Check earlier articles with the memories from Kazakhstan
Village Krutoyanka (Northern Kazakhstan) is located on two lakes, one with drinkable water and another lake which Is salty. The “good” lake has a good and tasty water. The animals – horses and cattle drink water from this lake. When Spring starts, the sheep is washed in the lake before shearing. In spite of all these different uses we also drunk this water and we never became sick from the millions of bacteria there. The salty lake is overgrown with weeds, its water has brown color with marshy-herb like smell not drinkable. Here is a google map showing where Kustanay region is located
Excerpt from my postcard from June 5, 1940: “We are healthy but boils irritate our skin. All of us have these nasty boils. My arm is slowly getting better but I had to wrap it with a bandage since it hurts at each touch. There is almost no water at the lake now. We have to walk to the forest to the wetlands. The travel there and back takes about 1.5 hours and I can carry only 2 buckles with us. This has to be a sufficient amount….The harvest prognosis is good. This is important since this guarantees that we will have enough bread. The heat is awful with temperatures up to 45 C (113 F). Villagers go to spend nights on the steppe, since it is almost impossible to stay inside due to the heat and flies.”
Until July we received four parcels 8 kg each with food and one with medicines. Our good friends and neighbors from Stanislavov sent them.
Another excerpt: “I am trying to get any information about my husband via NKWD in Stanislavov and Moscov. My husband was a reserve officer and a director and a representative (CEO) of a large textile factory in Lodz before WW II. He was arrested in December 1939 during an attempt to cross the Polish-Hungarian border. I am not receiving any response, so I am uncertain and tormented. We also try to get a permission to return to Poland through NKWD. I am so thankful to God that Marysia (our family maid) is here with me. How can I repay for her voluntary exile. She helps tremendously and makes our life (mine and two children) easier. She is our “hoarder” who brings us everything she can to help feed us”. According to the family records available after WW II, Edward Borst died on dysentery in a labor camp in Northeastern Siberia due to extreme living conditions.
Excerpt from my postcard sent June 23, 1940: “It is good that we have barley and flour. We also eat vitamins: juice and birch bark, some grass, herbs, chive in the forest. We pick up wild strawberries on the steppe, which we dry for summer and mushrooms.”
Excerpt from my postcard sent August 9, 1940: “After three weeks of hard labor in the fields I sit at home and rest. I work in the kolkhoz from sunrise to sunset with only one hour break for lunch. This is a horrendous work. They treat us wretchedly. We Poles are selected to do the worst, most disgusting and dirty work. For the whole week I had to clean a manure ditch, 7 meter deep and 4 meter wide using my hands only. There were two of us. The next week I worked with hay, after that we have to help with the harvest. Marysia went to work in the brickyard. After three weeks of hard labor she walked 30 km on feet to get home. She walked three days through the empty steppe with no roads, no villages, no alive person around. She came home with injured legs. She is laying down with no feeling in her legs for the last two weeks. I found a lotion in our home medicine box and I am trying to cure her by applying two times daily.”
Memories written by Stefania Borstowa. Borstowa, her children and Marysia, a home servant wer deported from Lvov to Krutoyarka little village in Kazakstan. Soon after Soviet Union invasion. Her husband was sent to the labor camp in Eastern Siberia and died of dysentery, but she did not know about it until after WW II.Check:
Baba Jaga Corner: Visit Jaga Polish Culture Website at: www.polishsite.us