Anna Stasiewicz was born a deportee at Ozyorki Station, Altai Krai, in August 1940. Her father as a member of the Polish Legion had been given a plot of land in the Kowalki settlement area of pre-1939 eastern Poland. It was his military past and current status as a settler that led to the family’s deportation.
He was deported on 10 February 1940 with his children and his partner, pregnant with Anna. It was Anna’s mother and brother who recounted to her the memories of the early years of deportation. On 31 August 1940, the family arrived in the village of Pervomaysky in the Novosibirsk region, reserved for Polish detainees. Her parents were set to do farm work.
They were amnestied in 1941 and settled on the Kraychikovo sovkhoz collective farm, also in the Novosibirsk region. In 1943, in response to the appeal from Wanda Wasilewska of the Union of Polish Patriots, Anna’s father and brother joined the re-formed Polish Army. Anna Stawiewicz’s memories of her 6 years spent in Russia before they returned to Poland in June 1946 are marked by hunger and disease.
When the family returned to their home region, they had no accommodation because of border changes. Anna and her mother moved into a building abandoned by the Nazi occupiers. The family were well received by their village neighbours. However, memories of deportation were shrouded in silence despite the shared knowledge of ex-deportees in nearby villages and requests within the family to share their experience. Anna’s memories of deportation only re-emerged during the medical supervision that revealed the impact on her health of that phase in her life.
The interview with Anna Stasiewicz was conducted in 2009 by Anieszka Niewiedzal.