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Exiled to Siberia
A Polish Child's WWII Journey

By Klaus Hergt

Crescent Lake Publishing

Copyright 2000 by Klaus Hergt; All rights reserved.
ISBN: 0-9700432-0-1

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Chapter 7


After a few months the Soviets began a systematic deportation of the local, predominantly Polish, people who were families regarded as belonging to the "anti-Soviet elements." Called spetspieresedlentsy, "specially transferred settlers," they were deported under a secret administrative ruling.

Jan T. Gross in his book about the Soviet conquest of these eastern Polish lands writes that unlike the prisoners sentenced by a court, these families had not appeared before any sentencing tribunal nor were they informed of any administrative procedure against them. Rather, they were subject to a secret procedure and were neither given any reasons for their deportation nor were they put before a court. These spetspieresedlentsy were not in "need of correctional labor." Their selection can he summarized in one sentence: "Who is not with us, is against us.,,

The deportations proceeded along well-tested, previously-prepared guidelines and protocols (see appendix)[1]. Their chief organizer and administrator was General Ivan Serov, a "Deputy People's Commissar for Public Security." After the German retreat from the Soviet Union in 1943, General Serov supervised the deportations of Kazakhs, Uzbeks, and Chechens suspected of collaborating with the German troops. He was decorated, eventually became the head of the KGB, survived the Stalin regime, and died peacefully at his dacha. Two of his immediate subordinates were executed, however, after the Stalin era.

The deportations came in waves and included entire families. The first wave, on February 10, 1940, took the families of political leaders, policemen and border guards. In April 1940, those of former army personnel and government workers were seized. In June of the same year white collar workers, people not to the Soviets' liking, and those who had fled from western Poland in front of the German army and therefore were not native to the Soviet-occupied territory, were deported. A few Jewish businessmen and their families were given a reprieve which lasted until early 1941.

The intent and procedures of the deportations were always the same; in fact, they had changed but little since the days of the tsars. In his book The Soviet Takeover of the Polish Eastern Provinces Keith Sword writes that "there was a continuity between the exile policy under successive Tsarist regimes and those of the Stalinist period." Norman Davies wrote that "each generation of Poles dumped in the tundra or the steppe in 1832, 1864, 1906, 1940, and in 1945 encoun tered Poles of an earlier generation who had shared the same fate."

Anita Paschwa-Kozicka, a Polish orphan who, like Hank, had been deported as a child and, like he, came to the United States via Colonia Santa Rosa in Mexico, visited Tbilisi in the Soviet Union in 1989. She writes in her book My Flight to Freedom: "I found many Polish people living there. Those were the people who came from Siberia [at the time of the amnesty], but were stuck in Russia when Stalin closed the borders to Polish refugees after we had been sent to Iran."

Without exception the roundup came early in the morning with that ominous knock at the door and the command "Otkroite!" ("Open up!"). In front of the door stood armed Red Army soldiers and a civilian official with a list prepared by local collaborators. "You have half an hour to gather your things!" The official ordered. For most it was a good-by to their home forever.

Then came a cart, a sled, or a truck, and a quick transport to the nearest railroad siding. The deportees were loaded into freight cars with high, barred windows, and the doors were locked from the outside. With luck their sanitary facility was a bucket, but usually it was only a hole in the floor. Some were fortunate enough to have wooden bunks in their cars; the majority, however, had to sleep among their bundles on the filthy floor. Some were even more lucky; their car had a small stove for which they occasionally received a pittance of coal. But most could only bunch together and try to share their body heat with that of their fellow prisoners. Locked in, fifty to eighty people in each car, they waited sometimes for days until the train was fully assembled. They traveled for weeks to an unknown destination without relief from crowding, without a chance to wash or stretch their legs. Their daily nourishment was a piece of bread and a bowl of watery cabbage soup.

