this and even then only when they had had the help of others or they had cheated – for example by lifting logs from one pile to another after the original had already been checked.
After the "amnesty" it was possible to leave the camp quite openly in order to visit the nearby Ukrainian village to barter clothing for eggs, flour and potatoes and not have to hang about, as previously, waiting for the Ukrainians to sidle up to the barracks during the hours of darkness. I remember that on Christmas Eve 1941 mother boiled a full pan of potatoes and that for the first time in two years we could eat as much as we wanted. Immediately after Christmas Eve father piled us on to a sledge which he had acquired by swapping a suit for it and for ten days we travelled south stopping off at poor cottages. Everywhere we were offered boiled water and sometimes a small lump of sugar for the children. Bread always came in very hard loaves and, in drinking tea, one held a piece in one’s mouth and swilled the liquid around it for the next drink. Since it dissolved very slowly it was possible to save most of it for the next drink. The local population were very kind to us but envied our freedom. Because of a fringe of hair which always stuck out from under my balaclava I was regularly taken for a girl, so one day I cut it off with some scissors.
After travelling over 200 kms we finally reached the station of Sinega. Within a few days, a train arrived and father made no bones about pushing us into a wagon which was full of Soviet prisoners (they had been building a railway to the north) who swore disgustingly all the time. In this manner we set off south to Vologda.
There we found an enormous throng of people. Crushed like sardines we slept side by side in a large hall. When I needed to go to the toilet during the night I stepped on people. I tried not to plant my feet on their bodies but, being in a hurry, I couldn’t always avoid them. Only their moans and snores indicated that these folk were still alive. We endured these conditions for five days during which death reaped a rich harvest. Every few hours the dead were taken outside on stretchers.
Here we were assailed by lice. Our permanent occupation was chewing cattle-cake made from sunflower seeds. These were so hard that even after hours of chomping on one small piece only half of it could be swallowed. Some of this cattle fodder, after being steeped in water for 24 hours, was thinly coated in flour and made into ‘hamburgers’.
The trains were always very long with up to as many as 50 wagons and had a locomotive at the back as well as the front. When starting or braking it always jerked about wildly (we learned later that ‘auntie’ Trojanowska, on one such occasion lost her balance as it bounced around, fell on a stove and burnt her hands). No-one knew when the train would move or for how long it would remain stationary to take on wood and water. We changed trains a few times and once even travelled in passenger coaches – it was sheer luxury to have soft seats.
Father did his best to find food, hot water and bread which might be fresh or frozen rock-hard. At stops people queued for food but, as no-one knew how much time would pass before the train moved off, they were often left behind. Then they would try to jump onto the moving wagons and, as a result, legs were amputated by the wheels and once there was a death. Sometimes the train would travel for days on end without a stop or, alternatively, would come to a sudden halt in wide open empty countryside. There were times we had to clear the line of snow and times we had to chop wood to provide fuel.
On one station we bumped into father’s sisters Alina and Wacia with their children. From them we learned that granny had died in the transport and that her body had started to decompose after lying in the wagon for five days. Her corpse had been left with many others somewhere near Chelyabinsk where many years before an ancestor of our neighbours, the Rytwinskis, had been the senior stationmaster. In southern Soviet we passed through many tunnels some of which were exceptionally long. At such times we had to close the four small windows very rapidly or choke on the horribly pungent smoke.
At one station someone poured the contents of a chamber pot out through the doorway. On seeing this one of the Soviets insisted on buying it from her and offered a fabulous sum of money, her reason being that it had an excellent shape for cooking.
By train we travelled far beyond Tashkent to Andzhidzhan. Here, the moment the train stopped one end of it started shaking very alarmingly and reared into the air. We heard shouts and noticed people distractedly running backwards and forwards while some fell to the ground before the engine settled down again. We thought that possibly it was being repaired, but we had actually suffered a fairly strong earthquake. A few cracks were visible in the clay buildings.
The train went too far, so, as the army was being formed in Uzbekistan, we went back there. Here in general, women and children were sent to collective farms, but mother insisted that she was staying close to the army so we remained in the small railway station of Yakobak. Here the 16th PAL and 17th Infantry Regiment were formed. Father rented a small clay hut for us from an Uzbek woman and he himself joined the army in Guzar: the infamous ‘Valley of Death’. I used to go and beg crusts of bread from the soldiers and occasionally ended up with a full slice. This eaten with an aromatic melon, made a tremendous breakfast. It was very warm there and we ate mulberries kish-mish i.e. a mixture of sultanas, dried apricots and peaches, and katyk, which is the world’s best soured milk.
