Olha Antonovna Nesvizha

* 1926

  • “We [lived] under the Soviet regime for two years, when the Soviets came. It was difficult to change from the Polish regime to the Russian one. So we lived on. Then the war came and the UIA came, and help for our people. We helped our own, you know? With food and everything. I picked flowers and elderberries, and there was a doctor in Varkovichi and in the neighbouring village who took them. He gave me money [and I’d say]: ‘No, I don’t want money. I’ll take some iodine.’”

  • “They sentenced me to ten years. I was locked up for nine, and when Stalin died, I was rehabilitated. How old was I when they gave me the sentence? Seventeen or eighteen. [Q: Eighteen. Which year was the sentence given in?] What? [Q: Which year was the trial?] Which one? 1947. Yes, straight after the war. I was employed at the station, the one we’ve got here, I came to work [and was arrested]. I was so young still.”

  • “[The Poles] were at the [train] station, they operated the station. We also had our Ukrainians there, who’d joined the Poles and worked there. They’d turned, you know. But they still lived under the Soviets, they weren’t in the Party, there weren’t anywhere. They lived. And helped the UIA with products, with everything they could.”

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    Ozerjany, Ukrajina, 12.08.2016

    duration: 01:09:16
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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The Soviets undermined the authority of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army on purpose

Olha Antonovna Nesvizha
Olha Antonovna Nesvizha
photo: archiv Olhy Antonovny Nesvizhi

Olha Antonovna Nesvizha, née Kvitka, was born on 19 October 1926 in Ozeriany, Volhynia (which was part of Poland at the time). She grew up on her parents’ farm, where she worked as a farm hand after completing elementary school. She experienced the Soviet and Nazi occupation of Western Ukraine in Ozeriany. In August 1943 her brother Hnat joined the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UIA). However, he was killed in the autumn of the same year. The witness also helped the UIA, specifically, the Sabriuk’s sotnia (combat unit). She brought them food and other necessary items. After the Red Army returned to Volhynia in 1944, she was arrested and sentenced to ten years of prison. She was held in Kharkiv, Tallinn, Vaivar, and then finally transported to a Soviet labour camp (Gulag) by Lake Balkhash in Kazakhstan. While serving her sentence, she was put to sewing, but she also had to carry heavy rocks on her shoulders, work in a mine, or as a nurse. After her release she returned to Ozeriany and worked at the local kolkhoz. Her husband and both her parents were also imprisoned in the Soviet Gulag camps. As of 2017 she lives in Ozeriany near Dubno in Western Ukraine.