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




Olga Vidlovskaia was born in Ihrowica near Ternopil, then in Poland, now Ihrovytsya, western Ukraine, in 1920. She was arrested in 1944 because her husband had fled into the forest to avoid conscription into the Russian army and was killed there. She was sent to prison with her two small children. Her mother and sister were waiting for her when she was taken out of the prison to be put on a train, and tried to take her sons, but the NKVD agents caught them and called her a bad mother. After waiting two weeks in a railway wagon and then a six-week journey, they arrived in Siberia and were taken to the village of Zima, then to Saram and finally Nikiley.

She worked on a logging site in harsh conditions and then tended calves. Her life gradually got better. When their release was announced after Stalin’s death, she decided to stay in Siberia. “If they didn’t need her in Ukraine when she was young, would they need her when she was old?” She returned once to her native village, in 1957, and was met by her brother and the entire village.

Since then she has spent her life in Nikiley, the last village she came to.

She remembers Ukrainian songs and likes to sing them. All her life has been hard.

The interview with Olga Vidlovskaia was conducted in 2010 by Emilia Koustova and Larissa Salakhova.

PDF (58.51 KB) See MEDIA

Olga Vidlovskaia describes her arrest and deportation.

Olga Vidlovskaia was arrested in 1944 along with her two small children aged eighteen months and four years. She asked the soldier who came to arrest her:
“Why have you come onto our land and are taking us away? And he said, “You’re bastards, Bandera bastards”.



Her husband’s murder

Her husband was accused of being a Bandera supporter and killed.


Ukrainian poem

Olga Vidlovskaia recites a traditional Ukrainian poem.


Olga Vidlovskaia sings ukrainian song

Olga Vidlovskaia sings ukrainian song, in memory of Ukrainians repressed by NKVD.

Нiчь була спокiйна, в селi було цiхо, [The night was calm, the village silent]

Тихим ходом , селом , под’ïзжала машина. [A car drove slowly nearer through the village]

Pозлитiлись кати попiд нашiй хати, [The torturers burst into our houses]

Ареcтують з друж’ю за безцïльну працю. [The arrested our friends to do pointless work.]

Так сидiли друзi пiлтора року,  [For a year and a half, our friends were shut up,]

Випустiли дружiв слухати вироку.[They were let out to hear the verdict.]

Вирок прочитали, на смерть засудили, [The verdict was that they were sentenced to death,]

Cxлупотiв скорострiл, дружi похiлились. [As they were shot, our friends trembled.]

Прощай Украïно, прощай рiдна мати,  [Goodbye my Ukraine, goodbye my dear mother,]

За безцiльну працю, я дiстал заплату... [For pointless work I got paid.]

The transcription were done by Anastasia Gorelik.

Another version of this song can be found on the Ukrainian song site Украïнськi  пiснi :

Було всюди тихо

Ні чутки про лихо,

Тихим ходом в село

Заїзжало авто.


Розбіглися кати

По-під наші хати,

Забирають друзів

За підпільну працю.


Кують їх в кайдани,

Вяжуть назад руки

І виводять до тюрми 

На вічнії муки.


Їм три рази денно

Води приносили,

А сім раз на день

Нагаями били.


Так сиділи друзі

Більше як півроку,

Випустили друзів

Слухати вироку.


На смерть засудили,

Вирок прочитали,

Злопотіли скоростріли

Друзі повмирали.


Прощай Україно 

І ти батьку й  мати,

За підпільну працю

Дістаєм ми плату


Не одна жертва 

За Вкраїну впала,

Слава Україні!

І Героям слава!

Popular insurgents’ song: Було всюди тихо (There was silence everywhere)

(Our thanks to Roger Depledge for finding this version)

Forced labour and violence

Olga Vidlovskaia describes violence at work



Olga Vidlovskaia’s son’s wedding

Olga Vidlovskaia’s son went to Ukraine and got married. His fiancée’s father required him to make confession in church, although he’d been in the Komsomol youth movement.



Stalin’s death

Olga Vidlovskaia remembers Stalin’s death



A short trip back to Ukraine