Darya Hermak Дарія Гермак

* 1936

  • "Well, first of all, I was very obedient, I was very interested in political situations. I was very worried about everyone who was killed somewhere, someone was killed somewhere, somewhere. And you know, I was so worried about everything, I wanted to help so much, I wanted it to stop. That's why I joined the processes for which I was sentenced. Then at the age of 10, I was already a liaison officer in the woods. A child. 10 years, is it a lot, right? I'm short now, and when I was 10, I was just a child. And I, you know, and me, though I was afraid I got some pleasure, for helping at least with something. I got some pleasure from it. Although I understood that I could be killed because they were shooting at me once, but I knew what I was going for, I do not regret it."

  • "You know, I didn't know that I... I had to find my way to Lviv, there. I only knew the road to Nyzhankovychi, because it used to be our district, and I went there for books. And... across the river, I went to Nyzhankovychi. And then across the fields, on foot. I had, they gave me a wooden suitcase, something like a stick, a box. A handle, and I (packed) there a dress for myself, some underwear. That's what I bought for myself. And I was carrying it inside. And then, and I go through those fields, I was lucky it wasn't raining. But there was dew, I was all over in the dew, everything. To cross that river, I had to take off my shoes and cross it barefoot. I was cold and all wet. And as I walk, finally, my neighbor came out, she was from displaced people, and she lived in a neighboring house. Well, where they took people, as it once was, those displaced people. She says: “Dartsia, why are you here, my child, what are you doing here?” And we hugged, we kissed. She cried, I cried too. And she took me home, wondering if my mother knew. I say, “I wrote to them, I don't know if they received the letter or not.” She says, “Wait, I'll take you there, but listen to me.” So when she came, she went into the house, I was standing in the hallway. And so I look and think, “God, I grew up here,” I look at those walls. And I feel a lump in my throat, you know how it felt for me. She came in and said: “Listen”, she said to my mom, “Kateryna”, she said to my dad, “sir, well, Hryhoriy. My dear neighbors”, she says, “my neighbors, I brought to you..” It was just before the start of a school year, it has to start in two days, it was already September. She continues, “I brought to you a teacher, to stay at your house, will you take her or not? And she says, “She has nowhere to go, and it's too late, she won't go to the village council right now, but I thought maybe, maybe you will take her.” Dad answers: “Well, what can I say... What can I say...” I'm standing there, I've already crossed the doorstep, you know, I almost fell. I go to my father, to my mother - “Mom, that's me”. Mom was lying on the bed. I said to my mom first: “Mom, that's me”. Everyone is crying, everyone is crying, and that neighbor and myself. Then another neighbor came, a man, he heard something probably, he didn't know what happened and how. Maybe he saw something or saw someone walking in. And he came and he cried, then in the house everyone was crying, like that."

  • “It was a nightmare in the train car! There were children, old people, and adults. They even didn't give water to drink. Heat! It was scorching heat inside. Small children were dying, asking for water. "It's not allowed, it's not allowed!” And also... I only remember that the mother fed the child. And someone had a piece of bread, he just gave it to her to eat, because the child wasn't... That child died. And they took that child. And, that's what people later told me, I don't know how they learned it - did the hear or someone told them, but that's what happened: while on the moving train car, they saw a swamp, and they threw it (the child) there, you know, no one would throw a cat like that into thу puddle. And how many (people) were dying in prison…”

  • "My little coat was stolen immediately, taken away immediately, they gave me something of their own, you know, so disgusting. Because they get around quickly, here and there. Well, they stole it from me there, in that colony. Because I was not given a political sentence, I was given a “re-education” sentence in a children's colony of a strict regime among those “bytoviki” (serving for domestic crimes) children of all kinds. I was a “fascist” there, they wanted to kill me there twice. Things I went through, I wonder now how I could endure it. They even didn't let me eat, what I ate… There were four people at the table, they immediately took and divided my portion. They didn't even leave at least a piece of bread. I was hungry, drank water so I wouldn't fall, I was feeling dizzy. And sometimes we stole because children were also afraid of gypsies. And sometimes I had half a bagel or something like that... I don't know, that's all I had. It was terrible… You know, I already thought, “Well, they beat me, so what, let it be.” I didn't even want to live anymore. And I thought to myself, “God, I don't want anything in life, I just want to live to the time that I can eat as much bread as I want.” I still value the bread, I never threw it away. And that's how it happened, I say, God's punishment it was. And once on some of their state and katsap holidays, the rest of us were given better food. And then I remember vividly they served us pasta Navy with minced meat. But could they let me have that food? Obviously, they immediately divided the food, and I only dipped my finger into the plate when they finished eating. That's all I got. And we were living on the bunks, there were bunks in the prison, and we slept on the bunks, they had two floors - the lower and upper bunks. I slept, and there was even enough space for two. There was “bytovychka” with me there. Because as they said, we even had educators there, and they said: “We will make people out of you. You will be real Soviet citizens. And this girl,” she pointed at me, “we will never make the normal person put of her! I don't know why she wasn't shot right away" - she herself incited those… I was called "fascist", "fascist", like that. "I will not sit at the table with her at work, I will not be with her." They mocked me as they wanted. Then they stole my coat there, they could take whatever they wanted. Even, you know, they took us to the bath there for a little bit - it was once a month - well, we're girls, we needed to wash our underwear and everything. And I washed like there, and I washed my head, and I was walking with the wet head, by the time I got to the cell, my hair froze in icicles. I broke that ice and, and it melted, and the water was dripping."

