Hieronim Hołubowicz, 25 years old, farmer, unmarried.

After fighting in a battle, our Regiment was withdrawing in the direction of Romania when we encountered the Soviet army, which had crossed the Polish border on 17 September 1939.

They surrounded the city with the help of the Ukrainians, who eagerly gave them support. I was taken prisoner by the Soviets on 24 September 1939, somewhere between Krasnobród and Krasnystaw. We were herded first to Włodzimierz, and then to Brody. They took a lot of soldiers there and divided us like this: while some Ukrainians were released, Poles were transported to various camps. We went through several days of suffering with no food, having to listen to terrible things being said about Poland – that it would never be restored.

There were 1,500 soldiers with various levels of education. I have no words for how badly they were treated, while suffering more and more from severe hunger.

Sanitary conditions were terrible – we had no place to wash ourselves, and there were plenty of bugs, all of which was completely ignored by the Soviets. Life in the camp was very hard, because we had to work for 12 hours. With such a workload, you couldn’t meet the quotas even to receive just 400 grams of bread.

There was no chance of getting clothes, they wouldn’t give you any, unless you were completely naked – then maybe they would provide you with some clothing. There was no medical care, for the Soviets didn’t think it necessary – they only talked about work.

When the Soviet-German war broke out, we were marched into the Russian territories and treated like cattle. They made us walk for 22 days during the worst heat. They wouldn’t let us drink a single mug of water, or eat any food. It got even worse when they loaded us into wagons, for everyone was extremely exhausted.

Following the signing of the treaty between the Soviet Union and Poland, I was enlisted into the Polish army.