Adela Taruń

* 1922  

  • "You know, longing was always with us, always. But the conditions of living were terrible, terrible.. There was nothing to wear, not even to change into. For example, after the morning shift I used to come back and I washed the clothes I had on me. I dried and wore the same the next morning. I had a pair of shoes ( I always laughed at them). I wore them on my feet but the treads were bare. It began to be a bit better when the Americans started to send parcels. There were some shoes and clothes. I got a dress that nobody wanted but I liked it. It was in the polish style so Ukrainians didn’t want to wear it. Things were given to those who worked in the coal mine. I used to do my part so I always got something. Then the Americans started to send food parcels. For the first time, those who worked underground, got the whole parcel. Those packages were the real thing. We found there fish tins, sweet coffee, bottles of vodka, a few packet of cigarettes and chocolate as well. They were really decent. I managed to get one. I used it in a good way. I sold vodka and cigarettes to buy some clothes which we could buy in only this way – when soldiers came back from the front line. They were taken there but came back as civilians. I often brought some clothes, boots, fabrics – everything! They were selling things for money. When I got a permit and I got money from the vodka and cigarettes and I could buy some clothes. That’s how the prices were: a glass of salt cost 200 roubles, I’ve never saw sugar there. If you wanted potatoes you had to pay 200 roubles for one bucket. That’s how the prices were. Because potatoes didn’t use to grow there, just sunflowers and corn, and watermelons, yes – watermelons were growing there. Potatoes didn’t grow because the soil was to greasy. If anybody planted any, they wouldn’t be bigger than the size of the nut. They could be cooked for a week and they would stayed hard."

  • "I came back to normal life when the Siberian Association was set up and I joined them. I started to meet people, where everyone could tell their story. I finally began to bring the fear under control. Before that, I was scared to go out the house. I am still scared when I hear some unexpected noise. A simple fuss on the street and I am seized with fear. I have that anxiety disorder. It comes from the coal mine, explosions and… everything. It will probably stay with me to my death…."

  • "I was so shocked and so tired. When we settled in my brother’s house the door was never closed. He had so many friend and everybody wanted to come round. There were laughs and tears. Lots of various memories. I couldn’t get a job. My brother felt like employing my husband in school as a Russian teacher, but he didn’t like it. He used to say he didn’t know Polish language but he knew Russian very well. My brother asked him repeatedly and said – „I can employ you right here. You can lecture in Russian”, but because he couldn’t speak Polish he was afraid. My husband often said – „They will laugh at me!”. When you learn Russian, then you speak Russian and it’s fine, but you need to be able to speak Polish as well. Finally he worked in a power plant as a collector, but he didn’t really like it. He walked around the houses but he still wasn’t able to speak Polish very well. I was the one who completed Polish school and even I had problems to speak Polish. In shops I could communicate, and the like…and that’s it. After so many years outside Poland, even the accent had changed. Not as it was. I didn’t get a job in any factory, I was too frail."

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    Łódź, 13.06.2011

    duration: 04:01:47
    media recorded in project Oral History Archive - Budapest
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The potatoes could be cooked for a week and they would stayed hard

Adela Taruń
Adela Taruń
photo: Pamět Národa - Archiv

She was born on 2 February, 1922 in Sosnowiec (Podlachia province). She was brought up with three sisters and three brothers in a peasant family called Olichfieradel. Adela Taruń attended primary school in Sosnowiec, then in Augustów. After third year, she rented a flat in Augustów where she moved to. She completed two years of Milk Processing Industry School in Augustów. In 1937 she was sent for the two years probation to a dairy factory in Dubno, Ukraine. The manager of the dairy factory was called up for mill service and Adela Taruń was put in his place and worked as a manager until 1944. In 1944 she was arrested and to sent into exile to Krasny Łucz ( Donets Basin on industrial region on the east of Ukraine) where she worked in a coal mine until 1949. She met her future Belorussian husband there and married him in 1947. In the same year she gave birth to her first son. Due to illness, in 1949 she was moved to work in the Medical Point. In 1953 she was released and together with her husband and son, she left Krasny Łucz and moved to husband’s family house in Mozyr, in Kalenkowicze, in Belarus. Adela Taruń and her brother who lived in Poland, made a lots of effort to get an entry permit and finally she was allowed to come back Poland in 1957. Adela Taruń with her family took up a residence in her brother’s house in Łódź. Afterwards, she rented her own flat in Łódź. Because of her very poor state of heath, she never took up a permanent job. She got a disability pension and from time to time did her small part-time jobs (like sewing export products). She retired in 1976. In the 90s she procured a document confirming the thirteen years of her work in the coal mine. She joined the Siberians Association. She still lives in Łódź.