Several months ago I received a email from Irene Czernichowska from the
Hoover Institute (Stanford University) regarding a handwritten testimony
(Ankieta) of my father that was found at the Institute. She forwarded a
copy to me and I have finally had it translated. I thought about
whether or not I should write anything about this. If I used my father
(and other Poles I've known) as an example of what to do, I might have
just been quiet. I never knew how quiet Poles have been until
recently. And I don't think I'm alone in that. So I made up my mind to
let others know, perhaps it might help someone. And in any event I
believe that others should not forget what happened to so many people.
Before I go on I want to thank Irene personally for this. Thank you, you
have opened a door that I didn't know about. And I want to repeat how
grateful I am to all the listers who go out of the way to help others.
The 'Ankieta' which means, I think, questionaire or public opinion poll
seems to me more of a statement. In this Ankieta my father told of the
events which happened around October 1939 in his village - Bortkiewicze,
in Oszmiana District in the province of Wilno. I believe this statement
was made by my father during his discharge process after the war, but
I'm not yet certain.
I am paraphrasing the letter rather than quoting verbatim.
...On September 17, 1939 the Red Army entered my locality and
immidiately started to organize the communal council and militia. Only
local residents with Bielorussian nationality and communist sympathies
volunteered, some of them with criminal records for belonging to
Provisional authority has given orders to return all arms and to pay
taxes. In my locality the soviets expropriated the the land of of the
bigger estate owners and deported them to unknown location.
Messrs Bartkiewicz, Jozef and Kundziewicz, Jan were arrested because
they were in possession of double-barrel rifle and revolver.
At every cost the provisional authority tried to convince the locals
that only in a communist system could citizens really be free.
Agitators, organized for this reason, were used to push this message
during meetings. The soviets felt they are the saviours of the
population living in the Eastern Borderlands. In a short time the
character of the meetings changed and they were supposed to prepare the
population for a referendum, but what the referendum was about nobody
knew. Only Bielorussians with communist sympathies were favourably
disposed toward this action. The rest of the population were attending
the meetings out of fear of deportation if they resisted.
The Referendum was led by local communist activist of Bielorussian
nationality. Rest of the active members were of the same nationality
For the voting the electors were getting already filled-out cards which
they had to put in the urn. Because he refused to vote, Lucjan
Chmielewski of Piekosze village, district Oszmiana was arrested.
The referendum in the occupied territories about annexation to Soviet
Union was never conducted.
Maybe the names my father mentioned will be recognized by someone.
Has anybody else seen a similiar report?
Does it mean anything to us (dispersed Poles) or to the present Polish
government that there was no referendum?