Relying on General Sikorski's files an anonymous author described the trains and the process of entrainment in The Dark Side of the Moon as follows:

The trains were very long, and seemed also extraordinarily high. The last was because they seldom stood along platforms, and the whole train was accordingly seen from the level of the ground. Later, some Polish trains were also employed, but the earliest were all typically long Russian trains brought in for the purpose; dark green in colour with doors coming together in the middle of box cars as they do in cars on the Underground [subway]. In each of these cars, very high up, just under the roof, were two tiny grated rectangles, the only windows and the only spaces by which air or light could enter once the doors were fast. This great length of the waiting trains, always coiling away somewhere and always partly lost to sight, was in itself terrifying to the imagination. Those about to be deported were brought to the stations heavily guarded: for the most part loaded unto armoured cars, but also, when these gave out, on sledges and on little country carts shaped like tumbrils, ordinarily used for the carting of dung.

The roofs of the cars were piled with fresh snow but the ground all about was trampled and fouled. The trains, after being loaded, often stood for days before leaving, and the tracks along which they stood would become piled with excrement and yellow and boggy from the urine running down off the floors. Against the background of white, the silhouettes of the NKVD soldiers were shaggy and outlandish... .Each soldier carried a fixed bayonet at the end of his rifle. Immense crowds of people swayed backwards and forwards. The soldiers with their bayonets forced back all except those who were to leave on the trains... .Families were broken up all the time, husbands and wives separated, children being pushed into one part of the train while their parents were pushed into another.

One in ten died on the way, first the old and the infirm, then the nursing babies. The dead were thrown off the cars when the train stopped; weather permitting, they were sometimes hastily dug into the ground. Their families were never given the chance to bury their loved ones.

Survivors' memoirs and thousands of reports in archives around the world testify to this systematic and planned destruction of the Polish population. The political and military leadership, other representatives of the Polish state, teachers, and many members of the clergy were immediately arrested when the Soviets arrived. The political officers accompanying the Red Army brought with them lists of names which had been prepared in advance.

Those arrested were tried and condemned to the vast Gulag Archipelago, unless they were executed by decree, simply gunned down in their cells, or died on death marches in front of the advancing German troops in 1941. Other victims were shot in the back of the head, like the Polish officers at Katyn, or were otherwise disposed off.

The mass of Polish soldiers taken as prisoners of war, like the deported families, were subjected to a planned starvation. While still at home, Hank had seen the emaciated Polish soldiers building roads. He and his mother had tried to help them as much as they could. Hank, his family, and thousands of others were soon to experience hunger themselves. The insufficient food supply for the deportees during their transport cannot be explained by poor organization. Their rations had been fixed well in advance like everything else: the equipment, the trains, and the personnel required. At their destination abysmal shelters and lack of adequate provisions greeted the deportees.

Jan T. Gross observed that "the substance of their experience was in their struggle for survival. To die of cold, excessive heat, hunger, thirst, lice infestation, foul air, dirt, or diarrhea takes time and makes people succumb in stages, while putting up a fight. Some suffered more, some less, depending on climate, and on what the raiding party allowed them to take from home. It, finally, added up to death for some, torment for a great many, and mere discomfort for a happy few. The deportees were tortured in earnest; they were truly wasted."

It was early in the morning of February 10, 1940, and still dark outside. Hank's mother answered the pounding on the door. Two Russian soldiers with fixed bayonets and an official-looking man in civilian clothes stood at the door. They pushed their way past her and ordered: "Get into the kitchen!" The official had a list compiled by local Soviet sympathizers. He read off their names: Hank's mother's, Hank's, and his sister's.

"Get together what you can carry. Be ready in half an hour," he commanded.

"You're not on the list. You can stay," he said to Hank's grandmother.

"I am going with them," she replied.

Hank's grandmother was not surprised. Ever since that morning when, standing in her kitchen, the Russian officer had told Hank's mother "You better get away," his grandmother knew what to expect. As a young woman during the reign of the last tsar, she had heard about transports and exile, about the knock on the door under the cover of darkness, and the long treks to somewhere in Siberia. White tsar or Red, it always was the same: crowding, toil, and hunger. Occasionally someone came back after years of exile. She firmly believed that God would protect her. Thanks to her practical sense and her ability to concentrate on the task at hand she always knew what to do in a time of crisis. Almost instinctively she knew how to act, not aggressively, not as a fighter, but ever resourceful she became acutely

aware of the needs and opportunities offered by a given occasion and applied herself to the demands of the situation. In other words, she took charge.

