1. Personal data:
Gunner [?] Piotr Joniec, 29 years old, farmer, unmarried.
2. Date and circumstances of being exiled:
On 13 April 1940, after the Soviet army entered, my family and I were deported to Pavlodar Oblast, Maxim-Gorky raion, Oktyabrsky zernosovkhoz, farm no. 5. On 15 April, the NKVD came to us and told us to get our belongings and leave in two hours, allowing us only to take as much as we needed for the way. We got ready and they took us to a wagon. The wagon was horrible: dirty and cold, with no firewood, and no wooden bunk beds. There were 60 of us Poles – families with children. We all shivered from cold and hunger. Food rations were scarce, they would give us 300 grams of bread and boiled water. The way they addressed us was vulgar and there was no medical assistance. Illnesses started, many of us got ill [and] many died at that time, both the elderly and children. I don’t recall their surnames. The journey took around 16 days. When we arrived on the site, I was seized with fear: it was an ordinary pigsty made of clay, dirty and cold. There were so many people that the pigsty was cramped, there was no space to lie down, and they didn’t give any firewood, nor were we given anything to eat. It wasn’t until the third day when we received a piece of dry bread each, and that’s it. At the same time, they forced us to go to work, which I couldn’t start doing because of the cold. If anyone refused to work, they were to be taken to court right away. Work was hard and the quotas were so high that I couldn’t fulfil them; I toiled at digging, logging, etc. Remuneration was so low that you couldn’t survive a day for it.
3. Composition of prisoners, POWs, exiles:
Relations among Poles were mostly fine, but very bad with the Russians.
4. Attitude of the local NKVD authorities towards the Poles:
Attitude of the local NKVD towards the Poles was horrible. They made fun of me, [saying] I wouldn’t see Poland anymore, that the part of Poland they took would forever be theirs. That’s how they spread their propaganda among Poles.
5. Medical assistance, hospitals, mortality rate:
Medical assistance was poor, medical supplies were scant. When I got sick, nobody paid any attention to it, because requesting for medical care was pointless. I had to suffer, and I was forced to go to work. Many other Poles (I don’t recall their surnames) died because of the meager feeding and medical care.
6. Was there any possibility to get in contact with one’s country and family?
When it came to the contact with the country and family, I contacted them once a year, because they didn’t allow me to do it more often than that.
7. When were you released and how did you manage to join the army?
We were deported for being farmers, and so I had to leave my family house. The day finally came when I breathed the air of freedom. After the Polish-Soviet agreement, I freed myself from these vicious clutches, and I set out to search for a place where the Polish army was being formed. The journey was difficult because of the railway communication. I had to wander around stations (and so did many of my colleagues) until I finally reached Lugovoy, where I passed the drafting commission and was accepted into the ranks of the Polish Army. I had survived to begin a new life.