Józef Albin Jabłonowski was born on 1 March 1932 in Sokoły, a town near Białystok in Poland. His parents were farmers. He saw the arrival of German troops in Sokoły in September 1939, and then the Soviet annexation in the winter of 1939.
In April 1940, the NKVD arrived at the family home. Józef Albin, his parents, and his four siblings were deported, presumably because of his father's membership in the anti-Semitic nationalist movement Narodowa Demokracja in the interwar period. Józef Albin's older brother, Franek, escaped deportation. He joined the Armia Krajowa, was arrested by German troops, imprisoned, and later liberated by American soldiers.
From Sokoły, the family was sent to Kazakhstan in cattle trucks. In May 1940, they arrived in the village of Kazanka, in the steppes of northern Kazakhstan. There, Józef Albin attended Soviet school before interrupting his education to work with his father, who was in charge of sheep grazing. After the Sikorski-Maisky agreements, his older sister Wanda and his brother Edward left the village. Edward and his wife joined the Anders Army. Wanda, due to medical problems after her leg was amputated, was sent back to a labour camp for girls, where she later died of typhus.
Józef Albin's parents died in Kazanka in 1944. This was a particularly difficult time for Józef Albin: the village was hit by typhus and the children had to fend for themselves. During this time, he grazed the kolkhoz cows in exchange for food.
In March 1946, he, his two sisters and other "repatriated" Polish children began a long journey to Poland that would take them back to Sokoły in May. From 1949 to 1953, Józef Albin studied to become a technician. He later worked as an engineer in a train factory and became involved in the association of former deportees Związek Sybiraków (Association of Siberians).
The interview with Józef Albin Jabłonowski was conducted in 2011 by Agnieszka Niewiedzal.