The children were told to dress quickly and as warmly as possible. She told Hank's mother what to pack: clothes, bedding, and all the food they could carry. Hank's mother followed her instructions mechanically She spread a bed sheet onto which they dumped everything. They left the pillows behind; clothing and kitchen utensils were more important.

His grandmother took the coffee mill. Though she did not expect to have any coffee to grind, she knew she would find use for it. They packed the bread they had just baked for the week ahead; they were out of meat already, and potatoes or canned goods were too heavy to carry There was neither place nor time for nonessentials, but they took a few photographs. Hank brought his favorite book on nature and his wristwatch. His savings account book? No, there would be no need for it, though it still had 38 zloty in his account. His sister sat on a chair in the kitchen quietly crying. All this took place under the eyes of the Russian soldiers. They stood and watched; neither of the soldiers offered to help, but every so often one said: "Take what you need, but take only what you can carry."

Hank sneaked outside. The guards did not pay any attention. He wanted to say good-by to a girl next door, a schoolmate. One of seven children in the family she had a badly deformed back, and Hank always looked upon her with particular affection. As he had done so many times before, he crawled through a hole in the fence and past a few bushes to get to her house. But the house was dark, and nobody answered his knock. "I could run away and hide like dad," Hank thought, but he felt he could not leave his mother or sister. And so he returned home.

Half an hour is a short time in which to gather one's essentials and to bid farewell to one's home. Soon creaking wheels and clopping hooves approached their house, then suddenly stopped. A horse snorted. The soldiers told them to take their things and leave the house. Outside they heard subdued sobbing and lamenting. An infant was crying. In front of the house stood a horse-drawn wagon requisitioned from a farmer nearby. Two families were already on it. The soldiers helped Hank and his family mount the wagon and threw their bundles after them.

When the wagon started to roll Hank looked back at his house. Perhaps someday they could come back. He hoped the neighbors would milk the cow.

The ride to the railroad station was short. Their wagon rolled down a ramp, jolted and bumped across the tracks, and halted at the farthest siding. A long train of freight cars stood guarded by armed soldiers. Hank and his family were made to climb into one of the cars with their packs of clothes and bedding. A number of people had come before them. Most sat silently on their belongings, some stared at the floor, others sobbed. A few wailed and carried on for a while, but they soon fell silent too.

Hank and his family put their things into a free corner and sat down. His sister buried her face into the folds of her mother's coat. Nobody spoke. Those who came later had to make do with an open space in the center. Eventually 78 of them crowded together in the freight car with no room to spare. Except for two old men from Busk, all were women and children. One of the men was a machinist, the other, a tool and die maker. There were no bunks; there was no straw. Someone produced a hatchet and began to chop a hole in the floor. They needed a toilet. At first people turned their backs when someone had to use it, but as time went on a blank stare into the distance provided at least a semblance of privacy This was only the first step in the continuing degradation of their lives.

When the freight car was filled with the designated number of people, the door was slammed shut and locked with an iron bar on the outside. This defined the rest of the day for the captives.

"Slamming the door shut and the clank of the bar falling into place were the most awful sounds--we all cried out," Hank vividly remembered.

Their frightening day had begun with the shouts and the sharp rap on the door before dawn. Now it had ended like this, even though daylight still filtered through the small, grated window--their only connection to the world outside.

They were prisoners. The affront and the injustice of it all grated on Hank. It made him furious. Later, when someone would ask him to pinpoint the time that he became conscious of his hatred for the Soviets, he would choose that precise moment.

For three days Hank's train sat on the siding waiting for its quota of prisoners to be met. For three days they received neither food nor water. They heard other people arrive and saw some of them through the small window; they heard other wagon doors being shut. Every so often another car would be added to the train and jolt them out of their daze.

