If I let you escape, they’ll shoot me - and if I shoot you, they’ll tell me off, so what a choice
Josef Kaufman was born on 14 November 1926 in the village of Leduchówka, which lies near Lutsk in Volhynia, in present-day Ukraine. In 1939 the territory, under Polish rule, was occupied by the Russians. Kolkhozes were established, and the witness’s parents were forced to join as well. Two years later the region was seized by the Nazis, and Josef Kaufman experienced another period of persecution, marked by frequent raids by the Banderites. In 1944 he joined the 1st Czechoslovak Army Corps. After being sped through boot camp, he participated in the operations at Machnovka, Dukla, and the siege of Liptovský Mikuláš. On 28 April 1945 he was wounded and taken to hospital. After the war he moved to Czechoslovakia. He founded a hobby group with other Volhynian Czechs. In the 1950s he witnessed another period of collectivisation, this time in Czechoslovakia. In 1953 he sold his farm and stopped working on his own estate. He was employed in agriculture until his retirement.