Władysław Uchnalewicz

* 1925

  • "We were waiting for the Germans and all of a sudden the Bolsheviks trespassed. The tanks and the soldiers who followed the tanks. The main colonel, Kawalow, was here as well. They got together near the church in the magistrate, the Jews were with them. They executed thirty seven people there near the church, no trial, nothing. The Soviets informed Stalin apparently, that Wołkowysk was occupied effortless. Then all at once we [I and dwellers of Wołkowyska] ambushed the Bolsheviks from the forest. Colonel Kowalow escaped, the rest of them [ the Soviets] were executed. Afterwards, those who stayed alive, buried those who were killed on our cemetery. There was the one Soviet soldier who refused to shoot when the Bolsheviks were killing our people. He refused to shoot so the Bolsheviks shot him dead as well".

  • "We were given a wojenruka ( a teacher of the Military Adoption) and he taught us Physical Education and some military stuff about using guns and shooting. He also taught about paper cartridges and how to march or shoot etc. I was the only one who wore the Rogatywka (peaked cap) and AK ( Home Army) uniform. I said to my schoolmates “Let’s fond a scouting troop”. Thus we set up the scouting troop and we named it The Glory to the Freedom and the Motherland. I sewed the caps for all of us myself. I was able to make it, as my mum did. We both [ me and my mum] made Rogatywki (peaked cap)for the whole team – twenty-five for boys and thirteen for girls. We walked down Piłsudskiego avenue (called that before it was changed into Kutuzowa street and sang patriotic songs. I taught the boys the words of the songs. Walking in a row, we were singing, however the Soviets couldn’t understand what kind of songs they were. That’s how it was. Our scouting troop name was The Glory to the Freedom and the Motherland".

  • "I was thrown into the condemned cell and sentenced for execution. The cell was filled with water, to the level of an ankle or a bit higher. The door was locked with the chain and oak padlock. I was given hot water in a cup not to catch a cold before the execution. If the guards opened the door to take the prisoner to the toilet or for execution, the prisoners had to lay down on the floor with their faces in the water. The guards twisted the inmates’ arms behind their back to handcuff them. I never knew if it was the time for my execution or not. I was kept here over a week. All of a sudden the guards came and said; “Nie nado łożyt’sia uże”(“No handcuff this time”). They had the papers ready to sign for three of us [the prisoners]– “Sign here –Entreaty to comrade Stalin” – he said. We signed it".

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    Wołkowysk, 13.06.2011

    duration: 04:54:22
    media recorded in project Oral History Archive - Budapest
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The cell was filled with water, to the level of an ankle or a bit higher

Władysław Uchnalewicz
Władysław Uchnalewicz
photo: Pamět Národa - Archiv

He was born on 25 of August 1925 in Wojdziewicze near Wołkowyska as the one of twelve children of Albina Horbiuk and Kamil Jan Uchnalewicz. His father was a shoemaker and his mother was a  dressmaker. The family owned a farm. Władysław Uchnalewicz was only six when he left home and moved to Piaski where he attended primary school. He continued education  in Wołkowyski in elementary school and  gymnasium. The learning was interrupted by the World War II. Władysław Uchnalewicz met and joined the Polish scouts in gymnasium for the first time. In 1939 he became the member of the Związek Walki Zbrojnej (ZWZ; Union of Armed Struggle). Later on he joined the AK (Armia Krajowa - The Home Army) and he served as a liaison officer and scout (with the corporal grade, and pseudonym ‘Kret’ - ‘The Mole’). After 1944 he continued his service in an underground AK (Home Army). While he was taken to serve in the Soviet Army. After he was accused of  attempting to escape to London in a military plane he was arrested and interrogated heavily many times in a few different prisons. Finally, his death sentence was latter changed into twenty-five years of hard labour in Vorkuta and New Land. Władysław Uchnalewicz was deported until 1957. He worked in the roads constructions and in a coal extract. When the Khrushchev Thaw started, Władysław Uchnalewicz’s sentence was cut down. During the last years of his sentence he was allowed to learn in a technical college. After coming back to home from the gulag Władysław Uchnalewicz started a new life in Wolkowysk. He set up home and he took up a job as a builder and a painter of walls and cars.