‘I knew that there was a house by the road near Yamelna. Someone started to shoot from that house, using an MP (a type of submachine gun – editor). I could make out the sound of that MP. As they started to shoot, the first man was walking in front of me, and the second was behind me. The front man was smoking a rustic tobacco and it was even sparkling. And suddenly someone started to fire submachine guns. The man in front of me fell; the man behind me fell, too. I fell to earth as well. However, I was watching what was going on. They were running straight to me. Not to the men in front and behind, but straight to me. And immediately, ‘Stand up! Stand up quickly!’ In Ukrainian, ‘Stand up quickly! Go with us!’ I stood up and started walking. So where shall I go? They were walking through the grain field. – ‘Here, take a gun!’ It seemed that Bolsheviks attacked and I was going to defend myself with it. ‘I can’t fire it. I don’t know how,’ I said. – ‘Take some bread, then!’ The loaf was large. I said, ‘Give me the loaf.’ I took it under my arm. And that’s how they were leading me up to a kryivka.’
Ivan Hul (1931)
He was born in 1931 in the village of Dobrostany, Lviv province (now Yavoriv district of Lviv region). In 1936–1939 he studied at a local Polish primary school. In 1939–1943 he attended secondary school. In October 1948 he was arrested. He was suspected of killing two NKVD officers. Ivan was on remand in Lviv prisons ‘on Lontskoho Street’ and ‘Brygidky’. He was sentenced according to the article 54, part 1 ‘a’, part 8, and part 11 (‘treason’, ‘terrorism’, and ‘participation in counterrevolutionary activities’) of the Criminal Codex of the Ukrainian SSR to 10 years of deprivation of freedom. Ivan was convoyed to work camps of Krasnoyarsk. Then he was transported to Norilsk. Ivan was discharged in 1953. He was kept at a special settlement in the city of Krasnoyarsk up to 1956, and he came back to Ukraine afterwards. Ivan lives in Lviv.
Provocative Action ‘Barrel’ (part 1), 1948
Provocative Action ‘Barrel’ (part 2), 1948
‘Come on! Clamber into the kryivka!’ I groped the hole with my feet and clambered down to get inside. As I entered, I saw a small table with loads of leaflets. He took one which said, ‘Death to Stalin!’ and so on. I looked. But I said nothing. After that interrogation began, ‘What had you been arrested for?’ And so on.’
Board in work camps of Norilsk, early 1950s
‘They used to give us one kilogram of bread to each person on a list. And what? In that prison you walk barely ten metres away with a loaf of rye bread – and it vanishes. And nothing more. Well, porridge. They used to give us porridge. So I welded a cauldron of a pipe. I welded the bottom to the wire. I took some porridge, poured some water, made such stuff. Sat near the cauldron, ate. My stomach was full, but I still was hungry.’