of the Gulag
At Ternopil prison in June 1941
My mother and another widow harnessed the horses and we set off for Ternopil. It was June and the weather was very hot. There was an awful smell and flies buzzing everywhere. We couldn’t get near the prison. The German police with batons stopped us some way from the entrance. We got out of the cart, my mother took me by the hand and we walked up to it. The prison was surrounded with lorries and the entrance was blocked by two tanks.
There was silence. I realised that when the Germans had seized the prison they had dug to find a mass grave. And when we looked at the grave, it was already open. And the weather was very hot. There were lots of flies and you could smell the awful smell. The whole town of Ternopil had to be sprayed with chemicals.
And people were looking and crying: the prison was full of corpses. The grave was also full of corpses and the wall was covered with bullet marks.”