At one time a woman's voice called from outside and a young woman in their car got up and passed her newborn infant through the barred window. The baby was small enough to fit through the space between two iron rods. Hank caught a glimpse of a woman running across the field with the baby in her arms. Then someone pulled him away and covered his eyes. He heard shouts, then a shot. Soon the baby was passed back through the bars to its mother. Hank does not recall how long it survived. His sister, then five years old, would be one of the youngest children in their group to leave Soviet Russia alive. And she was far from being the youngest child on that train.

Finally the train started to roll. Where to? Nobody told them. For how long? Nobody knew, and the guards would not answer any questions. Still numbed by the sudden change in their lives they sat or stood about. Denial was not possible, although some may have tried to console themselves by thinking that this might be a bad dream from which they would soon awaken. The swaying of the moving car, the rhythmic beat of the wheels, the sounds and the smells of its occupants, the impossibility of stretching one's cramped limbs without crowding one's neighbor, forced the reality of their situation into their consciousness at every turn. What was going to happen to them? Very few words passed between them.

His new surroundings terrified Hank. He felt lost. He missed his father. Where had he gone? Thinking about him filled Hank with apprehension and fear.

Soon death, too, came. It crept in with the moans of the sick and stayed with them through their final struggle for breath. Covering Hank's eyes with their hands or their coats, his mother or grand mother tried to shield him as much as possible from the dead and the dying and from seeing the soldiers remove the corpses. Yet they could not close his ears to the sobs, the crying, and the prayers of the family of the deceased. Hank soon became aware that death and dying were to become his constant companions. This only deepened his worry about his father. His sister remained silent and kept hiding her face in her mother's or her grandmother's coat. His mother tried to maintain her composure, but the tears welling up in her eyes betrayed her sad ness, a sadness Hank could not help but notice. Giving words to their despair, many said: "That's it--the end. We have no way out." Hank's grandmother stood apart. She was the exception. She was their rock. "Let us pray to get through this," she said.

They first ate what they had brought along. Not until they stopped in Kiey, after four days travel and some 250 miles to the east, were they given food: a weak soup containing a few cabbage leaves, a piece of potato here and there, and a little barley. They were also handed a small piece of coarse and heavy bread. The train had stopped on a sid ing. When the doors were opened they saw the cupolas of an Orthodox church. Many started to cry, others prayed. Someone began to sing a psalm and soon everyone joined in.

From then on, every morning and every evening the train stopped, the doors were unlocked, the watery soup with a little bread and drinking water were portioned out, and the guards removed the corpses of those who had died since the last stop. Hunger and death were constant, but worse still were the uncertainty and the worry about the future.

Cold, hungry, and nearly smothered by the smell of unwashed bod ies, they rolled day after day, monotonously, through the flat lands of eastern Russia. At one time somebody said: "We have just crossed the Volga." Later they saw mountains. Still later the train passed through an endless expanse of forests. Few cared, numb to their surroundings, numb to time. Thanks to his grandmother's resilient spirit and his own growing sense of resistance, even adventure, in the depth of his soul Hank was convinced that God would take care of him and that some day he would get out of Russia--that he knew for certain. As this conviction deepened, his fear left him. "There is nothing to be afraid of any longer. They took away everything already There's nothing else they can do to me," he said to himself.

Had they traveled two weeks? Or three? Was it the end of February, or already one of the first days of March? They had lost all track of time. One day, the train stopped and did not start up again: they had come to the end of the railroad. Deep snow still covered the ground. This was Siberia.

KLAUS HERGT, MD, grew up in Weimar, Germany under the Nazi regime. After the war, he experienced the Soviet rule firsthand in East Germany, and later visits to Czechoslovakia and Latvia deepened his insights into life in Soviet occupied countries. His observations and experiences have made him keenly aware of the fate of the individual under totalitarian rule.
Klaus Hergt is a retired surgeon and now a hospice physician in northern Michigan.