After a few weeks father came to visit to find his wife unconscious and his children running a high temperature. It was spotted fever. He got hold of some powdered medicine from the military doctor and cared for us himself until the crisis had passed and we were on the road to recovery. As the Uzbek woman would not have us in her hut we slept under the open sky. I well remember that starlit expanse and the many shooting stars – each, it was said, was a dying man. We children recovered quite quickly, but mother took more time. We all had better appetites than before the illness.
Father returned to his unit to face quite a bit of antipathy since they regarded him as a deserter. He was advised to join a different unit so as to avoid being court-martialled. I think he re-enlisted in Bukhara.
Mother became aware of lots of homeless children wandering about aimlessly so she applied through the army for help to feed them. Following this came a request from the government representative, Mrs Hadalina, that she should become the head of an orphanage. She was helped by twelve adults to care for some 80 children, who were either complete orphans or whose fathers were in the army. These youngsters ranged from 2 to 12 years of age. She herself had a room in the lodging house. For a few days, at the outset, the soldiers shared their rations but then the orphanage received its own supply of food. I recall the occasion when mother’s slice of bread fell to the ground, and as she stooped to retrieve it, a boy lying close-by grabbed at the bread and bit her hand.
The children were taught to sing, dance and recite poetry. They were rehearsed to present entertainments and prepared for Confirmation and their first Holy Communion. After lunch each day we had a siesta which we took on our bunks or lying side by side on the floor under blankets. This was followed by more lessons or excursions on foot or by arbas. Shows were organized for the soldiers and for the visit of General Anders there was singing, dancing, and rhythmical gymnastics with paper flags whilst singing ‘We dedicate all to Poland’. There were also hand puppets controlled by mother who lay hidden under a bench draped with a blanket. She made the puppets quarrel and fight. Bishop Gawlina’s visit overflowed with ceremony. The children took their first Holy Communion, myself included, and some, like my sister Irka, were confirmed.
We missed being included in the first transport to Persia because we were recovering from illness and too weak to travel. Despite obstacles created by the Soviets the number of children in the orphanage increased to 90. Despite it being forbidden, among these were two Jewish sisters, Pepa and Rózia, the daughters of Abraham Brand. Accompanied by 17 teachers, we all set off by train to Krasnovodsk where we were made to disembark a long way from the port area. Without any water, in the full sun, we waited by the shore. We were ordered to leave all our bits and pieces on the beach, so there built up piles of suitcases. On the other hand, mother left nothing, kept her warm quilted eiderdowns and they went with us. We dragged ourselves to the port and were loaded onto cargo boats. When the boat began to roll many children were very sick so mother tied ropes around their legs which she lashed to stanchions so that no-one could disappear overboard. After a ghastly night we anchored in the port of Pahlevi in Persia.
We were housed on the beach under shelters with plaited straw roofs but no walls. We bathed and were then given white vests and pants rather than proper trousers. We were issued with tinned beef, rice, sultanas and rather too much rancid butter. There were also lots of eggs and bananas which we bought in whatever amount we could afford from Persian hawkers shouting ‘boiled eggs’. Each of us received a modicum of money for additional purchases. This freedom along with liberty of movement and warmth for a few weeks proved a veritable paradise to us children.
The Persians took us to a camp in Tehran having driven recklessly along the precipitous mountain roads. In Tehran we were afflicted by illnesses. I started with an eye infection which was followed by dysentery and then malaria. This last infection made me feel so cold that I still shivered even when covered with a pile of blankets and eiderdowns. Then within the hour I became so hot that my mother had to cool me down with water.
We set off in lorries through the desert to Ahvaz. It was even warmer there. One could not walk barefoot on the sand and in the afternoons it was all but impossible to breathe. We were housed in what had been vast military stables.
After a stay of two or three weeks, we were taken by lorry to a port on the Persian Gulf from where we sailed to India stopping at Karachi on route. Once more we lived under canvas on a beach. Quite often a turbaned Indian band marched past. We ate curry and bully beef to the point of tedium. However, on consideration, it was incredible that after the hunger of Russia it was possible to have too much of something.
During this time I developed pains in my throat which prevented my being able to swallow. The doctor diagnosed mumps so I was admitted to a brick-built English hospital and placed among English soldiers. The first English I learned were the words of the song ‘My Bonny is over the Ocean’.
Mother’s orphanage boarded yet another ship, which as it crossed the Indian Ocean, sometimes steamed straight ahead and at other times took great sweeping curves, first to one side and then to the other. We learned that the reason for this was the presence of German submarines which were roving those waters.
Whilst on board I witnessed a funeral. The body was wrapped in cloth and then, after the saying of prayers, slid from a board into the waves where it quickly sank without trace.
From the ships stores mother acquired some coloured paper and she and the teachers prepared the children to present a show for the captain and his crew. They made paper roses and performed ‘White Rosebuds burst into flowers’ while some of the girls danced around.
