Hanniu Thank you fort the time and effort in making these translations. You are right they should be accessible to our non-polish speaking members. Sorry thatMessage 1 of 4 , Feb 27, 2007View SourceHanniu Thank you fort the time and effort in making these translations. You are right they should be accessible to our non-polish speaking members. Sorry that Edmonton is snowed in but think of the green grass when the snow is gone. Witold
Anne Kaczanowski <annekaczanowski@...> wrote:I sit in the deepest snow weve had in Canada for along time. I am bundled up in the warmth of my house with a flu, and medications. I read the posting by Stefan from Memories recorded in Polish from residients in Koltobanowka during the winter of 1941-42. I thought what a shame these are in Polish because so much of what is written is lost on the English reader. I thought about how much we have and how little these soldiers had. Can't even imagine. So with a big box of Kleenex, a spiced drink, and pecking at the keyboard, I have used my time to expand my knowledge of the Polish language and have translated for the English reader these warm memories. Hope Ive done them justice so the English reader can appreciate the magnitude of the everlasting memory of the "Polish soldier in Koltabanowka" .haniaLanding in Kuybyshev( now Samara)- was where General Anders set up the Polish 2nd Corps in September of 1941, then on to his new headquarters in Buzuluk , a typical Russian town with wooden houses and poor dilapitated villages, and poverty everywhere. The depot at Buzuluk will forever be remembered in Polish history, as the place where all new arrivals were received into the Polish army. Koltubanka was near Buzuluk.Camp at Totskoje ..6th Infantry Division was being formed .small tents pitched in a forestCamp at Tatistchev .. 5th Infantry was organizied.These are memories written by long time residents of Koltubanowka during the years when General Anders reorganized his Polish army.Koltubanowka Winter 1942.The settlement of Szirokowskoje, the camp of Polish soldiers in the forest.Frost with such force that is only possible in this region. The icy winds freeze your face, piercing right through you. Everywhere you hear strange noises as tho nature groans at this dreadful cold. And only the tall, old pines look as though something is not right.They stand proud, in silence swinging their heavy branches.A hole dug out in the ground is reinforced with wooden boards, hidden under a snowdrift. Inside on the wooden floor stands a round iron stove with two trapped logs burning away. The pale refection of the fire lights up the dugout and the sleepy Polish soldiers.And only one soldier does not sleep.He sits beside the stove, and gently squeezes something out of his breast pocket, and then he looks straight ahead at the photograph and whispers something in Polish. In this photograph are his wife and children. My love, pleasant roads. I am so far from you and how much I yearn for you, how much I love you. I will return to you. I absolutely will return. I believe that we will survive these difficult years, which have torn us apart and we will be together again.He always carried this photograph in his breast pocket and showed it to everyone narrates a lady called Masza, who worked as a cook in the Polish camp. Later on she found out that this soldier died from exposure to the cold in this camp settlement of Szirokowski.When they buried him, the men put the photograph into his breast pocket . He would never be separated from her.Unfortunately his name is not known, as well as many others names that have been erased from time.Chaligitowa Maria Wasiljiewna remembers that this lady cook Masza told her that this man had a big family of five children.In the camp he helped out in the kitchen, hauled in water and firewood. He was a very lively man and all the soldiers in the camp looked up to him with respect. He spoke very nice in Russian without a trace of an accent. It wasnt meant to be for him that he return home to his wife and family.This destiny is just one of many Polish soldiers, whose life was ripped away from him on the Koltubanowskiej soil. In the times of this cruel winter of 1941-42 the Poles in Koltubanka had to endure a heavy fate, everything unimaginable and uncomfortable, diseases, hunger and death.Other memories of Chaligotowej Marii Wasiljiewny of the residents of Koltubanowka.In the war years we lived in the settlement of Koltubanka. There were four of us children in the family, half orphans. We had no mother as she had died from sickness and our father served at the front, dying later in 1945 in Germany . We lived with our grandmother who looked after us. In our home we had a lady tenant named Masza who was Ukrainian. This lady worked in the Polish camp at Szirokowski as a cook. She told my grandmother and me alot about the soldiers and we children always listened to her stories about this and how difficult it was for