Микола Петрущак

* 1930  

  • And it was little bit better for me there. There were people from different places, we had something to eat. In this prison it was so: we were brought to bathroom and disinfection of clothes. So we didn’t have louses. There were big bed bugs. Cells were usual there. I was on the second floor and close to railway. It was the twelfth block, as far as I remember. And what was the discipline? In the morning – get up. The “parasha” (toilet – author) was in the cell. The stronger men brought out this “parasha”. We were 48 or 50 in the cell. It was very tight and there was nothing to breath. It was bad. There was difficult to sleep. I was given the place every time because I already had festering wounds. Sometimes, maybe once in three days, medical attendant came. He was Jew and treated me carefully. But he couldn’t do anything. He just changed bandages. Pus was running. Nevertheless I became very thin. All my co-brothers were pity and took care of me. About food: in the morning we had porridge (a little portion) and tea. Tea was normal boiled water. For dinner we had “balanda” (soup) and again porridge or potato. Sometimes there was also little piece (as two fingers) of fish. In the evening we had a little portion of porridge and thimble of seed-oil on it.

  • “In Abez’ I met, for example, Ivan Hrabar from Lviv. He was a member of Stec’ko government. Professor Feshchenko-Chupivskyy, who was arrested in Katowicy was there also. He was a member of Central’na Rada. He died almost on my arms. He taught me a lot. Also Hrabar taught me; one taught history, second – geography. How did studying look like in the camp? After the end of the working day usually at summer (when day was longer) we could walk a little. And so we were walking and talking between barracks. Three-four men were going, one was telling the story all the time. So I am person educated in camps.”

  • “In 1948 we were transported in the “stolypin’s” railway-carriage. How did it look like? It was like common railway-carriage with compartments, but with only grates and without doors. It was a long corridor with grates everywhere. Every compartment consisted of grate and three berths. It was impossible to sit there, only lie on these three berths, on the common planks. Before the transportation fellows found a piece of metal like little finger and hided it into bread ration. Because we were not in the cell then, we were in bigger zone – in “Bryhidky” prison there was a zone, where we could walk and do some job. Convoy soldiers broke down this bread ration but didn’t find a piece of metal there. The window in compartment was on the level of the second and the third berths. When the soldier walked in the carriage he could saw only the second berth. So we began picking the plank near window from the third berth. It revealed that the carriage was old and the planks were old. We picked everything and after Poltava station we should decide what to do. The grate was already swinging and it was possible to knock out the window. The train was going downhill. One of the prisoners said: “Go ahead!” It was midnight or one o’clock in the morning. Two of us knocked out the grate. It fell down with the tinkling. But the train made a lot of noise and nobody heard. Fresh air came into the carriage. Soldier was in the end of the carriage, maybe slipping. I was the second to jump. Firstly I stood and waited when the train passed the pillar and then jumped. I lost one boot, dislocated arm and felt blood on my face.”

  • “In the November of 1950 it was gathered INLABOR – individual labor “etap” (transportation of prisoners to concentration or labor camps in Siberia or Far East). There were old people after sixty years, invalids, wounded people, who fired in themselves. For example there was such Davyd Bida from Ternopil region, who fired himself in whiskey. The bullet had passed on the fly, but he became blind. He wasn’t shot. He often said: “I will be free, Soviet union will be destroyed and I will go to Austria. Austrian doctors will renew my eyesight”. He had such a dream. There was also one man from Hodoriv, substitute of sotenyy (lieutenant of URA), who fired in himself but the bullet came out in bridge of the nose. His surname seems to me, was Sohan. Drofych Mykola was a tutor of politics in sotnia (URA squadron). He had wounded hip. We were not shot. In 1948 decree came out and till 1950 in Soviet Union there were no shooting. They firstly shot mass of people, but then saw that they could use these people for work.”

  • The "Dead point" meant a place in a specific location where we put our mail or some information. We chose such places: or hollow somewhere, or a pile of stones, or at the cemetery. Do you understand? And we have not seen each other for months, but the mail worked. For example, once I got a cloak-tent. Then at night I left it in the "dead point" and went away. Somebody could get at the "dead point" by chance. It could be. But we've tried to define the "dead point" somewhere in the stream in order it wasn’t so available. And we succeeded. My work lasted till May, 1949. Once again I went to the apartment, on the "dead point". And there was an ambush. "Stop!" I thought I wouldn’t stop. I popped back and forth. But they put a submachine-gun against me. I run 30-40 meters and fell down. I thought what was with me, I couldn't ... They run up, overpowered me. Hospital in Boryslav is close to the stream. They brought me to the hospital by cart (they found it at once). Doctors did an operation, put off bullets. The bullet penetrated at the liver and gut. Well ... Who you are? What do you have? And I had the document. I was speechless. I remained silent for a week. I couldn't talk. And in a week they took me to Pidbuzh, to my area.

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    Witness' home (Sambir, Lviv region), 05.10.2011

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“Because freedom doesn’t have price”

Микола Петрущак
Микола Петрущак
zdroj: ЗУЦІД

Mykola Petrushchak was born on the 6th of January 1930 in village Storona, Lviv region (now Drohobych district of Lviv region). He gained primary education in village‘s school. In 1942-1943 he was studying in Drohobych gymnasium. In December 1944 Mykola Petrushchak was arrested during battue of NKVS army in his native village. He was released because of absence of proofs. He headed underground tactical unit under pseudo „Malyy“ (Little). In 1946-1947 he studied in pedagogical college in Boryslav. He left studying because of NKVS persecution. In 1947 he was arrested be soviet secret services. In 1947-1948 he was sitting in colony for under-ages in Drohobych and Lviv‘s prison „Bryhidky“. He was sentenced to 10 years of disciplinary-labor camp for participation in Ukrainian freedom movement. In 1948 during transportation to place of serving his punishment he managed to escape and returned home. He continued underground struggle. In May 1949 during performing the task of rebels he got ambushed by soviet secret services, was injured and arrested. During the investigation he was held in the prisons of Boryslav, Drohobych, Lviv transitory prison No. 25. The same year he was sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment in the penitentiary camps and up to 5 years of deprivation of civil rights. He served sentence in camps of Inta. He was released in 1956 and returned to his homeland. He was a stanychnyy of Sambìrs′ department of OUN-UPA. Now he lives in Sambir.