“ – Do you remember how you were transported there? – I remember. I remember very well… We could take with us only what we could hold in our hands. What can we hold? We had horses, cows, pigs, hens, and ducks. We had everything because we lived from it. But they wouldn’t let us take anything with us. Just a little bit of bread and that’s all. That’s why we always struggled. On that day we got to the village Aremyany (it was a little village in the woods). I remember that we have gone through some hard times. I can’t even think of everything we went through. Trust me… once a horse died on a collective farm. My father went and took some meat of that horse and brought it home. My mom washed it, then boiled and baked it. And we ate it. And we survived.”
Stefaniya Susol (1926)
Stefaniya was born in 1926 in the village of Perevolochna, Lviv province (now Busk district, Lviv region). In 1930 her family moved to the village of Krasne, Busk district. She studied at Krasne secondary school until the 5th grade. On May 22nd, 1941, Stefaniya’s family was deported to Siberia (Omsk region, Tobolsk district). In 1945 after the amnesty together with her parents Stefaniya came back to Ukraine. She lived in the village of Krasne. In 1947 her parents were deported to Siberia for the second time. Stefaniya lived in Lviv, where she worked at a sewing factory. She was arrested on January 20th, 1950. She was kept in prisons “on Lontskoho Street” (cell #20) and in the Zolochiv prison. Stefaniya was sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment that she served in the town of Yavas (Mordoviya). After the release in 1956 she came back to Ukraine. Nowadays Stefaniya lives in Lviv.
Deportation to Siberia, 1941
In the prison “on Lontskoho Street”, 1950
“-Please tell us more about your stay in the prison “on Lontskoho Street.” – I was there with Lyuba Zrada, Melasya Branets from Zhovkva, Kuka’s mom… We were thrown into solitary cells. And they often sent their people to those who were in solitary cells. They probably had an agreement. Sometimes they could even help. I remember when an interrogator told me, ‘If you don’t confess, tomorrow you will be thrown into a punishment-cell.’ I came back to the cell and was crying because they demanded from me to confess what I hadn’t done. There were things that I could not say because I might cause harm to innocent people. So I refused. Come what may. I cannot confess to what I haven’t done. And before that this woman was released. And after she came from an interrogator I was brought in. I guessed that she was probably witnessing against me. She told me, ‘Do not let them torture you. You are young. You will endure everything. They will deport you and will find you a work to do. And you will have a life. And you will have everything. But if you don’t confess they will punish you, they will destroy you, they will take away your life’. I said, “Come what may, but I cannot lie.”
An incident in the town of Yavas, the beginning of the 1950s
“There was one incident that I can compare with death. Two brigades were taken to the woods. Every convoy had its own brigade. But it was cold and snowing. We had a few layers of clothes on us. When they brought us there they said, ‘We warn you: at a first attempt to run away we will shoot at you.’ We were in the woods. The convoy lined up the brigade. I tripped over and all of a sudden I noticed that I was by myself. There was no brigade. I understood everything. I went to find the brigade. He told me, ‘Take ten steps towards me; move away from the brigade’. And he “warned” me that I made an attempt to run away, that I detached from the brigade. He treated it as escape and had a right to shoot me. I made a step forward. Girls started crying and praying. I was completely still at that moment. I thought, ‘Well, now I will fall down.” At that moment a dog ran towards me. When he saw the dog he told me, ‘Go stand with everyone in a line!” And on the second day we had another convoy and we asked, ‘Who was that?’ He said, ‘You are lucky that you were saved by that inspector. You would have been shot.”