  • "And then the brother said: “Darsia, you have to do it.” And then I was a liaison officer from the age of ten, I went to the forest. I remember it vividly. I am small in stature, and at the age of ten, I was only a child. So, they dressed me into a big mom's jacket, it was long, almost to my heels. The belt was tied at the waist and here on one side - I had a bag of food and with... So it was not - visible. And so I went into the woods. And my brother showed me everything. He said: “Look where you have to go.” There he showed me in the woods, there were exposed roots at one place, there were alder trees. He cut the branches just so I could hang those bags there with my hand. And so I was and... “Be careful,” he said. “Make sure no one is following you.” He said: “Well, there is a hiding place. You don't need to know where it is.” Because there was the appointed day, the day when they should go there and take the food bag. I think it was Monday or Tuesday, I don't remember. And I went like that every time. I was ten years old. I was a little scared at the beginning, and then - why should I be afraid? You know, my brother used to say: “Be more afraid of your people!” Because, unfortunately, among them there were... He said that in every, even good society, there will always be Judas, and those Judas were, unfortunately, among our people too. So when I was on… “Where are you going?”, they said (In Russian) “I lost a cow, and I'm going to look for it because I'm afraid my mother will scold me, beat me.” That's what I have to make up to be secretive. Well, I kept going there again, and again, and again. There was a time when there were Muscovites. Once they were in the woods, I didn't know it, and they saw me. I see they are following me. I'm not afraid, I won't run away, but I keep walking ... I knew that forest as they did. I got into bushes of sloe, you know. The bushed had thorns below, and there were thorns as big as a finger. And they followed me, there. Then they were swearing at me. I got scratches from the thorns, but I knew how to get out. I wasn't just walking, and I knew how to take a step back, then move forward and sideways, and there was a trail. And I ran away. They even were shooting at me. Well, I did run away. They were raking around for something, I don't know what they were doing. Well, I ran away. Well, that's how it was. Then I'm telling you, they did not come for me, they were already there. Well, and so I still kept going there, as much as I could, but, as they say, everything has a beginning and everything has an end. And they tracked me."

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    Lviv, 26.05.2021

    duration: 01:44:09
    media recorded in project Lost Childhood
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Arrested during physical science class, grassed up by her teacher

Dariya Hermak, photo taken in Kineshma on November 1, 1954
Dariya Hermak, photo taken in Kineshma on November 1, 1954
photo: Natáčení

Dariya Hermak, from the house of Zamorylo, was born on December 11th, 1936, in the village of Radokhyntsi, Mostysk district, Lviv region (former Drohobych region). She was a liaison of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army for ten years. In 1950, her brother, Petro Zamorylo, who was an insurgent, was convicted. After a teacher settled in the Zamorylo family home, it became more difficult to pass information to the forest. The teacher betrayed Dariya and the other liaison girls. On December 5, 1951, during a physical science lesson, she was detained together with Ivanka and Anelia Tyrus. After interrogation, Dariya and Ivanka were arrested and taken to a prison in Drohobych. She was later transferred to Sambir. The court convicted the girl under Art. 54-10 part 2 of the Criminal Code of the USSR (anti-Soviet propaganda and agitation) for 10 years in prison. She served her sentence in children’s labor colonies in Tutaev (Yaroslavl region, RSFSR) and Kineshma (Ivanovo region, RSFSR). She was relieved from there in 1954. After returning, she studied for two courses in Ivan Franko Lviv State University and later at the College of Light Industry. She worked at a garment factory. She organized the creation of a memorial place where UPA fighters are buried in Radokhontsi.