them.She spoke of how the Poles built a bridge across the river Borowka, and it was already winter and the water was frozen. They returned to the camp soaked to their waists. They had very bad boots and clothing which they were never able to dry out, and they fell fast asleep from the daily exhaustion. Many soldiers died from exposure to the cold and flus as a result of this. If they managed to get back to the camp they were sick and weak they were very poorly dressed, in remnants of old army coats and on their heads they wore army field caps and boots- had none that werent ruined.What was possible was done in our Kotulbankan frost just to survive in this insufficient clothing .and yet one was expected to work everyday in these freezing conditions?Food was very scarce. Soup was boiled water with millet, and spring soup was cabbage from nettles and sorrel or fast porridge from barley and millet. But, the Poles were always ready to share their last food. Here take this to the children!, and they brought us children porridge. Hunger bothered everyone and to survive this was very difficult. I remember how my grandmother cried when Masza brought products home from the camp. We lived in the alley off the street Taskienckim, house number 4, not far from the old cemetery. That horrible winter Ill never forget! It was so cold that temperatures fell to 40-45 degrees. So many people died. They buried all the people in the old cemetery near our house. I remember how as children we ran out into the streets and asked Who are they burying? One of the elders answered A Polish soldier. One of the Koltubanowski s. Alongside the streets stood women and old people and they cried. There were two men who were Russian, on their horses attached to a sleigh on which the caskets laid and these two men buried the bodies in the rocky ground in these unbelievable, unimaginable terrible conditions for both Russians and Poles. The children ran after the sleighs to the cemetery and sometimes helped to bury the dead. We picked and drilled into the frozen ground the best we could with whatever we had. Presently, after a lapse of so many years to think of those times is truly morbid.How many of us children could be strong enough and courageous enough to prepare ourselves to survive this all?At the end of the narration of Maria Wasiliewna she said these words:For all the hardships and suffering for all those who knew Polish soldiers on this soil, God will never forget about them. May in their memory, they rest and sleep in peace. May God always shelter you!.Tell me Who stands and decides our destiny?It is a long winter night, as if a shadow by word of mouth is cast by a huge black bird and covers us in darkness. And thru this one finally sees the radiance of the first morning, cold, winter sun. A strong blizzard that smashed into the forest all night long has settled into a calm by morning.A new day begins.What was the hardest?To wake up from a dream .and then to regain consciousness. The most difficult was to accept and admit to ones situation of deportation. The sharp pain constantly reminded you that you were still alive. The mind started to think sadly. Without reason you suddenly start reliving in your mind memories that were nearly forgotten.Those distant, sunny, happy day you would want to remember now forever. Literally coloured dreams, joyful faces of those closest to you, wonderful people, women and childrens laughter are like fairytale echos and only such remembrances gave you the strength to be able to live and carry forward.Otherwise, merciless, pitiful realities.And memories, empoisoned with a venomous chimera, cruel with such terrible power that decides everything for everyone, charming people like a herd of cattle, sparing no one and destroying futures of millions.Why? What for?Suddenly memories surface through of faces of friends, dead from diseases and anguish in Soviet camps.Rattle these chains of bondage because one should ever forget! Freedom! Impossible?No, nothing is finished yet. . Next the trains are taking us to the Urals.Hope!She lived in each of us. One only had to survive this ..survive with the last piece of strength. Everyone thought about this how to escape from these senseless and unnecessary deaths. Here in the Koltubanowskim forests, so many turning days, every Polish soldier struggled against death. Not to fear dying in battle, not trying to keep himself protected from bullets or missiles, but feared falling from weakness due to exposure to cold and hunger. This invincible desire for life existed in each of us. To survive and struggle for ones freedom, and freedom for ones country, ones family, wife, children and elders. Where the strength came from, no one knew, but we laughed as we stared into the eyes of death.Memories of Petuchowej Lubow Iwanowny, resident of settlement Koltubanowka on Komsomolskiej Street .I was born in the settlement of Szirokowskiej. My parents Mielinkow Iwan