“And then the Soviets came. The 17th was a sad day, and on the 22nd, on my Birthday, they came to Lviv. They were coming from Lychakivska street. A few days before Polish government, Lviv government and military officials agreed with Russians, with the Soviets, and so they came from there. I saw them. I didn’t see them while they were coming. I saw them later, because our father wouldn’t let us go before. They were dressed very poorly, not like ours. Our soldiers were better dressed than them. An acquaintance of mine was protesting that this is not true. But unfortunately, it is true that they were poorly dressed and exhausted. I don’t think they were hungry, on their way they ate everything they could find. So did the Germans. We hardly had anything left in Lviv, lines were everywhere. Later it was very hard to find bread. There was always a line near bakery. When they came, they unearthed everything. Clothes, shoes, hats. Because they didn’t have what we had. We lived in European city. We could find everything we needed in the stores. They didn’t have all this, that’s why they bought it here. Later they just took everything they needed without paying the money. They even got our apartments”.
Bohuslava Chorna (Bryla) (1922)
She was born on September 22nd, 1922 in Lviv. She studied at the private school named after S. Konarskyy. From 1935 she studied at the Queen Yadviha gymnasium. In 1939-1940 she worked for tramway depot. On April 14th, 1940, together with her family she was deported to Kazakhstan. From April 30th, 1940 she lived in settlement in village Baradulikha, Belyahachiv district, Semypalatyn region (Kazakhstan). In 1944 she married Mykola Chornyy and came back from the exile. In June 1944 she moved to Kherson. Later she moved to Ivano-Frankivsk, where she worked as laboratory assistance in Medical Institute. In 1954 she came back to Lviv, where she lives nowadays.
Deportation to Kazakhstan, 1940
“They came at night, at one or two o’clock. There were three of them: one was in civil clothes, the other one was from the NKVD, and the third one was a policeman from Lviv. I don’t know whether he was from Ukraine or from Poland. The policeman told me: “Lady, why are you sitting?” My mom was sitting in the room crying, I was in the kitchen. – “Why are sitting? We take you not to the prison, but you’re going to be sent into exile. Everything will come in handy there. Take what you can.” I told him: “What can I take? Only a small bag of bread probably”. He said: “Not just that. Take suitcases, take bed sheets, blankets. You will be transported in wagons; we will drive you to them. You’re not going to walk. The car is waiting outside. A big truck.” They put us in those wagons at about four o’clock in the morning. It was almost dawn when we reached train station. We were lucky that it was the second deportation, not the first. Because half of the people from that first deportation did not reach their destination. It was freezing cold; there was no heating inside those wagons. These wagons were for beasts, not for people. There in the middle of the wagon, or maybe not too much in the middle, but closer to one of the doors, there was a hole that we were supposed to use as a toilet. Guys somehow hang some pieces of clothing around it… My mom and I gave them our old sheet, someone else gave a blanket, and this way we covered it a little bit. Because we are not beasts, we are not cows or horses.
Life in exile in Kazakhstan, 1940-1944
“There was nothing to buy in their stores. Only porridge, peas, matches, vodka, tea. But they used to run out of tea very fast where we lived. When we had tea, there always was a line. Why? Because Kazakhs drink very strong tea. He can put half of the tea package in the tea pot and drink it like that… Kazakhs felt good only when they were drinking this tea. Really, without this tea they would get headache they were so used to it. My mom and I were standing in the line to buy this tea. This tea was sold in bars, just like chocolate. Sometimes we could buy this tea in packages. My mom and I would stand in the line, buy this tea and then exchange it for something. We could exchange it for half of a lamb, or some butter. We didn’t take meat from them, because those Kazakhs are very dirty. For example, we lived in the Kazakh hut. Kazakh with his wife were on one bed, my mom and I – on the other. Fortunately, they didn’t have any children. They ate on the floor at the small table. Later they had a few stools and a big table. My mom and I, of course, didn’t eat on the floor, but we were sitting at the table.”
Work in the exile in Kazakhstan, 1940-1944
“I was working. I was bringing milk to the milk factory. I worked at the hairdresser’s, I also worked at “pimokatnya”, where they made valenki (very warm winter boots)… It smelled awful in there…because sheep’s wool was manufactured with hydrochloric acid. So the smell was horrible. I didn’t work long there and quit. In front of this “pimokatnya” there was a canteen. And one waiter from there was on maternity leave. So I went to work there instead of her. I didn’t work there for a long time either, because people would leave without paying me. My mom and I sold some things to bring back the money I lost. Later I worked at the butter factory. I harnessed a horse and brought milk to the factory. There was an accountant, Ivan Kononovich, from Poltava. He told me: “Honey, is this work for you? I need a book keeper”. I asked him: “What do I need to do?” He said: “Do you know how to use an abacus?” I answered that I knew how to use it because they taught us at school. And he replied in broken Russian that he would teach me some more.”