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
ISBN 1 872286 33 X
Province (Województwo) POLESIE
MARIA DOLECKA (KRÓLIKOWSKA)
Municipality (Gmina) Lelików
District (Powiat) Kobryń
Post Office Lelików
I was born in Polesie, on the Kopań settlement in the Kobryń District. My father, Józef Królikowski, was a military settler. He received his first plot in Kamień Koszyrski. This was a settlement named Korolówka but at the request of a local settler, they swapped because my father liked the magnificent, giant oaks on this plot.
The settlements in Polesie were quite large because much of the land was infertile with shrubs and bushes, pastures and meadows, and some of it had to be worked into arable land, orchards, and gardens.
There were seven military and two civilian settlers at the Kopań settlement. The military settlers were: Józef Królikowski – Chairman of the settlers (died in Russia), Kazimierz Boguszewicz (died in England), H. Burczak, M. Burczak, Bujanowski and Zagrodnik (killed in Poland by bands). [Ed. Note: The Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists carried out terrorist activity led by Stepan Andriyovych Bandera]. The fates of these three are unknown to me, whereas settler Szwed died in Polesie after his return from Africa.
The civilian settlers were: Budner - died in Poland, whilst his sons were deported to Russia in 1940, and Orzechowski who wasn’t deported but was murdered with his entire family of five by Ukrainian bands from the Samara village (I received news of this after the war from my family).
The plot of Zagrodnik was leased by the Burczaków family (his wife’s family) because he worked in forestry near Kobryń. The settlers were well organised. They had their meetings, belonged to the “Krakusi” and wore special green uniforms and “rogatywka” caps. [Ed. note: peaked, four-pointed cap, a style worn by many military formations]. There was no Catholic church at our settlement, hence, we had to travel to the closest one in Dywino. The priest would sometimes come and visit us and celebrate a service in the school. Religious education was taught by teachers: Wojtaszek, Bandurski, and Sawicki. Our parish was the Wielka Hłusza, and Ratno was the town where my parents got married. On all the national and religious feast days the services were held in the local Orthodox church.
The children of the settlers attended school in Lelików, this was a large village. We had a municipal office, a police station, and a post office which, for some time, was run by my father. He also ran a grocery store - a cooperative. We also had forestry, waterways and canals, etc.
I have a photograph of my late father from the festivities in Kraków; he went there with Colonel Wolski and Misiewicz, the Municipal Secretary, to transport earth from Kopań to the Józef Piłsudski Mound. [Ed. note: Originally named The Independence Mound built in Kraków to commemorate the re-establishment of Poland’s independence.]
Life on the settlement was flowing calmly, the rural development was coming along nicely, and the land was giving good yields, everything was going well until suddenly, a terrible war came; the Bolshevik invasion of Poland and on 10 February 1940, cruel, forced deportation took place, the exile of settlers into the depths of Russia, to Archangelsk. Russia seized our settlement and family home.