* 1922 †︎ 2019
“One of them then said: ‘Shoot.’ I got scared. I thought that they would shoot us. He fired into the air and some ten minutes later two or three [soldiers – auth.’s note] arrived there. They spoke a little bit more with us. The first soldiers didn’t talk to us much. They took us to their ‘okhora,’ as they called it. They interrogated us there, asking who we were, why we had fled, and so on. We told them something. But you know, they could not understand that we lived in such poverty there that we decided to leave. We were with children. Well, they interrogated us.”
“When they sentenced us in Poltava to three years of imprisonment, we would have been released already in 1943, sometime in August, because it was in August when we had crossed the border, but they released us in 1942. It was shortly before the end of the year. They released us. We came from work in the evening and this girl… she was a girl who was from Carpathian Ruthenia as well, she had remained in the camp where we were as a ‘dezhurnaya,; they were always some women who stayed and kept working there, and she ran towards me and she grabbed my clothing and I asked her: ‘What’s happened?’ ‘Oh, Vasilinka, we are already free. We received a notice that we go.’”
“As soon as we stepped out of that house, we walked for about five metres and I could already see the place were we were to go, the command building. Some Russians just arrived there and the sun was already up and they [Germans – auth.’s note] took an aim on them. You know, they killed about two or three of them there. I didn’t see it, but the technical sergeant said that there were only legs left in the boots of one of them. I don’t know how many of them they killed. They killed three officers.”
Stráž pod Ralskem, 29.07.2014
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If I had not run away, I would have remained stuck in Carpathian Ruthenia
Vasilina Vorobčuková was born May 7, 1922 in the village Yasinia in Carpathian Ruthenia in the then Czechoslovakia. Her father worked in a forest where he logged trees and transported the wood down the river. Her mother weaved on a loom. Vasilina attended elementary school and then she transferred to a higher school. When World War Two broke out and Carpathian Ruthenia became occupied by Hungarian army in March 1939, she and her husband decided to leave the Soviet Union. Together with three or five other people she illegally crossed the border in 1940, but the Soviets captured them and put them in prison, at first in Vorokhta, and then in Poltava and Kharkov. She was sentenced to three years of imprisonment for illegal border crossing and at the end of 1940 she was transported to a gulag in Karaganda in Kazakhstan and then in Jambul. In1943 she was finally released and on August 9, 1944 she joined the 1st Czechoslovak army corps in Kamieniec Podolski. Vasilina Vorobčuková was assigned to the radio troop of the 1st brigade. She went through the Carpathian-Dukla operation and experienced other fights for the liberation of the Czechoslovak territory. When the war ended, she and her husband settled in Stráž pod Ralskem, where she worked as a shop assistant, in a dinning-hall and in a pub. She now lives in Stráž pod Ralskem.