Stepan Mazurok (1922)
He was born on January 7, 1922, in the village of Konyushkiv, Ternopil province (now Brody district, Lviv region). He graduated from a local Polish 4-year school. Stepan was a member of a local centre of the ‘Luh’ Youth Sports Society, which existed till 1939. In the winter of 1939, he was forcibly conscripted into the Red Army together with his elder brother Vasyl. Stepan had a 6-month military training. After its end, he fought in the 10th artillery corps of the break-through of the 1st Ukrainian Front. He took part in the Sandomierz–Silesian Offensive, which was being conducted from January 12 to February 3, 1945. After the action had ended, Stepan came back to his native village. In the autumn of 1947, he was arrested and placed into the Lviv NKVD prison # 1 ‘on Lontskoho Street’ because Sapshyn, a Captain of the Ministry of State Security from Brody, informed against him for refusing to cooperate with the Soviet security service. He was kept in prison for more than a year; later on, he was discharged because of the lack of evidence. Since 1949, Stepan has been living in the village of Konyushkiv.
The relationship between soldiers of the Red Army at the Front, 1944–1945
Staying in the prison ‘on Lontskoho Street’, 1947
‘How did they transport you to the prison ‘on Lonskoho Street’?’ – In a railroad car. Behind bars. There was a post in the aisle. We arrived. A prison car had been already waiting for me. They placed me inside and took me to the prison ‘on Lontskoho Street’. I suffered there. I thought I would meet my end there. The prisoner has the witness. They beat him less. But I had no witness; they had taken me away for no particular reason. That Sapshyn wanted to teach me a lesson. To have a witness, they had to beat him out, because they had to have some proofs. They needed one to name a witness from memory at least, because a Moscow ‘troika’ judged. A Moscow ‘troika’ judged according to the documents made up by investigators. Those documents were delivered to a Moscow ‘troika’. And a Moscow ‘troika’ sentenced people to 10–15 years of staying far away in Siberia. I saw that my health was poor. It meant that I could possibly not endure staying in Siberia. I gave no witness to them. And a Moscow ‘troika’ didn’t judge if there were no documents. And they didn’t give the documents to the ‘troika, because there was no witness, and none of the documents was signed. They would be beating me all night long. In the end, they would give me a document to sign. I signed nothing at all. – To which cell of the prison ‘on Lontskoho Street’ did they put you? – They put me into the cell situated at the lowest level right away. There were up to 15 people on the ground. The wall here, the wall there and no space to pass, and the close-stool near the threshold. The worst things used to happen at eleven o’clock, when everybody was about to fall asleep. Everyone lied down. Then you hear them coming. They hammered on one door, and then on another one. They came and opened the feeder (a special window which is used to pass food – translator) and said, nearly whispering, ‘Letter M.’ And I’m Mazurok, and my surname starts with M. I was silent, because there were four of us. Musiy was silent. There was Mukha. I have forgotten the fourth man’s surname. Mukha was silent. So I said, ‘Mazurok.’ – ‘Go out!’ We had to go in a shirt, because if you were dressed a little, they beat you, and it was less… I was just in a shirt. They beat me so severely, that two sergeants dragged me back into the cell. I was unconscious. They put a cold wet towel on me.’
Interrogations in the prison ‘on Lontskoho Street, 1947
‘There was a high thing rising in the corner of the interrogation room. The thing was faced with ceramic tile. Its forth corner was free. He made me sit down. I’ll show you. He made me sit this way and said, ‘Stretch your legs.’ – I stretched my legs. – ‘Why so far? Move closer, quick, closer.’ And he made me sit, my coccyx on the corner of the thing. Closer. And it was really slippery due to the ceramic tile. So I slithered down; the corner scratched my coccyx and my body near it. For the first time, you can bear it, but for the second you won’t, and after the third time you have a wound. – Had they built it especially for doing this? – It was something... I don’t know what it had been made for. It had some white ceramic tile and the corner like that. And my legs moved apart, apart. And the wider, the farther… And then he pushes me down, and my coccyx… For the first time, you bear it; for the second time, and after the third time it reaches your flesh and you yell.’