"I was at Butyrka for a short time, two weeks. And then they took [us] in prison vans with fruit and vegetable painted on them; and it was only an ordinary prison van. They took us to the station, put into a prison carriage, they gathered some more of us and we were going to Vorkuta. We were sitting by the bars. How the prison carriage looked like? It was a metal barred carriage with large windows on the left-hand side and the corridor, and there were prison cells, bars, too, but still closed with tin doors. (…) But they did not close them. There were about 20 people in one cell. (…) People were lying at the top, we were sitting on the seats at the bottom and boys were also lying under those seats. There was no room. They would feed us. Small fish awfully salty, I did not eat it. Bread, water, a glass of cold water from the locomotive’s tender. And a teaspoonful of sugar. They would give us sugar once every three days. Three teaspoonfuls. One Russki took my fish from me, and gave me his sugar instead. The fish was stinking, it was rotting, spoiled, I simply did not eat it. And I did not want to. For example once every 24 hours they would let us go to the loo, they would take us one at a time. A soldier with a seven-shooter was standing there before the loo and the leader too, (…). Whether you wanted to relieve yourself or not … Then back. Some had diarrhoea from that fish, so they relieved themselves to their Wellington boots or to their caps. It was terrible. But when we were brought to Vorkuta. The first thing was the space, the air … It was 37 degrees cold. "
"A gentleman came to me. He asked me to come to the room, at our place. And I remember a chest of drawers standing here. (…) Such big drawers, bedclothes, and everything … And he says: Listen, things are like that. I want you to be sworn to the Home Army. There was the Union of Armed Struggle then. I still remember the oath formula. I shall stand guard to Poland’s honour faithfully and steadfastly and fight armed for her liberation. He said: I admit you into the ranks of the armed fighters. Victory will be your prize and treason will be punished with death. (…) I remember those words being uttered with my two fingers kept on a small cross. For the time being I have kept the oath."
"I will keep my oath. Here in Lvov by St. Anthony’s Church, an oak cross that is six metres tall. I put it up on 17 September 1999. I gave the forester an order. He cut down an oak tree for me, took it to the sawmill, filed it all, I brought it, paid the carpenter, he planed it. […] In Białystok I bought varnish that is used for covering oars, boats, waterproof varnish, I bought a hand grinder, paid the boy, paid him 25 dollars, he sanded it and covered it with that varnish. This year, too, I will go to church on 17 September, I will have a Mass said for the mates who were killed. […] I was in Rzeszów, and a chit journalist comes to me: Sir, why do you take such care of those graves? I looked at her, what can you say? Will she understand it?"
"From my early childhood I used to wear a scout uniform. And now I have the scout’s cross on my uniform. Grodno, infantry regiments were stationed there, the Ludwik Narbutt 76th Regiment in Grodno, the King Stefan Batory 81st Grodno Rifle Regiment, 29th Light Artillery Regiment, 7th Armoured Battalion. Then, there were the sanitary ones, and signal corps. And the “canaries”, of course, the military police walking with their yellow military hatbands. So we would always say “rotten canary, rotten!” You snot! They were chasing us. But the divisional reserve cadet course was there. When a cadet walked, then … I do not understand why the guard of honour is moving like ballet dancers now. Legs ahead like ballet dancers on the stage. In the old days when a soldier walked he would bang the cobbles! And now they are walking like ballet dancers. Of course, it is nice and elegant but it is not in soldierly fashion. The boots were with metal tips, the sole was with nails."
"I have a guarantee letter (…) from the embassy in Moscow. And everything was geared to go to Poland. But when we arrived here my wife’s mother said: my husband and I have built that house and this is my place. If you want to sell, sell, and leave. I am staying here. My mother said that my father, that is my grandfather Klemens Kranicki, had built a tomb for himself and his daughter, that is for my mother. If you want to go, go, I will not go anywhere. Your father, my husband is buried here. My father is buried here and this is my place. […] And my wife’s mother also said … And the “Rota” (The Oath): We will not abandon the land whence out folk come. You want to go? Run away! Tell me now, from the bottom of your heart, what do you think about it ? You would not go, would you?"
In all circumstances a man is able to adapt, even to the worst
Eugeniusz Cydzik was born at Misiewicze near Grodno on 26 December 1921. Before the war he joined the scouts and completed a full course of military training. On 1 September 1939, he volunteered to the army and was admitted to auxiliary services in Grodno. After 17 September 1939 he took an active part in the defence of that city. After the entry of Soviet troops he was in hiding in a village near Warsaw; he returned to Grodno in 1941. On 2 February 1942, he took an oath and joined the Union of Armed Struggle. He served in the Information and Propaganda Office (BIP), then in the Directorate of Sabotage and Diversion (Kedyw): first he gathered arms, issued faked documents, then he was engaged in reconnaissance, took part in armed operations. He fought in guerrilla units in the Nemen Group. On 3 August 1945 he was arrested and sentenced by the War Tribunal to 15 years of penal servitude and five years of disenfranchisement. He stayed at prison in Grodno, then in Moscow (Butyrka prison). He served his sentence in Vorkuta, where he first worked at earthworks in tundra, then at a coalmine, and finally as an electrician at a soviet forced-labour camp for political prisoners. He met and married Czesława Hnatów there. He was released in 1956 and worked as a free worker for another year until 1957; then, he returned to Lvov together with his wife.