Published by Crescent Lake Publishing, Cheboygan, Michigan;
Price $27.95 Excerpt reprinted by permission.


Instructions of the Soviet Deputy Commissar
for Public Security, Serov


Regarding the Procedure for carrying out the Deportation of
Anti-Soviet Elements from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia


(Translated In London from the original Russian Text)


The deportation of anti-Soviet elements from the Baltic Republics is a task of great political importance. Its successful execution depends upon the extent to which the district operative "troikas" and operative headquarters are capable of carefully working out a plan for implementing the operations and for anticipating everything indispensable. Moreover, care must be taken that the operations are carried out without disturbance and panic, so as not to permit any demonstrations and other troubles not only on the part of those to be deported, but also on the part of a certain sec tion of the surrounding population hostile to the Soviet administration.

Instructions as to the procedure for conducting the operations are given below They should be adhered to, but in individual cases the collaborators engaged in carrying out the operations shall take into account the special character of the concrete conditions of such operations and, in order correctly to appraise the situation, may and must adopt other decisions directed to the same end, viz., to fulfill the task entrusted to them without noise and panic.


The instructing of operative groups by the district "troikas" [a body con sisting of three members] shall be done as speedily as possible on the day before the beginning of the operations, taking into consideration the time necessary for traveling to the scene of operations.

The district "troika" shall previously prepare the necessary transport for conveyance of the operative groups in the village to the scene of opera tions. On the question of allocating the necessary number of motor-cars and wagons for transport, the district "troikas" shall consult the leaders of the Soviet party organized on the spot.

Premises for the issue of instructions must be carefully prepared in advance, and their capacity, exits and entrances and the possibility of intrusion by strangers must be considered.

Whilst instructions are being issued the building must be securely guarded by operative workers.

Should anybody from among those participating in the operations fail to appear for instructions, the district "troika" shall at once take steps to replace the absentee from a reserve which shall be provided in advance.

Through police officers the "troika" shall notify those assembled of the Government's decision to deport a prescribed contingent of anti-Soviet elements from the territory of the said republic or region. Moreover, they shall briefly explain what the deportees represent.

The special attention of the (local) Soviet party workers gathered for instruc tions shall be drawn to the fact that the deportees are enemies of the Soviet people [author's emphasis] and that, therefore, the possibility of an armed attack on the part of the deportees cannot be excluded.


After the general instruction of the operative groups, documents regard ing the deportees should be issued to such groups. The deportees' personal files must be previously collected and distributed among the operative groups, by communes and villages, so that when they are being given out there shall be no delays.

After receipt of the personal files, the senior member of the operative group shall acquaint himself with the personal affairs of the families which he will have to deport. He shall, moreover, ascertain the composition of the family, the supply of essential forms for completion regarding the deportee, the supply of transport for conveyance of the deportee, and he shall receive exhaustive answers to questions not clear to him.

Simultaneously with the issuing of documents, the district "troika" shall explain to each senior member of the operative group where the families to be deported are situated and shall describe the route to be followed to the place of deportation. The roads to be taken by the operative personnel with the deported families to the railway station for entrainment must also be indicated. It is also essential to indicate where reserve military groups are stationed, should it become necessary to call them out during trouble of any kind.

The possession and state of arms and ammunition of the entire operative personnel shall be checked. Weapons must be in complete battle readiness and magazine loaded, but the cartridge shall not be slipped into the rifle breach. Weapons shall be used only in the last resort, when the operative group is attacked or threatened with attack or when resistance is offered.


If the deportation of several families is being carried out in a settled locality, one of the operative workers shall be appointed senior as regards deportation in that village, and under his direction the operative personnel shall proceed to the villages in question.

On arrival in the villages, the operative groups shall get in touch (observing the necessary secrecy) with the local authorities: the chairman, secretary or members of the village Soviets, and shall ascertain from them the exact dwelling place of the families to be deported. After this the operative groups, together with the representatives of the local authorities, who shall be appointed to make an inventory of property, shall proceed to the dwellings of the families to be deported.

