Mykola Baranovskij - Sokolovskij
How they came? [Yes?] Well, how to say. They were not rich. Dad worked all kinds of jobs, they looked for a flat, he married Mum. They looked for a flat and found a flat in Straklov. The work was at the train station and Dad worked here. There he also stayed at Mrs. Škaloudová’s and there they lived. There I was born in 1928. Lived also. Parents also stayed there the whole time, until they died. Dad died in Straklov and is buried at a Czech cemetery.
“The Germans come, they say: “Bread, flour, lard, warm fur coat.” Czechs gave it. But then at night come the Bandera group and again: “Give flour, give lard, give a pig.” But the Germans, that’s true, took not much from the Czechs. Well, they helped, they had to give some help. And the Bandera group, let me tell you, people choose the lesser of two evils.”
“Let me tell you, Straklov was not happy, wasn’t too happy that the Soviets came. It was needed to organize kolkhozes, horses, wagons, tools, everything had to be given to the kolkhoz. Czechs were paid. Grandfather was paid. He was made the secretary of the farmers’ council, Lánský and Mamičev. [There was a farmers’ council?] Excuse me? [There was a farmers’ council?] Yes. Germans came, Šulc came, the farmer too, he proved them that they served the Soviet government and they shot them into pieces.”
“Dad was forty-nine when he was mobilized. He spent a year in the military, then they didn’t let him go home and took him to Stalingrad. He was in Stalingrad. [And he died there?] Dad said: “The whole Stalingrad was torn into pieces.” [And he was in infantry or how to call it?] Infantry? [Was he in infantry?] Yes. [In infantry.] In infantry. Yes”
“[And who was the richest of them?] Farmer? [Yes?] How to say. The Masopust family was unpoor. There were two Masopusts. Mrs. Veselá, Masopust family lived there, and then farmer Masopust was there. Another lived. He had a brother Masopust. Suchý was a farmer, then, who else was there, Grmela, Petržíleks, two Petržíleks were. And also Kopřiva was there.”
Dubno, Ukrajina, 18.04.2014
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I spoke Russian with my father, Polish with my mother, and Czech with my neighbours
Mykola Baranovskij-Sokolovskij was born on the 1st of January 1928 in Český Straklov in the Volhynia region, back then a part of Poland. His parents were Russian and Polish but he grew up in the environment of an originally Czech village - frequented a Czech school, was friends with Czech children, and he was familiar with the Czech language from a young age, gaining a Czech accent. In Volhynia, he witnessed both the Soviet (1939) and Nazi (1941) occupation. Since his mother was Polish, he was very touched by the Ukrainian-Polish conflicts between the Ukrainian Insurgent Army and the Polish Home Army (Armija Krajowa) during the Nazi occupation of Volhynia. After the war he studied technology at the Lviv University, later he spent more than 30 years working for Telekom in the town of Sarny. His wife was Ukrainian. Today, Mykola Baranovskij-Sokolovskij lives in the West Ukrainian town of Dubno.