Solidarité Ukraine
INED Éditions. Sound Archives, European Memories of the Gulag




Felicja Anna Kuczewska was born in 1930 near Białystok, where her father had been given land as a military veteran settler. This status resulted in all eight members of her family being arrested on 10 February 1940 and deported to Karabakh in the Urals. Her father and brother worked in a mine, and Felicja and her brothers and sisters, too young to work, were sent to a Russian school.

In October 1941, after the amnesty, the family moved to Kazakhstan and joined the Anders Army. The breakdown of relations between the Soviet government and the Polish government-in-exile prevented them from leaving the Soviet Union — their party was stopped at the Iranian border and they were deported to Orenburg in Siberia. Working on a kolkhoz among recent and older deportees of all origins who helped each other as they could, Felicja lived the hardest period of her deportation.

In March 1946, they were finally allowed to return to Poland, and thanks to the fur clothing other kolkhoz workers lent them, they reached the railway halt their train left from. Taken on by the National Repatriation Office (PUR) in Lower Silesia, Felicja’s family and five other families of former deportees settled in a village, where they faced the hostility of fellow Poles who knew nothing of their history. Felicja completed a management and economics course in evening classes. She has lived in Warsaw since 1969. She retired recently and works with the local unit of the Siberian Deportee Association and is writing her memoirs.

The interview with Felicja Anna Kuczewska was conducted in 2008 by Agnieszka Niewiedzial and Catherine Gousseff.

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