Operations shall be begun at daybreak. Upon entering the home of the person to be deported, the senior member of the operative group shall assemble the entire family of the deportee into one room, taking all necessary precautionary measures against any possible trouble.

After the members of the family have been checked in conformity with the list, the location of those absent and the number of sick persons shall be ascertained, after which they shall be called upon to give up their weapons. Irrespective of whether or not any weapons are delivered, the deportee shall be personally searched and then the entire premises shall be searched in order to discover hidden weapons.

During the search of the premises one of the members of the operative group shall be appointed to keep watch over the deportees.

Should the search disclose hidden weapons in small quantities, these shall be collected by the operative groups and distributed among them. If many weapons are discovered, they shall be piled into the wagon or motor-car which has brought the operative group, after any ammunition in them has been removed. Ammunition shall be packed and loaded together with rifles.

If necessary, a convoy for transporting the weapons shall be mobilized with an adequate guard.

In the event of the discovery of weapons, counter-revolutionary pamphlets, literature, foreign currency, large quantities of valuables, etc., a brief report of search shall be drawn up on the spot, wherein the hidden weapons or counter-revolutionary literature shall be indicated. If there is any armed resistance, the question of the necessity of arresting the parties showing such armed resistance and of sending them to the district branch of the People's Commissariat of Public Security shall be decided by the district "troikas."

A report shall be drawn up regarding those deportees in hiding or sick ones, and this report shall be signed by the representative of the Soviet party organization. After completion of the search the deportees shall be notified that by a Government decision they will be deported to other regions of the Union. The deportees shall be permitted to take with them household necessities not exceeding 100 kilograms in weight:

1. Suit.
2. Shoes.
3. Underwear.
4. Bedding.
5. Dishes.
6. Glassware.
7. Kitchen utensils.
8. Food -- an estimated month's supply.
9. Money in their possession.
10. Trunk or box in which to pack articles.
It is not recommended that large articles be taken.

If the contingent is deported from rural districts, they shall be allowed to take with them small agricultural stocks--axes, saws and other articles, which shall be tied together and packed separately from the other articles, so that when boarding the deportation train they may be loaded into spe cial goods wagons.

In order not to mix them with articles belonging to others, the Christian name, patronymic and surname of the deportee and name of the village shall be written on the packed property.

When loading these articles into the carts, measures shall be taken so that the deportee cannot make use of them for purposes of resistance while the column is moving along the highway.

Simultaneously with the task of loading by the operative groups, the representatives of the Soviet party organizations present at the time shall prepare an inventory of the property and of the manner of its protection in conformity with the instructions received by them.

If the deportee possesses his own means of transport, his property shall be loaded into the vehicle and together with his family shall be sent to the designated place of entrainment.

If the deportees are without any means of transport, carts shall be mobi lized in the village by the local authorities, as instructed by the senior member of the operative group.

All persons entering the home of the deportee during the execution of the operations or found there at the moment of these operations must be detained until the conclusion of the operations, and their relationship to the deportee shall be ascertained. This is done in order to disclose per sons hiding from the police, gendarmes and other persons.

After verification of the identity of the detained persons and establishment of the fact that they are persons in whom the contingent is not interested, they shall be liberated.

If the inhabitants of the village begin to gather around the deportee's home while operations are in progress, they shall be called upon to dis perse to their own homes, and crowds shall not be permitted to form.

If the deportee refuses to open the door of his home, notwithstanding that he is aware that the members of the People's Commissariat of Public Security have arrived, the door must be broken down. In individual cases neighboring operative groups carrying out operations in that locality shall be called upon to help.

The delivery of the deportees from the village to the meeting place at the railway station must be effected during daylight; care, moreover, should be taken that the assembling of every family shall not last more than two hours. In all cases throughout the operations firm and decisive action shall be taken, without the slightest excitement, noise and panic.

It is categorically forbidden to take any articles away from the deportees except weapons, counter-revolutionary literature and foreign currency, as also to make use of the food of the deportees.

