“There was a phenomenal library in “Prosvita” when they came in nineteen thirty eight. By the way, there was also Mykola Duzhyi’s big library, who worked as a secretary. It was his personal library, because he did not have a place to live. He was such an admirer. He gave every single book that he bought to “Prosvita”. He had a huge library. So when they came in nineteen thirty eight (imagine what level of barbarity it was, I just can not comprehend it) they brought all the books to the courtyard of “Prosvita”. There they started a fire and threw books in it. A woman who was working there, her husband worked there – he lit the stove, cleaned reading rooms in “Prosvita”. There was a book published – The Ostroh Bible. By the way, the Ostroh Bible is still available nowadays. And the one who was burning books took it. He saw that it was a holy book: “Here, granny, this one is holy. Read, read!” And that’s how a single copy of the Ostroh Bible was saved. It was published in 1572”.
- Museum "Territory of Terror" |
- Witnesses |
Mariya Duzha (Makohon) (1925)
Mariya was born on February 2nd, 1925, in the village of Rechychany, Lviv province (now Horodok district, Lviv region). In 1928 she moved with her parents to Lviv. She studied at Lviv elementary school named after M. Shashkevych. In 1937 she entered Ivanna and Illya Kokorudza’s gymnasium “Ridna shkola”. Mariya was a member of an organization “Sokil-Batko”. She joined the OUN in 1942. In 1944 she got married to Volodymyr Panas (died in 1953). Mariya was arrested by official bodies of the Ministry of Home Affairs on November 2nd, 1948. She was kept in the prison “on Lontskoho Street” in Lviv. According to the decision of the Special counsel of the Ministry of Home Affairs of the USSR, signed on June 8th, 1949, she was sentenced according to the article 54.1 “a” of the Criminal Codex of the Ukrainian SSR (“treason”) and according to the article 54.11 (“participation in a counter-revolutionary organization) to 10 years of imprisonment. Mariya served her sentence in GULAG camps in Kolyma. She was released in 1956. She was not allowed to be registered in Lviv, thus, in 1957-1964 she lived in Vorkuta (The Komi Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic). In 1964 she came back to Lviv. In 1965 Mariya got married to a former political prisoner Petro Duzhyi. In 1966 she received a qualification of an “accountant” at the Central statistical department. Nowadays Mariya lives in Lviv.
The Bolsheviks burn down the library of the “Prosvita” society, 1939
Situation with food in the prison “on Lontskoho Street”, 1949
“I had not received a single package while I was kept in the prison “on Lontskoho Street”. Receiving packages was prohibited for me. I ate only what they gave me in the prison. I ate only that horrible soup that smelled so bad that as soon as it was brought to the corridor one could smell its stink. It was made of rotten fish and unpeeled potatoes. It was horrible. I could not eat it. Girls who were kept in common cells could get some food from cell-mates who received packages. But I was by myself. That food and that water were all I had. They didn’t give us any sugar. It was called tea: water of a color I can’t even describe. And then some soup and porridge (millet meal). But millet porridge is usually yellow, and ours was grey and horrible. I could eat only a spoonful or two of that porridge from time to time. But I couldn’t eat the soup. It smelled horrible. Made from rotten fish. You can imagine.”
Conditions in a camp near Magadan, 1949.
“A tent was extremely long, about twenty metres, maybe even more. It was made out of black tent cloth; it was a very long tent. The tent had a door and it was upholstered with wooden boards. We entered: plank beds were on both sides. Of course, they had only one level, because obviously it was impossible to have a two-leveled plank bed in a tent. Instead of wooden boards there were round timbers, about the size of my arm. They were rough-hewed, did not have any knags. There were no mattresses. They gave us sacks, ‘Girls, fill those sacks with leafs’. I told him, ‘What leafs?’ Everything was covered with snow! It was the fifth of October. And it was Magadan. They gave us padded jackets. They gave us pants, but you can imagine how worn-out they were.”