As we crossed the equator we had a small ceremony which involved gunfire and fireworks. It was then that I realized we were bound for Africa.
The ship sailed into the port of Tanga. We were ferried ashore by boats and at last stood on terra firma where, for the first time in my life, I saw a Negro. We were then loaded onto trains which had spaces for windows through which the Negroes (of whom we were apprehensive) piled into our hands oranges, bananas and fruits we’d never seen before. I simply stuffed myself and especially with the ones I did not recognize such as mango, papaya, something similar to figs and one which was like a large thick pine cone, except that it was green and contained an aromatic pulp and black seeds. After travelling for a few hours through a completely different terrain called savannah, we came across baobab trees.
The train stopped at a station called Moshi near a high snow-capped mountain which appeared to be so close that the amateur climbers among us wanted to climb it before the train moved on. This was Mount Kilimanjaro and in reality was some 60 kms, distant from us. We passed herds of zebra, gnu, antelopes and giraffe and could not take our eyes off these many wonders. We alighted at a small station in camp Tengeru at the base of Mt. Meru. I think it was 18 December 1942 and almost a year from the start of our journey on Christmas Eve 1941. We were shown to round white huts just through the camp gates. These huts were four to five metres in diameter, had no ceiling but a roof thatched with banana leaves and a square window with a wooden shutter but no glass. Inside were three beds, a table and three stools. As if in a park the huts were surrounded with very tall grass pinpointed here and there with trees which were new to us.
Our tramping about created paths and, under a tree in the open air, school began a week or so later. We carried our stools to the lessons and used them as desks while we sat on the ground or on a log. So it was that yet again we were in a camp but how so very different. It looked as though we’d be there for a very long time.
The camp was quite elevated at about 1500 metres above sea level which meant that the heat was unbearable. We were given thick cork helmets and new uniforms. For us children paradise unfolded: warmth, good food, loads of fruit and plentiful time to play.
Tengeru was part of a large game park about 50 km from Mt. Meru, 1 km from Lake Dulati and between the towns of Moshi and Arusha (7 km away). In the centre of the camp was a large rectangular church with a campanile constructed of four tall poles fitted with cross-beams and a roof. Inside the church had very simple benches and an altar on a dais beyond the altar rail. The wind blew through the ‘windows’ so it was not hot.
In time, since I was an altar boy, I came to know that church so well. I served mass twice a week and was the senior altar boy in my last year there. Our priest was an American Pole called Father Jan Sliwowski. He was very much in favour of elaborate masses. The curate was Father Królikowski- a young energetic man who had gone through exactly the same experiences as us. Later he was to write a book entitled Skradzione dzieciństwo (Stolen Childhood): in this he described an expedition to Mount Kilimanjaro plus the history of the orphanage. Later Father Sliwowski was replaced by Father Rogiński.
I once had to deliver a religious address but in fact Father Rogiński had written the entire lecture apart from the odd word or two which I slipped in here and there. In the main I wrote down what he had dictated.
The entire altar and the space in front of it was always filled with masses of the most beautiful flowers such as different cannas, frangipani, roses, the bells of datura and oleanders - many of which just grew wild around the church and the names of which we had no idea. Most of them had very distinctive fragrances. You won’t be surprised to learn that there were over 60 boys who served mass on a rota.
For all manner of processions, all these altar boys took part dressed in their red cassocks, white surplices and red capes. They were followed by 30 girls scattering a profusion of petals, then the priest beneath a canopy. He was followed by the various schools - primary, secondary grammar, tailoring, and then the institutions for commercial and technical trades. All the children wore uniforms. Sometimes the orphanage attended as a single unit. At the start, there were four packs of brownies and cubs and the same number of guides and scouts each with 50 members. After a few years, the junior groups had grown to become just guides and scouts.
In January 1943 mother moved us to Mrs Grusicka’s orphanage. All the schools had filled their permanent teaching posts although not all of them had fully qualified teachers.
Mother became aware that a number of teenagers didn’t attend classes so she organized a dressmaking class for them. The pupils developed satisfactorily so from September 1943 they were upgraded to a Secondary Dressmaking Technical School. No more than a year later the standard was considered to be so high by a visiting inspector - even in such general subjects as Polish, history and geography - that the institution became a secondary grammar school of dressmaking. The principal was Olga Trybuchowska - my mother. At its height, it contained over 150 girls whose uniform was a white dress with a navy blue sailor’s collar.
As for me, I started in the second class of the primary school and after completing the sixth class went on to grammar school to prepare for the university where I finished two whole years and a term of the third. I was also one of eighty who attended music school. Some of the children were extremely competent and performed on up to three instruments. One such was called Korbut.
