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Mieczyslaw BATOR

The following is a translation of Mieczyslaw's answer to a questionnaire that he filled our in the Middle East after joining the Polish 2nd Corps. The original hand-written document is held at the Hoover Institute in California.

Bator Mieczyslaw lived in Polesie, Tarnopol province, Poland

 

He describes the situation under Russian occupation:

 

On 17 September 1939, the Russians invaded Poland. The first troops entered the city on Sunday morning. The people were not told that they were invading with Germany’s help. Some were told that they were coming to help Poland. Therefore, there was a lot of confusion. Most of the army and police services were told the latter. As the Russian army appeared, very few people welcomed them, other than the Ukrainians, the Jews, and the communists, who thought they would profit from this turn of events.

 

The remaining Polish army fought valiantly, but these valiant souls wee soon defeated. They were loaded into trains and taken to the USSR.      

 

Militias were formed in the cities and towns, in order to keep the peace, but they rather spent their time robbing people and harassing them. Ukrainian gangs began attacking Poles.  At night, one could see many fires, and hear agonizing cries. The Russians did not react to this and did not provide any form of protection to the population.

 

In order to secure their rule, the Russians changed everything.  They removed all Polish books from the libraries and replaced them with communist books.  Polish school directors and professors were arrested and sent to Russian work camps.

 

Russian teachers taught communist propaganda in the schools.  Public meetings were organized in order to indoctrinate the population.

 

They took everything from the cities and sent it all to Russia.  Soon there was nothing left. They also damaged the churches and turned them into theatres or warehouses.  They destroyed Pilsudski’s statue and replaced it with one of Lenin. This was followed by mass arrests and many executions.

 

The elections were said to be free elections, but anyone who did not show up to vote was summarily arrested.  

 

Things became progressively worse. Poles could not find work anywhere, and circumstances became more and more dire.

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