Stiepanowicz and Maria Iwanowna, myself and my sister resided in Szirokowskim to 1957. In 1942 I was 15 years old. I remember at this time in our house we gave lodgings to Polish soldiers. Probably these were officers of Polish command because their uniforms were different. I remember that in our house there were a great deal of commanders. Often they came and sat at the table, they talked and tried to solve their many problems. At various times our settlement was visited by an important guest. We felt that everyone was very nervous, especially the Polish officers. When he came we didnt know who he was, but we heard of the arrival of this one very important Polish military commander, as they prepared themselves at Szyrokowskim for the visit. Later on we saw this man. I remember that he was very tall, built well, a man of great stature, good presence, and in a long military coat. They welcomed him with great honour. Later on we found out that this was Wladyslaw Sikorski.If we had only known then how important these memories would be to us.In those times, being juvenile we did not interfere in adult affairs and were not interested and didnt try to pay attention to conversations about the war, simply because we were busy playing. At that time we didnt know how much misfortune would befall our people with this war.Our household duties with my sister were preparing of food in the kitchen, and cleaning the house. We helped our mother, hauled in firewood, and washed the floors. I remember well how particular the Poles were about keeping the house clean. They respected our efforts to do this. I remember that they took off their boots almost on the street for they would never leave footprints on a clean floor. They were very tidy. Myself and my sister brought their boots into the house because it was so cold outside.I remember one Polish soldier named Kazimierz .Many times we had comical incidences. In the winter, the Poles celebrated some kind of special holiday. They had something to drink, some snacks, and the table was covered. They invited to the table my father Iwan Stiepanowicza. Come, Ivan, sit and drink with us!Father sat down and they filled the glasses( the Poles had little metal kieleszeks-glasses) Iwan thanked them, and left to lay himself down by the stove. The Poles looked at him in bewilderment and nudged each other with their elbows. Kazimierz stood up and went to the stove and asked:Iwan, what is wrong? Why dont you sit with us at the table? What didnt appeal to your taste?Father answered: You have to understand Kazimierzu, I am a Russian. I need a very large, polished glass to drink from, and from your little kieleszeks, I am not used to drinking.The Poles laughed out loud. Very well Iwan, we will pour a big glass for you!.I remember many times they sat till almost morning. My father in his youth served in the army under Wasyla Czapajewa. He talked a great deal about this war to the Poles. The way we lived in those days in our house, the Poles were one of our own people. They knew the whole family, cousins, relatives, called us by our given names and were very polite people. They helped us and we them. I remember when I went to their camp, when they asked for help, for jobs were plentiful for everyone. The main goal was just for everyone to survive, and after all the soldiers were very poorly supplied with food products and uniforms. We strived to help those that we could. The Poles geniously constructed themselves boots made from wood, strapped them to their legs, in an effort to try to keep the cold off.Lubow Iwanowna after so many years kept secret her memories of this time. She never spoke to anyone of what she remembered. Her son, Pietuchow Wladomir Petrowicz, only in the 1980s heard for the first time his mothers recount of her memories of her war years.Wladimir also told us when they were young boys in Szirokowskim, they often ran around to amuse themselves in the place where the Polish camp was once situated. He discovered many remnants of old army coats, rusty, metal pieces of bayonets, shells from bullets, and metal data boards with clear Polish text .When a relative was buried in Szirokowskom, and a grave was dug, they would sometimes come across an unexpected grave nearby of a soldier. These were recognized from the remnants of the military coats.Sixty years has passed since these days.What do you remember old forests? What secrets are concealed in your aged pines? Who remained here forever under your fallen leaves? Time runs by obliterating the footprints of affairs but the memories are alive. They live in the hearts of people passed down from one generation to another and we should always protect the testaments of people left for us by our ancestors.Memories Kisielowoj Walentyny Iwanowny, resident of settlement Koltubanowka, street Aktjubinska 55.My parents Lipiendiny Walentyna Wasilijiewa and Iwan Aleksiejewicz resided in the settlement of Szirowkowski during the war years until 1984. I was born after the war, but in my mind are distinctively hidden the memories of a 12 year old girl. This was 1967-68. As children we ran around and played in these places where during the war was situated the army camp. I remember our parents forbidding us to play there, even forbidding us to talk about what had once been there during the war. Questions about Poles were forbidden.Beside Szirokowskiego, a few kilometers away was another settlement with a few buildings named Kardon. To this place reached a section of the railine to Buzuluk-Koltubanowk a. It was here, that according to the words of old time residents, that was situated the first Polish camp and then later on in 1942-43, it accommodated Soviet military commanders, where they trained artillerymen. Therefore this place is still called Streilbiscie.I remember very well everything that remained hidden in those places of the military camps. There were old lodgings, ruined underground dugouts( ziemianki), but two of them remained upright. I remember I was told that after the war two families lived in these, but they were very ruined and we were to afraid to look inside in case the roof caved in on us. Children are children and the curiosity is greater than the fear. I remember in one of these underground huts, stood a round iron stove with a chimney that led out through the roof, a hidden wooden table and instead of chairs there round stumps made from wood, and wooden benches instead of beds.We discovered in these places a lot of old things once belonging to the soldiers. Old rusty bayonets, fragments of bullets, which in handfuls I brought home and my mother scolded me for doing this. Thats how we played as children and certainly these were toys for children left over from the war.Various times a train pulled into our station with night lodgings and I remember it being said that inside were baths and wagons with uniforms. Polish soldiers then received their new uniforms and the old torn ones they burned.These war years, certainly were difficult. My memories are tainted with bitterness toward these years. Hunger, cold, death and a terrible war! But forever in my life I will remember the eyes of these good people- the Polish soldiers.Memories of Saczuk Tamary PawlownyI, Saczuk Tamara Pawlona, lived in the settlement of Koltubanka during the war years. I was born in Koltubanka and lived here allmy life. During the time of the war I was 12 years old. I remember three Polish soldiers who were accommodated in our home. How they came here I dont remember, because so many years have passed, but I remember their names wee Polish. I do remember though how well they looked. All of them were not very tall, fair haired and blue eyes. My mother prepared meals for them. I dont think they were ordinary soldiers, but officers, because they were able to purchase products even sugar and meat which in those times were scarce. Always, always they invited us to their table. They shared with us practically everything they had, especially us children, who were always hungry. These are memories of magnificent, good people. They talked with us and I remember it was in Russian but definitely with strong Polish accents. I also remember they had very bad clothing and they suffered from the cold, winter weather. With my mother, we found them my dads old walonki(felt boots) and we gave them shawls, gloves and other things.Memories of Gorszkowej Wiery Konstantinowny resident of settlement Koltubanowka, street Weterynarnej.When the war started I was in fifth class. Our school was situated at that timeIn a building on Komsomalskiej street , but now it is an apartment building. The winter of 1941 they took us students into another school in the centre of the settlement and in our previous school they opened a military hospital for the sick and wounded. We were taught in three shifts, because there were so many students. In the settlement there were many educated. In eye distance from the school, in the centre of the settlement was a market and a wooden building. Later on the Poles who found themselves in Koltubanowce organized in this building a church. They furnished it with whatever was possible. They put up wooden benches and visited this place frequently to pray. From the school we could often see the Polish military. Many times we saw women. We thought they were different. They were tall, statuesque, beautiful, very well and fashionably dressed. We assumed they were wives of the Polish militarymen who came to their husbands in Koltubankow. Later they came to pray in the church with their husbands. Looking back at this, there was a war, there was hunger, they had no proper footwear or clothingPolish soldiers in Koltubanowce had very poor conditions and they suffered misery, but they never forgot about their religion or the traditions of their nation.Antoni Grabowski-The fate of the Polish SoldierThe memories of Grabskiego Antonio