Translation from the book
Z Kresów Wschodnich R.P. Wspomnienia z Osad Wojskowych 1921-1940
(From The Eastern Borderlands of Poland, Memories of Military Settlements 1921-1940)
Pub: Ognisko Rodzin Osadników Kresowych (OROK)
(Association of the Families of the Borderland Settlers)
London, UK. 1992 and 1998 (out of print)
ISBN 1 872286 33 X
Province (Województwo) Polesie
OSADA CHYLIN (originally called Chinin)
Postal District (Poczta) Wysock
District (Powiat) Stolin
The Chylin Settlement was set up in 1921-22 by young married couples, former soldiers under Józef Piłsudski, who received small plots in reward for fighting alongside their commander.
Chylin was located in Polesie, alongside the Łuniniec-Sarny railway line, at the confluence of River Słucz and Horyń, which then flows into the Prypeć. Railway stops on the northward bound line were Udryck, Horyń, and Stolin (25 km), and the southward bound ones were: Milacz, Biała, and Dąbrowica (25 km) which was located in Wołyń Province. Chylin belonged to the Wysock Municipality, located along the Horyń River in the Stolin District. Near Wysock, there also was a few-hundred-person German colony and, further down towards Stolin, there was the village of Terebierzów.
The local population in these named villages and small towns were usually native people, the Poleshuks, Belarussians Ukrainians, Jews, Germans, and Poles. Only 15 Polish families and one German family with the surname of Litwin lived in Chylin. Out of the families mentioned above, 13 were former soldiers, and the last two families were local Poles: Jaworski, three Milczarek families, two Opiłka families, the Pietraszek family, the Pukacz family, the Sobierajski family, the Sroka family, the Staniaszek family, the Tomczyński family, the Woźniak family, and the Danielewski and Krupa families.
These were young couples that fate had thrown from west Poland to the Polesie lands following the First World War who built homes and set up farms buying agricultural equipment and started their families. The first child was born in 1922. Several years later, a school was established there that, with time, was expanded into a four-form school. The school was housed in a small hall by the elected village administrator, Jaworski. The lessons were given by one teacher /headmistress for forms 3 and 4 in the morning, and forms 1 and 2 in the afternoon. The settler children had a 7 km walk to Wysock, crossing the Horyń by cable ferry, to attend the higher classes of primary school.
The soil in Chylin was sandy and barren, allocated for the cultivation of cereals, potatoes, beetroots and vegetables, as well as for orchards. Some settlers also undertook beekeeping.
Every year in spring, the rivers flooded due to snow melting and sometimes large floods broke wooden bridges, submerging not only the surrounding swamps, pastures, and meadows, but also the lower-lying croplands and buildings.
The settlement did not have a physician, dentist, police officer or priest. In addition, nobody had electricity, running water, gas, or a telephone. Only the school had a radio. There was no public transport in the area to the small towns and villages nearby, apart from trains that were hardly used anyway. Events like St. Nicholas’ Day celebrations, May devotions, the vaccination of children, parties and so on, were organised by us only within our own small circles, and were usually held in the school hall. Baptisms and First Holy Communions for children were not held regularly, usually once every two years, and were great experiences for almost the entire settlement. At the time, most settlers along with their families would ceremoniously set off a day earlier, using their own means of transport, to the nearest church in Dąbrowica in order to fulfill their Christian duties since fate and the prevailing conditions prevented them from fulfilling these duties on a more regular basis.
The construction of the Catholic Church in Wysock started in 1938 but all they managed before the outbreak of war was to bless the church square and transport stones for the foundations. The settlers freely participated in transporting stones from the station in Udryck.
In the summer of 1939, Hitler recalled all Germans to Germany. Most of them returned reluctantly, having to leave their homes and farms behind. After the outbreak of war, many Poles and Jews passed through Chylin, fleeing from west Poland to the south, towards Romania.
On 10 February 1940, all the military settler families apart from two secondary school pupils, Jerzy Staniaszek in Brześć and Teofil Sobierajski in Pińsk, were forcibly deported by the Soviets to a forced labour camp in the woods in Archangelsk, Siberia, approximately 300 km west of Kotłas.