Czesława Okoń, senior volunteer, 23 years old, office worker.

On 19 June 1941, my family and I were deported to the USSR territory, to Sibir, to Barnaul in Altajská Oblast [Altai Krai]. My brother, who had been arrested, was the reason why we were deported. He was a member of a secret organization.

The housing and sanitary conditions in Barnaul were awful. Poles, Jews, Ruthenians and Lithuanians were placed there. Mutual relations were good, but the Russians [Ruthenians?] had a negative attitude because the NKVD pitted them against us. The result of this negative attitude was frequent inspections, the destroying of Polish books and frequent arrests.

Work was very hard, and there was little remuneration. I was working on the construction of roads, houses etc. That’s how I made a living for my family. My income, though, wasn’t enough. I was forced to sell the last pieces of clothes we had to keep my family alive.

The authorities’ attitude toward us was hostile. They were spreading malevolent propaganda.

Medical assistance was sufficient, but we experienced a shortage when it came to medicines.

We had contact with our family until the outbreak of the German-Russian war.

After the amnesty, I headed South. In 1942 I joined the Polish Army in Kermine.

3 March 1943