Ihor Oleshchuk Ігор Олещук

* 1931

  • Well, I have four male cousins. The two female cousins were right in hideouts, you know. That is, they were in a deep hiding, not in the simple. Well, it is clear that they came to my mother. What my mother did? You know, after living in a hideout, when a person comes, they smell of earth, so my mother washed their clothes and fed them. And I was always looking out outside. And they rarely ... Not everyone entered the house, so my mother passed food outside, I was holding a rifle, and he ate, or changed clothes, you know (smiles).

  • Well, the work was extremely difficult. We worked for 12 hours. They fed us, they gave us soup with turnips, and potatoes were brought in, in dump trucks at - 40 degrees, it was frostbitten, there were potatoes of a blue color, and turnips. It was, like… (thinks) our turnips, you know, grows there every two months. Polar day. Thus, they gave four hundred grams to a miner, four hundred and fifty grams of oatmeal, ten grams of oil. Well, sometimes they gave a piece of fish tail. And these… Bread - depending on the plan in the mine - there were from 450 to 600 grams of bread. And in fact, bread was given once a day. I'll tell you the scheme, at 6 o'clock people used to come in to wake us up with sticks, and they lead us to the dining room. Then we sent two guys to the bread machine. One carried bread, and the other was on duty with a stick, so others wouldn't take away the bread, and that bread was given (stutters) during breakfast. We ate it. But the bread... They gave us food twice a day, the second time was after the mine in the evening. Well, but bread, if there was a piece left, we hid it under the coat. But if you were hungry and you had that bread under the coat, it was clear that you would eat it, then dinner was without bread. And we're there for 10 hours, 12 hours, instead of the standard 8 hours. We worked for 10 or 12 hours, and then we left the mine. We washed in the steam bath, and again gathered at the checkpoint, took another piece of coal, to warm it up, you know, coal, because they did not deliver it all. And we came to the canteen in the evening, ate, and stayed for another six hours to work. During 1,5 years of work in the mine, I worked for the drivage, I had dystrophy of 2 or 3rd type for 4 times. Dystrophy, you know, a depletion. A dystrophic, well, in the camp a dystrophic was called a famished person…

  • When I turned 15, I was accepted... you know, officially… it wasn't very big, because I was accepted individually into the OUN youth wing. It was 1946. I was given the cover name Hrushka (Pear)... (a long pause, a response to another person: "I wish you success, we will pressure the regional council to accept some decision"... returns to the conversation with the interviewer)... And then they were bringing me documents - "temnyky"... Temnyky, that is, brought me thematic plans, and I worked. So ... they called ... I didn't understand what my job position was, but I was, an informant in the village of Chornyi Lis and in Zbarazh district, And why? Because, I studied in the Soviet school for 7, 8, 9, 10 forms, I studied in school. And most of all (inaudible) I passed those reports ... Well, it was very difficult, because my family didn't have to know. So… I put those reports there (sighs) in the barn or "piklir" as we people used to say, in an old-fashioned way, you know. Those places... Where the grain was stored, the houses were built on high foundations... built of wood. And there were stones there too, and in order not to connect with everyone, I did that... That's how I kept a connection. Well, it so happened that one of the reports (emphasis) number three in 1947 (pause), maybe my small village, I forget, in the woods… We are from Zbarazh district, Lubyanka (inaudible). There was a district leadership of the OUN, there was a leader (emphasis) Shum, there were two deputies, a secretary - typist, and someone in the village... There was a big hideout. The entrance was in the cellar, then it went all the way under the garden because there was a secretary-typist, the works were printed there, there was a big hideout (voice drops). Someone gave out that hideout, and in fact, all four of them were shot. The 4 of them: district leader Shum, two deputies (one deputy for ideology ...his cover name was Voron, and another - deputy for household issues) and the secretary-typist ... the typist, they shot themselves. And the KGB found report number three there, written by my hand, signed by the cover name Pear. Well, I wrote it when I was 15 years old. I didn't have a big experience of conspiracy. And it was in this report that I wrote about the events at school. They gave us, Zavodianyk - he was the historian from Eastern Ukraine, and we analyzed the Battle of Poltava, and something else about Hetman Mazepa, and the dispute began. And us, students, we were not afraid, we were young children, the Soviet government came a couple of years ago, it didn't have the strength. And we, the dispute started: is he an enemy, or is he a hero, you know… There was the dispute (smiles). And I wrote about that dispute. And that was enough for the KGB, they found a test paper at school, they compared handwriting… And came to me.

  • Reception. There is a KGB man with keys and whips. My mother gave me a scarf, socks, a blanket. Let's say, she gave me everything she had. Rusks, she also handed me lard in a pot. I asked for tobacco, something else, everything she could... I don't remember, a piece of lard, something like this… And he met me at the reception in a very interesting manner (ummm). He stripped me naked ... you know? Because everything (emphasis) everything was checked on the naked body. He turned me facing the disciplinary cell. He spread a blanket on the ground and began to search. He threw out that lard with cracklings… there was a pork fat with cracklings (pause) and He threw out (stutters) rusks, you know, lard, tobacco, everything ... Everything. And then he threw a coat at me, on my head, and began to sharpen a knife. The fact is that the corridor at the entrance is connected with two corridors that… People from all 4 floors were escorted through that corridor to the interrogation room. And they ... It was forbidden according to the instructions, for two... prisoners to meet each other face to face. Therefore, when there were two prisoners being escorted through the corridor at the same time: "Face the wall, step back." And he threw a coat over me and began to sharpen a knife. And not only did he do so (inaudible 15.15), he also wanted to scare me with death. He thought, you know, the guy was in prison for the first time, for the first time in those hands, that he would get scared to death (laughs).

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    Ternopil, Ukraine, 25.11.2020

    duration: 01:12:46
    media recorded in project Memory of Ukraine
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“In our village, all young people helped the underground”: the story of Igor Oleshchuk, a member of the OUN and a participant in the Vorkuta uprising

Pan Oleščuk se zapřaženými soby. Vorkuta, 1956
Pan Oleščuk se zapřaženými soby. Vorkuta, 1956
photo: Personal archive of the witness

Ihor Oleshchuk was born on May 21, 1931, in the village of Chornyi Lis near Zbarazh, Ternopil region. In 1946, Ihor Oleshchuk became a member of the OUN youth wing. He worked as an informer, under the cover name Hrushka. This became a reason why he was sentenced in 1948 to 20 years of forced labor. He was serving his sentence in the mines in Vorkuta. Then he acquired the profession of a nurse man. In 1953, he took part in the Vorkuta uprising. At the end of 1955, Ihor Oleshchuk was released and returned to Ukraine. He lives in Ternopil now and works as a senior researcher at the Historical and Memorial Museum of Political Prisoners.