Wikientiewicza.I was born in the village of Butki , district Leczyczki, province Lodz , on the family farm. on September 16, 1913, of Polish descent. Early on in life I was orphaned and worked as hired help, pastured cattle, and chopped wood. When I was a bit older , maybe 9 years old, a landlord took me to his place to work as a shepherd. After that worked as a bricklayer.In 1939, Germany invaded Poland . There were a great deal of refugees and they packed us into wagoms and sent us to Kami in ZSSR.When they decided to organize the Polish army, they brought us to Buzuluk and opened a medical commission, which I never passed and so went to work for the station in Koltobanowka where they prepared guns, until the end of the war. Many Poles worked with me because they were mobilized just like I was. The mobilized Poles came to Koltubanowki in the spring of 1941. They brought them here to clear the forests, from which tree logs were later turned into boards. In Koltubanoce was a clearing station for logs and the boards were shipped on wagons from here wherever they were needed. They clothing was very poor and food was given to them at work. They still had to build a bridge on the river Borowska, on which the logs were transported. In the time the army was being formed we helped however we could so that the Poles could establish their division. We gave up bonds and money. We went to the Polish Embassy in Samary (at that time Kujbyszew)and often they helped us as much as they could. I received military boots and a cap . I left Kujbyszewa in boots, not barefoot.They mobilized systematically and on Sundays they went to church to pray. One time an old grandmother gave me a Polish cross, because she had given accommodations to Poles and they left her the cross. By the summer of 1942 there were no Poles left in Koltubanowce.It happened that Antoni Wikientiewicz Grabski , citizen of Poland , soldier of Anders army, remained in Koltubanowce and spent here the rest of his life. In memory of his widow Jefrosini Iwanowny and daughter Walentyny he was a good, kind and caring husband and father. They always lived well, worked, looked after their own home, and everything he had he owed thanks to his hard work.By the end of the war Antoni worked in the forests where he remained until he retired. He was awarded many medals.This is how destiny flowed for Polish soldiers in a Russian settlement. His life was an example of a proud, conscientious worker and a generous, sincere man.Memory of FlowersIn our Koltubanowskim forests, spring blossoms reach out to the light of sunshine through the snow. The flowers called Anemone (sasanki) are a strange and unusual flower. Their frail sprouts poke thru to the sunlight where in the forests there is still snow on the ground.How much heroisim and strength resides in these petals?They bloom every spring, spreading their turquoise buds on clearings in the forests and river edges, as if to preserve the memory of these heroic people, who so many years ago, here in this place, defied every severe misery but endured.They overcame everything humanly possible, and defeated deadly diseases.May the warmth of their hearts melt the snow that covers them.Courageous heroes of those distant days, where are you now?Who will tell us?Maybe some of you remained here forever and dream eternally under the calm noise of the pines and birches and under the song of the birds. And someone else perhaps finished his path in a distant, Italian town named Monte - Cassino .There under blue and bright skies, on sunny plains, a warm wind cradles the crimson poppies.Poppies are the color of blood, their blossoms embedded with memories of defeat of this cruel war, in which fell to ground the brave Polish soldiers. How difficult and tragic was your long march which started out on Ko³tubanowskiej soil. ...Many times in the spring days of May, a fair-haired, blue-eyed boy with his delicate little childs hand lays a bouquet of flowers from blooms on a cold marble slab.And playfully, quickly like a wind he will run away somewhere to his happy country of childhood.Who knows, in such a moment maybe it is not so bad to die ..
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Thank you so much for this. It is very humbling to read it and I am very grateful for all your hard work in tranlating it. At home I have a book called MyMessage 1 of 4 , Mar 1, 2007View SourceThank you so much for this. It is very humbling to read it and I am very grateful for all your hard work in tranlating it.At home I have a book called My Deportowami, which I purchased 12 years ago in Poland, in the vain hope I could read the accounts given there one day by seven diferent writers. Has anyone read this book?Should I scan some of the sections in it? The one I particularly wanted to read was about Kazakhstan. The whole book is too long - 245 pages.Louise BłażejowskaSydney, Australia
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