Marija Mychajlivna Bozhko

* 1946  

  • ["What school did you attended?"] - "I went to the fourth school. Everyone called me a Catholic at school. I have the Polish nationality in the register of births and deaths. My mom doesn´t neither my dad. Only me. I was going to the church because my mom was a Catholic. I was going to church and in 1956 I was at the first communion."

  • "My mom was talking about it. She heard everything, but she could not go down. My grandfather, my mother's father, he was ninety years old and they immediately shot him. My grandmother was German, her name was Marija Weiss. [They said to my grandfather,] 'Come out and show us where your garden is.' My grandma said, 'He is deaf, he does not hear. He is ninety years old. ‘My grandmother went out and they shot her in the garden. Mom waited until the evening and then ran to Dubno."

  • "Ten people from my mother's family died. They killed grandfather and grandmother. They also killed Paulina, [her mother's] sister, and then cousins [of my mother]. Ten people. So I made a cross there in Kyrylivka. "

  • Full recordings
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    Dubno, Ukrajina, 11.02.2020

    (audio)
    duration: 47:14
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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Polkou na Volyni

The village Kyrylivka in the 1930s. Probably a school photo
The village Kyrylivka in the 1930s. Probably a school photo
photo: Archive of Marije Mychajlivny Bozhko

Marija Mychajlivna Bozhko was born on January 3, 1946 in the city Dubno in the Rivne region of western Ukraine in the then Soviet Union. Her father was of the Russian nationality and fought in the Red Army in the Finnish-Soviet War, where he was captured. He managed to escape from the captivity and after arriving in western Ukraine, he met Joana, the mother of Maria Mychajlivna, in the village of Kyrylivka. The mother was of Polish nationality, and during the Second World War, when the so-called Volhynian slaughter took place in the summer of 1943 and Poles and Ukrainians were murdered, the parents had to leave Kyrylivka and go to Dubno after one of the massacres on April 24, 1943. Marija Mychajlivna was born there shortly after the war. She completed a seven-years elementary school in the city, graduated from an evening school and then worked with artists, as an accountant and finally as a forewoman in a factory. Marija Mychajlivna participated in the opening of the Dubno Catholic Church in 1992 and since 1995 she has been the chairwoman of the Dubno Association of Polish Culture in Dubno, which brings together locals with Polish ancestors and those interested in Polish culture. She currently (2020) lives in Dubno in the Rivne region of western Ukraine.