The camp held 4,000 people, mainly women and children. There were no more than 20 men and all of these were middle-aged and older. There were some male teachers, two doctors, a dentist, a dental technician and headmaster of the technical school and a few others such as these.
Integrity and exemplary teamwork were the order of the day. No doors or windows were ever locked, indeed the doors had no locks of any kind. Young people, even through adolescence, behaved impeccably.
On one occasion I went into the jungle to hunt birds with a sling. In fact, few birds were to be found in either the camp or the jungle. Just occasionally toucans, birds of paradise and hummingbirds seeking flowers would fly by. Of course there were maribou storks on the refuse dumps. Immediately behind the kitchen block was a huge acacia tree hung with over a hundred of the funnel-shaped nests of weaver birds. In this same tree there also dangled a beehive fashioned from a tree trunk.
Between the huts stood taps with a good pressure of water. This we used not only for drinking water and the watering of plants but also to dowse the girls on Easter Monday. During the hot weather one could regularly thoroughly wet oneself with this without the fear of ever catching a cold.
The African high-humped cattle were immune from tsetse fly and these we rounded up to special huts by the roadside where we were rewarded with a payment for each one.
So as to control the malarial mosquitoes each pool, small lake or indeed any stretch of standing water was filtered a few times during the year. We even filtered the water which lodged in the tubes of the canna plants. To do this we made a cover to prevent the larvae getting air and so they died. We always slept under mosquito nets.
All around the hut I planted papaya seeds. Within a year we had our own perfectly edible large fruits. This was my first success in gardening. A young Negro called Amos regularly came to water our garden. Actually that was illegal as the indigenous population were forbidden entry into the camp grounds so he would scamper off whenever he saw an Askari (a policeman). I recall he once turned up with a head wound.
The soil was so fertile that if it was watered everything would grow phenomenally well. Petunias and verbenas flowered so abundantly that you could hardly see any leaves. Rubber plants grew as high as 30 metres. We climbed them and slit their bark so that the next day we had chewing gum.
Outside the camp were coffee plantations and groves of papaya grown for papayina. Further afield were plantations of groundnut and bananas.
Each family received its food ration from the communal kitchen. We carried it in pots or mess tins and not on plates, for that invited the vultures sailing overhead to dive down and snatch the meat. It was allowable to collect the food ration uncooked and prepare it in our private little kitchens where we used mahogany and ebony wood as fuel.
Books, notebooks, pens and pencils were supplied free of charge. From time to time I’d buy sweets or fruit on my way to school but children could easily live without money.
During the first year we suffered from little flies which burrowed under the skin around our toenails. When they began to itch unbearably it was possible with the delicate use of a needle to painlessly hook out the whole sack of eggs. After a year I think we became immune and never suffered again. There were some people with terrible ulcers on their legs for which the only cure was cauterizing with bluestone (sulphate of copper). This treatment was very painful.
For five years I suffered from malaria. For this we took quinine which was later set aside in favour of atabryna which prevented one turning yellow. We were also dosed with cod liver oil even though our excellent diet made it superfluous.
Mother once left an umbrella in a corner and the termites demolished it overnight. On another occasion, we were infested with bed bugs so we were told to take our beds outside and douse them with paraffin oil. The bugs disappeared. A few times we had clouds of locusts in the camp. The sky would grow completely black with them. We beat pots, enamel plates and all manner of tins as well as shook rugs to force them to fly away. For an hour or so this was great fun but then it became tedious. As for the Negroes – they ate the locusts.
Mother’s school went on a few excursions to a German farm to see a protected species of long-haired black and white monkeys. We also saw elephants. Another outing was to the convent in Kilema where the mother superior, sister Matilda, was a Polish lady who had been there since before the war. (When I returned there in 1988 I prayed by her grave and the nuns, who by then were all black, were surprised I knew of her). Yet another visit was to Kiboko in the Ngoro-goro crater. Here we slept in wooden huts, for the nights were very cold - possibly the only time we felt cold in Africa. Nobody descended the 1.5 km into the depths of the crater because we had no armed escort. At the base there was a sodium lake and lots of wild animals.
There were masses of different butterflies and some boys made magnificent collections.
Besides my involvement in all day scouting expeditions to the river or the nearby villages, I once camped with the scouts on the slopes of Mt. Meru. Every evening we alternated the campfire with scouts and guides. These were ideal conditions for camping, singing and self-entertainment. We children did not feel cut off from the world. Not all that frequently we wrote to father, from whom we knew of the fighting in Italy. There was also a camp radio.
In England, I was enormously surprised when I saw white people grimed with dirt from working. In Africa only the black men did physical work.
Click here for handwritten 'List of the orphanage children prepared for the transport to Krasnovodsk'
Bogdan Trybuchowski has also written about life in Łochwinowicze before deportation.
March past 3 May 1946. The dress-making grammar school