Stefan Leśków

* 1933  

  • "we came to Wrocław, (...) we arrived on the 6th of June, and there was this repatriation office. And we waited there for six days, a whole week, in the hallway. Mum and dad went to this building and took this metal bed with a net, and they made it for us; they even got us a mattress, I think. The three of us slept on that bed, and my parents slept in that hallway for a week. They had to buy something to eat and so on (...), and finally, I learned that they had found an apartment for us one day. They gave us this truck, this car. We took what luggage we had and brought it to Bartnicka Street."

  • "We were leaving for Poland after all, but we were not repatriated (...). Anyway, mum agreed, and they said (...) that we don’t need to take anything, we’ll get everything when we get there (...) because: “People, there’s no need to take anything (...) small luggage”, they said: “Take malenki chemodany”. Mum took two blankets, (...) some things since we were supposed to get everything after we arrived, that’s what they said. (...) we took small luggage (...)."

  • "(...) It was around seven o’clock already, and it was getting darker. Uncle came back (...), he came, untied the stallion and was finishing untying our mare when three of Bandera’s soldiers came out of the forest, about 60 metres away from us. Uncle saw them and said: “Stefan, quick!”. And he grabbed me by the leg, I was wearing shorts and a shirt because it was August… he put me on the back of this horse, this stallion (...) it bolted, and they shouted: “Stij!” (...) they had (...) machine guns, auftamat (...) pepeshas (...). And when I jumped on that horse and the horse bolted, but at the same time, he yelled stij in Ukrainian and shot a burst at me. I heard a whizzing sound from the right and from the left, and at that time, my horse was hit twice in his hind thigh and got terribly frightened (...). It started galloping forward. I was holding on to the mane because I had nothing, no reins, only a piece of rope, nothing else (…). Well, when the horse came home, about 7 kilometres away, I was (...) all bloody, because I was sitting closer, and the closer you get, the worse it is – it was softer at the back."

  • "(...) In [19]41 (...), it was extremely difficult to buy anything; it was difficult to find a job. In the summertime, my mother was training things, (...) she sold things on Rogatka Łyczakowska. (...) Somewhere around [19]41, these Soviet shops were called co-operatives, and you could buy things there. (...) Mum wanted to buy something so that she could have a dress and something else for my sister. She ran into NKVD officers there, who were on the lookout for people who bought things cheaper in order to resell them at a higher price (...). And they detained my mum. She was trying to explain the situation, but she didn’t know Russian, so they decided that she was guessing. (...) they arrested my mother, and the lowest penalty for speculation was six months. (...) She had served three months already, it was [19]41, and the Germans were already invading. The Russians rushed all (...) these prisoners (...) to the station and loaded as many as possible into freight cars. In any case, they packed up the women and transported them deep into Russia (...)."

  • Full recordings
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    Wroclaw, 02.08.2021

    (audio)
    duration: 02:46:38
    media recorded in project Inconvenient Mobility
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We had our repatriates´ IDs, but we were no repatriates!

Stefan Leśków, Wrocław, 2021
Stefan Leśków, Wrocław, 2021
photo: natáčení

Stefan Lesków was born on 23rd Mai 1933 in Lviv/Lwów, which was at the time part of Poland, into a Polish family of Emilie and Michal Leśków. He grew up in the wrokers´ district of Malé Krzywczyce, where his father worked in a factory. Later his family moved into a small house on one of the main raods of the city – Łyczakowska. There he witnessed the arrival of the Red Army after the Soviet invasion in September 1939. The Soviet occupation had a detrimental impact on the family. Mother Emilia was arrested by the NKVD and accused of being a profiteer, because she bought more goods than allowed. She was put in jail for six months. After Germany invaded the USSR in 1941, the Soviets deported their prisoners to Siberia and the family lost contact with their mother for a long time. During the German occupation Stefan witnessed transports of Jews into working camps and also saw the guards shooting down those that tried to escape. After the war, the family had to leave Lviv/Lwów, because the Eastern frontier of the USSR shifted further West. They settled in Wroclaw (Breslau in German), previously German territory gained by Poland after the war.