Olga Vidlovskaia

 

Olga Vidlovskaia was born in Ihrowica near Ternopil, then in Poland, now Ihrovytsya, western Ukraine, in 1920. She was arrested in 1944 because her husband had fled into the forest to avoid conscription into the Russian army and was killed there. She was sent to prison with her two small children. Her mother and sister were waiting for her when she was taken out of the prison to be put on a train, and tried to take her sons, but the NKVD agents caught them and called her a bad mother. After waiting two weeks in a railway wagon and then a six-week journey, they arrived in Siberia and were taken to the village of Zima, then to Saram and finally Nikiley.

She worked on a logging site in harsh conditions and then tended calves. Her life gradually got better. When their release was announced after Stalin’s death, she decided to stay in Siberia. “If they didn’t need her in Ukraine when she was young, would they need her when she was old?” She returned once to her native village, in 1957, and was met by her brother and the entire village.

Since then she has spent her life in Nikiley, the last village she came to.

She remembers Ukrainian songs and likes to sing them. All her life has been hard.