European Memories

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Villages affected by deportation

The letters intercepted by the postal censors were used to produce reports on various topics. They enable us to ‘hear’ the voices of these people faced with the violence of deportation. The letter excerpts, reproduced in a report from Ukraine’s Ministry of the Interior department for the Drohobych region, reflect the atmosphere of fear and uncertainty in early 1949, when a major wave of deportations was being prepared, and also the fact that a large number of peasants had already been exiled.
Each extract from an intercepted letter is headed by the name and address of the intended recipient, revealing that it is always a resettlement area to which close members of the writer’s family had previously been deported, and the extract closes with the name and address of the sender.

Source: SBU (political police archive), collection 3, inventory 42(1953), folder 8, pp. 120–123.

  • Molotov (now Perm) region, V-Gubakha city, 1st May mine, Block 14, Apt. 4, Zhguta D. P.

‘Six army trucks came to our village on Christmas Day. Some soldiers surrounded the church, others went to the village and began the deportation. They took Petr Dmitruk, Gnat, Andrey Tanchuk, Dmitry and Efrem Petuh, Vasily Petuh, Grigory Pyukh and Danil Kravchuk They wanted to take Vasily Blazhkevich, who has no legs, but his wife was not at home; she had escaped from the church by jumping over the fence and had hidden. They left him there.’

Drohobych region, Drohobych district, Volya-Yakubova village, Melania.

  • Molotov region, V-Gubakha, 26 1st May Street, Apt. 8, YATSKIV I.O

‘At Christmas, about midday, we underwent a deportation. They deported the wife of Pucius Kok, Nikolai Prulev, Mikhail Gavrilov, the wife and daughter of Alexei Moskal. I was afraid to go out into the street. There are more clouds in the sky, and spring may well be the end of our suffering.’

Drohobych region, Medinichsky district, Litynya village, YATSKIV M.I

  • Molotov region, V-Gubakha, 93/14 1st May street PETRIK Y.I

‘We underwent a deportation. They deported Komar Kuzma, Mikhail, Olga Sovyakova, and Bleznyakova Tasya with their family. They did not want to take Andrey, but he would not stay and said, “I’ll be where my family is”. Ekaterina Finchina left, and Tasya Gukova took her child, Olga Sovyakova’s daughter ran away. They also took old lady Klopayka with Milka and Vasily and many others.’
Drohobych region, Drohobych district, Luzhok Dolishny village, FEDORICHKA A.

  • Arkhangelsk region Rovdinsky district, Podgornaya village, no. 4, PISARSKAYA Yu.

‘We have some bad news. On holy Christmas evening, they took people from Stryi and Dubliany districts. They took them all to Stryi to the same house. They were not allowed to take anything at all with them, because there were no carts in Drohobych, they took the people by lorry to Stryi, from Stryi to Lviv and from there to Siberia.
It breaks our heart to think that the same thing awaits us. When shall we have finished with these horrors? We only do one thing now, listen out to see whether they’re coming for us.’

Drohobych city, 6 Revolution street, POPIVNYA E.M.

  • Molotov region, V-Gubakha, 93/10 1st May street, LIPAK M.I.

‘On Christmas Eve in the villages of Volaya Lobov and Bylina, the same wind blew that took you away. Great sadness and misfortune in the villages. They deported people, and the children who remained roam wild. You don’t know what awaits you and when death will come. But, too bad, we live in hope of a wedding between Anton (England) and Ruskaya (USSR  ) which is coming soon.’ [England and USSR are the interpretations of the report’s author.]

Drohobych region, Sudovo-Vishnyansky district, Shemerovichi village, ANTOSCHAK O.D.

  • Lviv, 17th September street, Three-year collective farm management school, BRILOVSKY D.S.

‘The Christmas festivities were really sad and terrible, they took away people they said were suspect. Even before the holiday in Stryi district and during the holiday in Drohobych district. They haven’t yet taken any from the other districts, but we expect that to happen any day now. People are very afraid because we don’t know who this fate will strike. Everyone hopes that perhaps spring will be fine.’

Drohobych region, Drohobych district, Truskavets village, BOBYAK Z.

  • Kemerovo region, Prokopyevsk city, KUSYAK E

‘We underwent a deportation here. On Christmas Eve, during the night, in the village of Shemerovichi they took some families from Kupnovichi-17 village. Old Nikolai Kruzhnitskiy ran away. It’s so terrible here now that we find it hard to sleep.’

Drohobych region, Sudovo-Vishnyansky district, Makunev village, BUYAR P.T.

  • Kemerovo region, Izhmorsky state farm No. 4,

‘We had a major deportation here. They took six families from our village. They took Stepan Sukitsky and all his family, but Ivan stayed. They also took Vasily Tilsky. They’re going to take others. They’re going to take half this year. The holidays were sad and will be even more so.’

Drohobych region, Sudovo-Vishnyansky district, Shemerovichi village, ANTOSCHAK O.D.

  • Lviv, 17th September Street, Three-year collective farm management school, BRILOVSKY D.S.

‘At Christmas, in Volya Yakubova, they deported ten families and a few families from other villages. They took women whose wives had been convicted. They took them to Stryi. They haven’t yet taken anyone from villages near ours.’

Drohobych region, Staroe village, BRILOVSKAYA M.V.