Anton Stepanovič Kostjuk

* 1929  

  • „28. October 1950 I wanted to go to Lviv. I had already taken permission to travel and I had already driven the car behind the gate. But I can see in the mirror how the guard is running towards me and shouting. [I say]: "What happened?" - "Go, the headmaster wants something else!" I thought he might want to pass something on to me, everything was happening. So I came there and there were two boys in their thirties sitting down. [I said]: "What's going on?" - "The boys want to talk." It was immediately clear to me what kind of boys they were."

  • "I was already taught, you know, because a group of Ukrainian nationalists - teenagers - was organized in our seventh grade of the basic school. The principal of the school organized it. You know, we sang Ukrainian insurgent songs. They just drafted me in."

  • "The commander - he was a major or a lieutenant colonel, I don't remember, who stood in the middle: 'You were brought here. So work well.' And [one of us said]:' Commander, and what is the situation in Magadan? 'He stood up and asked: 'In Magadan? We brought you here to die here.´ So we fell silent."

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    Luck, Ukrajina, 19.02.2019

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    Luck, Ukrajina, 14.03.2019

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The Russians called us Bandera, they were afraid of us

Anton Stepanovič Kostjuk in Magadan in 1956
Anton Stepanovič Kostjuk in Magadan in 1956
photo: Archiv Antona Stepanoviče Kostjuka

Anton Stepanovič Kostjuk was born on March 2, 1929 in the village of Teratin in the Hrubešov district near Chelm in interwar Poland. He is of Ukrainian nationality, and so, together with other Ukrainians in interwar Poland, he was exposed to colonization. His father Stepan was even imprisoned in the Kartuz-Bereza camp (now the Belarusian city of Bjaroza) for anti-Polish actions. In 1939, the so-called fourth division of Poland came and the Chelm area was occupied by the Nazi army in 1939-1944. After the liberation of Poland by the Red Army, the entire Kostyuk family repatriated in exchange for Poles living in western Ukraine and settled in the Odessa region in the Ivanovo district. Here Anton Stepanovič worked in a collective farm. Afterwards, the family decided to leave for western Ukraine, and the witness settled in the city of Lutsk, while the parents settled in Kiverce. In September 1946, Anton Stepanovich joined the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, for which he served secretly mainly as a driver, but also worked for the insurgents with topography, and transmitted short messages, or bought them batteries. In August 1950 he was arrested by the NKVD and in October of the same year sentenced to 25 years in Soviet labour camps and lost civil rights for another 5 years. He was first imprisoned in Lutsk, from where he was taken via Kharkov, Novosibirsk and Krasnoyarsk to the Soviet labour camp Magadan, which was located in the Far East on the Okhotsk Sea. In Magadan he worked as a repairman or in a shaft. On August 23, 1956, he was released and went back to Lutsk via Moscow. Here he then worked in a factory and later as a driver and foreman. He did not reconnect with his first wife following his arrest; from his second marriage he has a son. At present (2020) he still lives in the town of Lutsk in the Volyn region.