Marija Siruk, roz. Špiková

* 1943  

  • “We did not want to leave [Slovakia] but there were canvassers who walked the village kept saying that if we don’t leave they [Czechoslovaks] will exile us wherever they choose. They told us to go to Ukraine, saying the soil was good and living would be good. A rich country.” – “Who were the canvassers? Were they Russians?” – “I don’t know.” – “You don’t know?” – “I don’t know.” – “Okay.” – “All I know is that when we arrived, we saw the hunger and other things, and my mum wanted to walk back. But we were not allowed to anymore.”

  • “We were given [a house] immediately, but since our house [in Slovakia] that we sold cost less, we had to pay more. We paid a lot [of money]. We had to pay for the house and then they did it so it was ours after a few years. I don’t know the year when my father repaid it all.” – “Were there many vacant houses like this?” – “Lot of vacant houses. Everybody who came here got a house. When Czechs left the houses were settled by Polish and Slovak repatriates.”

  • “We went to school at age six. I went [to school] and my sister went too. Our mother fell ill right after we arrived. She was very unhappy because things were not good here. As far as I can remember, mum was sick all the time. Mum died in 1958. We were left [alone]. My brother got married in 1953 and I stayed with my father and sister.”

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    Molodava, Ukrajina, 01.08.2018

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When we arrived and saw the hunger, my mum wanted to walk back to Slovakia

Marija Siruk
Marija Siruk
zdroj: archiv Marije Siruk

Marija Siruk, née Špiková, was born in Vyšná Polianka in the period Slovak State on 30 May 1943. The family was all of Ruthenian origin, and when the Ruthenians from the east of Slovakia were offered the option of „repatriation“ in the USSR in exchange for Volhynian Czechs in 1947, her father chose to relocate. The family settled in Moldava (Molodavo in Ukrainian) in the west of the current Ukraine. The witness completed a school, married Ukrainian Oleh Siruk, and got a job in the Molodavo library, retiring in 2000. In 1993 the former Ruthenian „repatriates“ were offered the relocation back to Slovakia, but Marija Siruk and husband were not admitted. She currently has the status of a Slovak expatriate and she still lives in Molodavo.