Władysław Karol

* 1926  

  • "Them, Jews! They were in real trouble, as people used to say. There were many Jews in Słobódka. There were Jewish shops. And they were right away... They would sew such pieces of cloth on them, the letter “J” for “JUDA”. With such a yellow stroke “Ju” at the front and on the back, and they were walking and then driven to the Ghetto in Braslaw and executed by firing squads there. They suffered such a fate. At the site where they were executed there is a Jewish cemetery now. Some of them ran away, that’s true. But, this way or another, they were caught later. People were hiding them, but they could be also executed, both the Jews and the hosts for keeping the Jews. Not in Słobódka but in the villages, there were such houses and in the forest. There were places they were hiding but they were finally executed, caught. There were various shops. There were various shops and materials, such various materials. They even sold them at that house, you could even have a nice suit made. Various materials, imported foodstuffs and spices it was called, seven or eight shops in Słobódka. And the Jews were in real trouble! They were executed by firing squads without trial. When you were a Jew, Jude, then, Jude kaput! O, gut gut and Jude kaput... Well pogroms. Who did pogroms? The Germans only did pogroms..."

  • "I felt like coming here. I did not stay in Poland. Because there was not much order, either. There was no order at all after the war. Home Army soldiers on their own, Ukrainians on their own, and Poles on their own, and there was fighting all the time. I do not know when it all ended up there. I cannot say. And I came here. I came back here in 1947. (...) Because my family was here with me and we though we would go to Poland, and they would not let us go later on. If I had stayed there I would have lived there, and, thus... They would not let me go later on. I wanted to leave, but they did not let me go. It was not so easy to go."

  • "The Germans came, and what? We worked on our land and that’s it. The Germans would not take us. Some were taken to the police here and there were also Byelorussian battalions. I was still a little boy then. They wanted to take me away to Germany, but I ran away. (...) from Braslaw. In Braslaw we had to get on a train, and there was a long queue. From that queue they took people to Dūkštas in Lithuania. And we ran away. Nobody looked for us later on. And we stayed, as if we were in Germany. (...) we were already driven to the train. And in Braslaw, if you were in Braslaw, where there is a cemetery. There was a secondary school there. And they gathered us all at that school and led us to the train from that school. And there were buildings nearby, some pigsties or something. And we ran away. So, we stayed there and waited a little bit and in the evening it was already dark. And we came home and nobody was looking for us and, thus, we stayed. And they were already taking us away."

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    Słobódka (Białoruś), 27.05.2007

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After the war, there was no order

Władysław Karol
Władysław Karol
photo: Pamět národa - Archiv

Born 28 January 1926 in Łunie near Słobódka in the Braslaw area. His parents had a five-hectare farm. Before World War II Władysław Karol completed six forms of a Polish school, after the war he attended a night school. After the second entry of the Soviets - in 1944 - he was called up and deported to Russia. He got to the Polish Second Army. He took part in the crossing of the Nysa river. The end of the war found him in Prague. For more than a year he fought against the UPA Ukrainians, near Sieniawa and Malawa. Then, he learned in Kraków to be a car driver. After he completed his military service in 1947 he came back to his homeland. In 1948, he was sent to work at clearing the forest in Karelia. From 1949 on he worked in a kolkhoz first as a foreman and then as a bookkeeper. He was also a mechanic at a potato drying house and a driver. For ten years he worked at the school in Słobódka as a work teacher, then, as a disinfector at a psychiatric hospital. He married in 1952 and had a church wedding in Latvia. Now, he lives in Słobódka