Józefa Klijewska

* 1930  

  • "There was a different spirit in the past. After the war nobody cared to make a lot of money, to be up to something, but really – frankly, believe me, as I am old – they could work all day for a plate of soup, or for a mug of tea, or something. A slice of bread, because it was said that you had to rebuild Poland. Warsaw was entirely …Some cities were also destroyed. But Warsaw was worst. All the money was collected here for Warsaw. My husband, when he worked, they always collected money for such different things, reconstruction of Poland."

  • "I was very disappointed when we arrived. My father, when he arrived, did not tell us anything how he watched it here, nothing at all. That it was such a very small town, that it was only one main street. But you travelled to work, what could you do. There was no other way. You had to go where you were sent. But the point is that they did not provide us with what they said they would when we were leaving the east, that a flat similar to the one we had left was already waiting for us here. And, in practice, it turned out that it wasn’t."

  • "We arrived in Krzyż, it turned out that that house – when we arrived my father said: “Let’s come and see that house, I will show you what it is like.” God, when he saw it – it was already a ruin! The windows, doors, everything was already looted. There was nothing. And he alone, what would he do in such a big house? Finally he gave up, he went to the presidium and told them no, that he gave up, because he would not manage. “So, find another one.” And he found, because an acquaintance came to meet us at the station, he was from Chortkiv, too, there were many people [from Chortkiv] in Krzyż; so he came and said: “Come on, there is a room with a kitchen close to us, so you will have it for the time being, and later on we will look for something.” I had a girlfriend, when I was going to school here, she was going to school, too; they came from Częstochowa. And they lived here at number 16, 16 Sobieskiego Street, where my sister lives now. And they said they would like to come back to Częstochowa, because they did not like it here. So we had to give them compensation, naturally. My father had documents from the east that we were entitled to a flat. But a larger one, naturally! Because we had such a huge orchard, a nice large flat, that is a house … But we got only this half. And we lived in such a torment for a few years, because there was no possibility, everything was occupied!"

  • "That very moment was very difficult. We all cried, and it was all like that … The children did not know why we were crying, so they cried, too. It was awful, because – do you understand it – everything we had, as if it burnt, or even it was still worse, because it was not burnt, because when it is burnt it is no longer there. And you had to leave everything, everything you looked at, you had to leave it all. It was really awful. It really hurt me when we came there, to Poland, after all it was also our Poland. But when we came here to the west … Here, in Poznanskie voivodship, people were not so frank. They called us “khadziays” [immigrant farmers], Ukrainians… And what could you do? You can’t help it. People do not understand what it is."

  • "I remember such an event when I was going with my mum into town, as soon as we arrived, here to Sienkiewicza, in this street where the Brączkowskis live, and here a bit further Kalamanowa used to live, under her house a poor old German woman was lying on a feather quilt. I remember, as if it was today, she had a feather quilt and was lying on that quilt. Who had thrown her out and what it was …? Later they took her, they took care of her and took her away. Because there were barracks somewhere there, I even did not go there, in Daszyńskiego Street, there were barracks and there were some Germans. And one more thing. When we lived in Moniuszki Street, there was a German woman at … – such a handsome German woman, a pretty girl, really – at the Żwawiak’s. I do not know if she was their relative or who. But she was not there for a long time and left, too."

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    Krzyż , 21.08.2007

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I was very disappointed when we arrived That it was such a very small town, that it was only one main street

Józefa Klijewska
Józefa Klijewska
photo: Pamět národa - Archiv

Born in Chortkiv (Polish: Czortków) on 19 March 1930. Her father had a large carpenter’s business; her mother was of a gentry background. Before the entry of Soviet troops in 1939 Józefa Klijewska completed one grade of Polish primary school, and then she learned at an occupation school. In Chortkiv she survived the Soviet and German occupation together with her family. In April 1945, her family decided to leave for Poland, and went first to Tarnów, and then, in August 1945, to Krzyż. In Kryż Józefa Klijewska completed an evening primary school. For two years she worked at a Samopomoc (Self-help) shop, and then she married and took care of her children and home. She lives in Krzyż.