‘Ukrainians even committed acts of sabotage by setting haystacks, owned by Poles, on fire and so on, since Poles had placed a lot of Masurian settlers here. They took away the lands of landlords, so here they settled and lived. What about the settlers? Poles acted like Bolsheviks did. We, Ukrainians, didn’t appreciate that. That’s why the UVO (the Ukrainian Military Organization – translator) opposed that fiercely and began their action. And Poles launched the pacification because of the settlers’ haystacks burning. The Minister of Internal Affairs ordered to launch the pacification. And our boys murdered the Minister of Inner Affairs for it. For it, for the pacification. – Do you remember how the pacification was going on? – Yes. It wasn’t happening in Zolochiv. The pacification took place in villages. The pacification was carried out that way: a lorry stuffed with Polish soldiers came into a village; they unloaded and headed to a reading hall. They ran into the reading hall, destroyed the whole library, crashed and scattered shelves and everything else. They did so there to prevent us… They even arrested active working children. Such things happened. And our people operated this way: they cut telegraph poles or set some landowners’ haystacks on fire. That was the UVO working, the Ukrainian Military...
Yevhen Prots (1915)
He was born on January 21st, 1915, in the town of Zolochiv, Lviv province (now Zolochiv district, Lviv region). Yevhen graduated from Polish primary and secondary schools, and later he became a tailor by profession. He was an active participant of Ukrainian societies, a reading hall of ‘Prosvita’ and ‘Sokil’ sports society in particular. He was recruited to the Soviet army twice, where he served in the artillery. Yevhen was taken into German captivity after the Red Army’s defeat in the Battle of Kyiv in September 1941. After he had been recruited to the Red Army for the second time, his leg was wounded. Yevhen was staying in Czechoslovakia during the end of the war. He came back to Zolochiv, where he used to help Ukrainian insurgents, since his brother was in the UPA. He used to provide the UPA units with medicaments, and he was detained for that. In 1947, Yevhen was sentenced to 10 years of the Gulag forced labour camps. He was kept in prison in the town of Zolochiv, and in some prisons in the city of Lviv (the Zamarstyniv prison and the ‘Brygidky’ prison). He was convoyed to Krasnoyarsk from there. Yevhen served his term in the city of Norilsk, where he took part in the Norilsk rebellion. After being discharged, he came back to Zolochiv together with his parents, where he lives now.
The pacification in Galicia, the 1930s
Soviet soldiers pillaging, 1944
‘We were fed not too badly on the front. Why? Because, for example, our gunned vehicle arrived at some village. We entered a household. I looked and saw a pig. We slaughtered the pig at once, cut off some ham, put it into the vehicle and drove farther. We had left the pig behind for its owners. That’s what we used to do to feed ourselves. In some cases, we came into a hut, and nobody was there, but everything was: peeled grains, and flour, and bread – everything, because the owners escaped westwards from Bolsheviks. That was exactly what Bolsheviks wanted: to take everything away and scatter later. Bolsheviks damaged severely the shops they entered. You know, there in Poland or in Germany… Yes, it was later in Germany, when they damaged severely those German shops. For example, they opened manufacturing shops and threw that drapery out into the street, and covered pavements with those new drapery. And then they went into a shoe shop, took out those shoes, made them unpaired, and scattered it even outside. I said, ‘It’s a pity to damage so.’ – ‘Well, we are doing it to prevent them from coming to us once more.’ They damaged everything German there. I thought to myself, ‘What if take some drapery so that Mum could make some clothes for children, or some shoes. The shoes are fine’. But they untied all the shoes in order to make it unpaired. They did harm on purpose. – Were vodka or spirits given on the front, or that never happened? – We were given some spirits when the war ended. I was still… I was still undergoing some medical treatment. Indeed, in the building where I was undergoing some medical treatment, we were summoned at a table, and each received a cup of spirits to celebrate the end of the war. It’s clear that I do not drink any spirits and I have almost never done it, but there everyone was slightly dissolute, so, perhaps, I drunk a bit, because we were given meat and everything else. Everything was there.’
The way to Norilsk and labour in the camp #4, late 1940s
‘I got to Norilsk that way: I was arrested and kept in the Zamarsyniv prison, and then I was moved to the ‘Brygidky’ prison, and from there I was convoyed as far as to Krasnoyarsk. I was among the group of prisoners on the train. We went to Krasnoyarsk on that train, and there we were told, ‘We are changing. We are taking a barge to the White Ocean, to Dudinka.’ And we went in the barge up to Dudinka. We unloaded there and went to Norilsk by narrow-gauge railway. That’s how I traveled as far as to Norilsk. In Norilsk, I was equipped: I was given half a metre long old patched up valenki, a Japanese cap, covered with blood (maybe, the Japanese had been murdered); I was also given a pea jacket, and a padded jacket. And the large inscription ‘ZH-037’ was written in oil on my padded jacket. That was my prison number. ‘ZH-037’ was written on my pea-jacket, on my cap and here on my knees in order to prevent me from disappearing, because it would be a pity. So that’s how I was registered officially. They gave me more things later… some large long Japanese gloves. And on the next day, I went to work. I was digging permafrost. Permafrost is dug, because no building would stand on it. If a house is built on permafrost, it will fall to pieces due to the effect of heat. That permafrost will melt, and a house will fall to pieces. That’s why it was necessary to dig foundation ditches, one metre in width and length, at a depth of the rock. And the rock was solid, and only then some formworks were made. So that all was underpoured and some really high poles were made, held up by that cement. It all dried, and then cross-beams were made, those cement beams. After that the houses were built on the beams. So that’s where those two- and three-storeyed houses were built. If they had been built on that permafrost, they would have fallen. So that was our work. We extracted all that, reached some rock, took all that out. We had enough work.’