Konstanty Bałtrusiewicz

* 1924

  • "There were no Germans in Jody at first, none of them because no place was suitable for them to stay. Any buildings that would be big enough like the school or the House of Commune, were burned by the partisans. The dwellers houses were not big enough. The Germans came when the Jews extermination started in Autumn 1943. They came because there were lots of Jews in our town. The Jews were really in their numbers in Jody. The Germans chased them and caught them all. They were shot and executed. The Germans were everywhere in the town. Not one Pole stayed there. The Germans were everywhere. The local Belorussian police were executing people as well. - [ did you have any Jewish friends at school?] No, I didn’t use to learn with Jews in the same school. We [the Poles] all learned together in the same class. That is how it was. I remember once… We went on a school trip by the river to have a bit of fun near the water. The whole school went: the children, the teachers and the headmaster. On the way to the river, outside our hometown, there used to be a cross on every junction of the road. Polish kids the teachers always took their cap off while we were passing the crosses on our way. All of a sudden a Jew who went with us at that time started to laugh at us taking the caps off. Then one of us jumped on him and spited on his face. The Jew fell down. The headmaster came round and asked “What happened? What was the noise?”. The Jews started to scream. Everybody got together and we said that the Jew laughed when we took the cap off in front of the cross. The headmaster told the Jew to bring his father to the school the day after and not to appear alone, without his father. The Jew’s father came in two days later and he tried to explain his son’s behavior and so on... Sincerely, I can say how the things were… Sometimes some students from the University in the city were coming to our school and they spoke to the kids telling them how to treat the Jews… not too good. What did they tell us? There were many Jewish shops around. We were told not to buy from Jewish shops. There were Jewish shops and Polish ones as well. We were told not to buy from Jews but from Poles instead, from the Polish shops. Therefore, the Jew from our school didn’t like it at all".

  • "I came to take my parents and go to Poland together. I had permission. I just came and all of a sudden everything changed. The Soviets changed their mind, the permission was annulled. They didn’t let us come back to Poland. Everything was ready, my father got everything ready to go. We were not allowed to go. “You were here, you must have stayed here, live here and work here”. That is how it all was".

  • "The war between Germans and Soviets had started. The Germans came and stayed two or three years. How long did they stay…? Then the Germans were expelled and the Russians came again. The war started so I had to join the army. All of the young people were taken to fight on the front line. I am Polish and there were about sixty other Polish people. We knew the Polish Army was somewhere in Russian so we wished to joined them. At first me and the rest of the Polish recruit were taken to Lithuania where we stayed for a while. Then the whole of our regiment was connected to the Russian regiment. One day the Soviets came and read some writing in Russian. About sixty Poles were rounded up and told we were not included into the Soviet army. My group didn’t join the Soviets but the rest of the Polish soldiers, who were there as we did became a part of the Soviets army. There were some extra regiment in Lithuania somewhere and we were told to join them. We walked over around 80 kilometers to meet them. We reached the place in the time of Lent. The whole regiment travelled to Lithuania. When we joined this spare regiment we were indexed again according to the nationalities – Polish or Russian. All of the Poles were taken on the list and finally we found out we were supposed to be taken to the Polish Army. Good for us, but where was the Polish Army stationed? We were so curious about it! We heard the Polish Army was gathered in Sielce, across Moscow. We couldn’t have known if they still were there.. We were asking each other. ‘Is it possible that any regiment is still in Sielce?’ The Soviets got all of us together and sent us through Moscow, to Sielce. We eavesdroppeded the Soviets while they were walking around the forest collecting wooden sticks to make a shelter. We heard that they planned to send us not to Poland, but to Siberia in Russia. Officially, they never said a word about it. At first we were taken in a goods train to Moscow. In Moscow, we were waiting for another train that would take us to Siberia. We spent three days at the train station waiting – three days and three nights. On the third day, we asked the Russian captain if we could go outside the building, take some fresh air for a bit because it was summer time, August and there were very warm days. We asked to go somewhere just to relax and take in a bit of the Sun. The station had some small square or an open building area. We saw same wooden boards and timber outside there. The Russian captain said we could go outside, “Relax than in here” and he went to his office to do his job. What did we do? We started singing Rota ("The Oath") and some other Polish patriotic songs as Wojenko wojenko (“My dear krieg”) (cry). Not far from the station there was the polish department in Russia. The Polish colonel was passing the place where we sat and heard our singing. (Wanda Wasilewska was there, in this office. Have you ever heard about her? She was married to a Russian. She also used to come to see the Poles coming to the Station in Moscow) This colonel heard our singing and came round to looked on us. He saw us - soldiers in the Russian uniforms. He asked what was this army, an army that wore Russian uniforms yet speaking… singing in the Polish language. (cry) We told him about us and everything we knew about our case. We told him we wanted to join to the Polish Army but the Soviets had brought us to Moscow and probably they would transport us further on the East so we were waiting for the train. He said “ That’s fine boys. I will be back soon”. We thought he wanted us to leave him alone. We were beyond any doubt we would go to Siberia. Anyway we were waiting to see the Polish colonel. “Will he came back to us or not?” – we asked each other. He finally came! He came and asked “ Who is your captain?”. There were a lot of the captains here but one of us showed him some documents and he took our captain to the office in Moscow. The went there together and it turned out that we were supposed to go to Siberia for certain. Then, all of a sudden the direction was changed for Lublin, Poland. The Polish colonel came again and said; “ It’s done boys. You are going to Poland. You will join the Polish Army".

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    Dyneburg, 13.06.2011

    duration: 01:24:17
    media recorded in project Oral History Archive - Budapest
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They didn’t let us come back to Poland

Konstanty Bałtrusiewicz
Konstanty Bałtrusiewicz
photo: Pamět národa - Archiv

He was born on 1 April 1924 in Rudobiści (Braclawski province, Vilnius region) as a son of Jan and Kazimiera Ławrynow. He was the only child of his parents. He attended Polish school in Jody and he completed the last seventh year in 1938. Then he attended to gymnasium in Brasław. He was an excellent student so he never had to pay for the education as the commune paid for him. He didn’t finish gymnasium because the war started. He used to help his father on the twelve hectares’ farm in his childhood. He played organ in the church in Judy. When the Germans and Soviets war broke out on 1 September 1944 he enlisted to the regiment on Lithuania to join the Polish Army. Luckily he avoided transportation to Siberia. Together with a group of Polish soldiers he travelled through Ukraine where he came across a Polish regiment. He finally reached Lublin with the Kościuszko Army. On 13 September Konstanty Baltrusiewicz with his regiment of artillery reached Majdanek (German Nazi concentration camp). They stayed for a few days near the camp and  then set off to Warsaw, going through Rembertów. He was relegated to the communication regiment and he fought on the Stare Brudno front line in 1944 in Warsaw. He worked in the broadcasting station for a while. After Warsaw was captured his regiment reached Stabnice near Zatoką Szczecińską. The Konstanty Baltrusiewicz’s regiment set off to Berlin after a month and near the Łaba river, they joined the American army. When the war was over Konstanty Baltrusiewicz came back to Poland, to Łuków in the South of Warsaw. He completed the drivers school course and moved to Siedlce. He worked as a driver and a bodyguard of some colonel. After demobilisation (1 March 1947) and dismissal from the army in 1954 he went to old Kresy to take his family and come back to Poland. He was stopped in Belorussia and was taken to work in a gulag prison Afterwards, he went to Dynenburg and worked on the railway. He joined The Union of the Poles “Promien” and The Veterans Association. He still lives in Dynenburg.