Farewell to Bogdanowka
Early morning, May 1, 1940, I heard a loud banging on the door.
I jumped out of bed like a scalded cat and I saw through the window familiar NKVD hats. Chills ran through my body because I knew that this unexpected visit was not to tell me ‘good morning.’
My father asked at the door, “Who is this?”
“It’s me, Peter Boyko, open the door.”
Five NKVD soldiers and Boyko entered my home.
They told me to get dressed immediately and began a thorough search in all the rooms. My family was told to get out of bed as blankets and pillows were thrown on the floor and trampled with muddy boots. They threw everything out of the wardrobes, checking all the pockets, browsing through books, papers, photographs, etc.
Others were searching in the attic and the outbuildings.
Finally, they shouted at me, “Get out!”
“Can I say goodbye to my family?” I asked.
“Say your goodbyes and get out!”
I kissed my father probably for the last time, as I sensed that perhaps the old man will not live long enough to see my return.
Tears rolled down his face as he kissed me on the forehead and whispered, “God keep.”
Those were indeed his last words and his last paternal kiss.
Emily and Janina were standing and crying, not knowing what was happening and why suddenly their father was being taken away? Finally, a last kiss with my wife and children, from whom the ‘boyec’ (Russian soldier) tore me away and pushed me outside. Only loud crying and sadness remained inside my house.
I was so distracted I didn’t notice that I was only wearing a military shirt and pants. I had no winter clothes on me such as a coat or a jacket. My wife noticed it, grabbed an old jacket, and without asking the guard for permission, she threw it at me. The guard seeing this, grabbed my wife’s hand and slammed her onto the frozen ground yelling, “Get out of here you Polish bitch.”
It was a frosty spring morning when I was escorted from my home by the boyec armed with bayonets. By the Zagrobel (housing estate i Bogdanowka), near Peter Kozowyk’s house, I was put onto a large military truck. After a while my brother-in-law Piotr Olender, Mikolaj Nowak and Michal Pajak climbed in. So I was not to be alone.
People from all over came by the Zagrobel, among them my sister Catherine, who wanted to say goodbye but no one was allowed to come near us.
The truck drove off and after a short time Bogdanowka disappeared from our sight except for the church steeple which dominated the whole area. From that moment on, my anguish of a merciless fate began.
To continue reading, a book entiled “Faraway Soldier’s Trail” is available on Amazon.com:
Polish version “Daleki Żołnierski Szlak” is available on iTunes but only accessible on Apple computer, iPhone or iPad: