1. Personal data:

Platoon Leader Józef Kuczer, factory laborer, born in 1905, married.

2. Methods of interrogating and torturing the arrestee during investigation:

I was interrogated by the NKVD operating in the prison in Stanisławów. The following methods were used:
a) they promised to release me if I told them the “truth”;
b) they threatened me with capital punishment, long-term imprisonment, deportation of my family etc.;
c) they took advantage of the fact that I didn’t speak any Russian;
d) they tortured me: I was incarcerated for 48 hours in the punishment cell (a cellar with a concrete floor) wearing only my underwear, although it was in November of 1940; I was also beaten: I was ordered to sit at the edge of a chair with my legs straight and put my hands on my legs. They kicked the chair, and I toppled to the ground, and then they proceeded to beat me with a leg of the chair and kick me until I turned black and blue.

3. Court procedure, delivering of the verdict:

I was served with the indictment, written on a dozen or so pages of official foolscap, 15 or 30 minutes before the trial. I was accused of membership in a secret Polish military organization. In order to prove my “guilt”, my co-defendant, Stanisław aka Franciszek Matjasz, a member of that organization, was questioned. The verdict was delivered an hour after the end of the trial. I don’t have a copy of the verdict.

6. Life in the forced labor camps, camp organization and work quotas:

a) place and grounds: Sverdlovsk Oblast, Ivdel Region; taiga, marshes, swamps with swarms of mosquitoes in spring, and later of virulent midges. b) living conditions: We lived in a wooden barrack, ill-made and hence very drafty; we slept on pallets, without mattresses or blankets. There were 200 prisoners in one barrack and only one iron stove. We had to use our own clothes as bedding.

c) food: My principal meal was 300 grams of wholemeal bread, as I wasn’t able to earn more. In addition, I received half a liter of soup made from wholemeal flour or hulled oat grains. The meals didn’t contain any fat, and usually also no salt. d) working conditions: We worked in swamps, peat bogs, in the forest, in snow, during frosts (the lowest temperature during which I had to work was minus 54 degrees), torrential rains, spring thaws etc. During the period of over eight months I had two days off for rest. We worked usually at night, but even though the conditions were worse (due to the darkness) we had to do the same amount of work as during the day. The conditions were most difficult in spring, when billions of mosquitoes bit us so horribly that I was often swollen and covered in blood. Very often, when I didn’t meet the minimum work quota, I was incarcerated in the punishment cell: I was stripped to my underwear and placed in a shack that wasn’t heated, even though the temperature was minus several dozen degrees. It was impossible to sleep in such conditions, but on the next day you were driven to work and expected to meet 100 percent of the work quota. e) work quotas: By way of example, to meet 100 percent of the quota you had to: cut down 7 cubic meters of wood, chop off the branches, saw it into logs of appropriate size and take the branches 80 meters away; make 68 cross ties (cut off the treetops, remove the bark and knots and arrange the ties in a pile).
f) clothing conditions: I didn’t receive any underwear or trousers. I did, however, get a padded jacket, shoes made of cloth and high boots made of bast, and a quilted cap with ear flaps. g) composition of prisoners: Varied in terms of nationality, intellectual and cultural standing, as well as types of crimes committed. Apart from Polish citizens, there were many so-called counter-revolutionaries, calm but very determined people who had given up on regaining freedom. The remaining prisoners were common criminals with no morals, no scruples, no conscience, no regard for private property, whose sole aim in life was to cause suffering, commit crimes, steal hard-earned bread, and appropriate all the property of another.
h) hygienic and sanitary conditions: The following example best illustrates how the sanitary assistance looked: at the beginning of August 1941, I cut my leg with an ax during work. The wound was 4–5 centimeters long and up to a centimeter and a half deep. I got three days off on account of my wound, and when the wound began to heal and thus became bothersome, I was driven out to work. There was nothing except for iodine and some acid. Only those who ran a fever of over 38 degrees were exempted from work. Since we didn’t take baths often enough, lice were rife. In some periods the lice infestation assumed horrifying proportions. Bugs, filth, various insects and rats were all constant companions. i) working hours: From 6.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m.
k) diversions and cultural life: None.
l) contact with the home country: I received two letters from my wife and one food parcel. m) the attitude of the authorities supervising Poles: Unfavorable, very often provocative. n) remuneration: I didn’t earn anything during the whole period of my stay in the camps. o) Communist propaganda: There wasn’t any.
m) mortality at the camp: High, approximately 5 percent of those present per month.

7. Prison life: From 4 June to 20 November 1940 I was incarcerated in the prison in Stanisławów.

a) living conditions: Very bad. The cells were overcrowded, dirty, infested with lice and bugs, and never aired; we had to relieve ourselves in the cells even though the sewage system was out of commission. There was damp and mold, we didn’t have enough walks, it was forbidden to open the windows, which were boarded up anyway (with stepped planks, so you couldn’t see anything except for a patch of sky at the top); as a result, the air was poisonous and we often suffered from headaches. b) food, hygienic and sanitary conditions: Similar to those in the labor camps. c) composition of prisoners: Varied – regardless of nationality and category of crime.