All participants in the operations must be warned that they will be held legally accountable for attempts to appropriate individual articles belonging to the deportees.


In view of the fact that a large number of deportees must be arrested and distributed in special camps and that their families must proceed to special settlements in distant regions, it is essential that the operation of removal of both the members of the deportee's family and its head should be carried out simultaneously, without notifying them of the separation confronting them. After the domiciliary search has been carried out and the appropriate identification documents have been drawn up in the deportee's home, the operative worker shall complete the documents for the head of the family and deposit them in the latter's personal ifie, but the documents drawn up for members of his family shall be deposited in the personal file of the deportee's family.

The convoy of the entire family to the station shall, however, be effected in one vehicle and only at the station of departure shall the head of the family be placed separately from his family in a car specially intended for heads of families.

During the assembling (of the family) in the home of the deportee the head of the family shall be warned that personal male effects must be packed in a separate suitcase, as a sanitary inspection of the deported men will be made separately from the women and children. At the stations of entrainment heads of families subject to arrest shall be loaded into cars specially allotted for them, which shall be indicated by operative workers appointed for that purpose.


The assistants conveying the column of deportees in horse-carts are strictly forbidden to sit in the said carts. The assistants must follow along side and behind the column of deportees. The senior assistant of the convoy shall from time to time go the rounds of the entire column to check the correcmess of movement.

When the column of deportees is passing through inhabited places or when encountering passersby, the convoy must be controlled with partic ular care; those in charge must see that no attempts are made to escape, and no conversation of any kind shall be permitted between the deportees and passersby.


At each point of entrainment a member of the operative "troika" and a person specially appointed for that purpose shall be responsible for entrainment.

On the day of entrainment the chief of the entrainment point, together with the chief of the deportation train and of the conveying military forces of the People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs, shall examine the railway cars provided in order to see that they are supplied with everything necessary, and the chief of the entrainment point shall agree with the chief of the deportation train on the procedure to be observed by the latter in accepting delivery of the deportees.

Red Army men of the conveying forces of the People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs shall surround the entrainment station.

The senior member of the operative group shall deliver to the chief of the deportation train one copy of the nominal roll of the deportees in each railway-car. The chief of the deportation train shall, in conformity with this list, call out the name of each deportee, shall carefully check every name and assign the deportee's place in the railway-car.

The deportees' effects shall be loaded into the car, together with the deportees, with the exception of the small agricultural inventory, which shall be loaded in a separate car.

The deportees shall be loaded into railway-cars by families; it is not permitted to break up a family (with the exception of heads of families subject to arrest). An estimate of twenty-five persons to a car should be observed.

After the railway-car has been filled with the necessary number of families, it shall be locked.

After the people have been taken over and placed in the deportation train, the chief of the train shall bear responsibility for all persons handed over to him and for their delivery to their destination.

After handing over the deportees the senior member of the operative group shall draw up a report on the operation carried out by him and shall address it to the chief of the district operative "troika." The report shall briefly indicate the name of the deportee, whether any weapons and counter-revolutionary literature have been discovered, and also how the operation was carried out. After having placed the deportees on the deportation train and having submitted reports of the results of the operations thus discharged, the members of the operative group shall be considered free and shall act in accordance with the instructions of the chief of the district branch of the People's Commissariat of Public Security.


Commissar of Public Security of the Third Rank.

(Signed) SEROV

Original Reference:

US Congress. House. Report of the Select Committee to Investigate Communist Aggression and the Forced Incorporation of the Baltic States into the USSR. Third Interim Report, pp. 464-68. Washington: G.P.O., 1954. (original, US House of Representatives, files of Baltic Committee, Exhibit 16-H of 12.X.53.)

Note: The procedure of the deportations from Poland followed essentially the same rules. How they were applied in individual cases depended on the personal attitudes of the members of the troika; in instances liberally, particularly if the people to be deported had the presence of mind to dispense vodka, in other instances extremely harshly and without any regard for the conditions of their victims.


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