Concilium Civitas Almanac 2020/2021 – Professor Jan Tomasz Gross „Ma, Give Me Some Food” –

Ma, Give Me Some Food[1]

Jan Tomasz Gross

Who were the Soviet officials who were given the task of administering the occupied lands of the Polish Republic[2] in 1939–41? Where were they from and how did they set about their task? To whom among the locals did they offer cooperation and on what terms? And what came of it?

In seeking answers to these questions, let us start with the simple statement that human behaviour is conditioned by one’s accumulated life experience. Because the Second World War broke out 20 years after the October Revolution, those arriving in Poland in autumn 1939 from the USSR had spent all or nearly all of their adult lives in the Soviet Union. Two experiences of Soviet people of the 1920s and 1930s seem to me to have been the most formative. First, as a consequence of communist war economy and collectivization, all of the people of the USSR were affected by poverty. Apart from poverty, often extreme poverty ­– three to four million people died of starvation in Ukraine alone from 1933 to 1935 – the second most important experience of Soviet citizens[3] was terror, the so-called Great Purge, and the fear it caused.

The wave of repressions in the second half of the 1930s covered by that term culled the apparatus of the Soviet party and state as well as the officer corps of the Red Army and, although it opened up unexpected prospects of promotion for many, it was also a memento mori for all, quite literally. In 1937–8 the NKVD, the Soviet political police, executed or tortured during interrogation 700,000–800,000 USSR citizens. During that time, Joseph Stalin singled out in particular the party, administration and military elites as victims. Of the 139 members of the Central Committee who had been elected at the 17th Party Congress in 1934 – colloquially termed the Victors’ Congress – 98 had already been arrested or shot when the delegates gathered in Moscow at the successive 18th Congress in autumn 1939.[4]

‘Ruling serfs’ (slaves exercising power) – absolute rulers of their subordinate employees, while at the same time completely defenceless against those higher in the hierarchy of the party and officialdom – was the term used by the historian of Soviet Russia Moshe Levin, when writing about Soviet apparatchiks. The contemporary term ‘precariat’ perfectly conveys the situation of the Soviet party and administrative personnel, which – both in the occupied and the indigenous areas of the USSR – was entirely deprived of any guarantees or safeguards.[5]

Documents preserved in Soviet archives regarding the conquest of the Polish Kresy (Borderlands) include a description of a row between Nikita Khrushchev, the first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party (Bolshevik) of Ukraine, and Ivan Serov (1905–90), the head of the NKVD in Ukraine, that well illustrates what has been said here.

A fierce argument on the outskirts of Lwów (now Lviv)

In September 1939 Serov arrived in Poland with the Red Army’s front-line units. By the evening of 18 September, he was already in Tarnopol (now Ternopil), from where he reported to his superior, Lavrentiy Beria (1899–1953), about a night-time gun battle between Soviet units.[6] Four days later, on 22 September, he assisted in Lwów’s act of capitulation signed by General Władysław Langner (1896–1972). In Lwów, just like in Tarnopol, Soviet troops were unable to maintain discipline and fratricidal shootings broke out at night.[7] There was total disorder and, as Serov writes, ‘wartime pillaging started, to which the senior officers failed to react in any way’.[8]

The next day, Serov attended the headquarters of Semyon Timoshenko (1895–1970), who was commanding the Ukrainian Front, where he met Khrushchev. Timoshenko was at that very moment raging because he had not received any reports for three days on the state of the army and had just found out that three quarters of the tanks sent on Lwów had already broken down and been left somewhere along the route: out of 160, only 40 had neared the city and were able to move unaided. Khrushchev – also tense, because conquering a neighbouring country was a completely new venture and as head of the party in Ukraine he would certainly be accountable afterwards to Stalin for its success – joined in the row by dressing down the front’s main NKVD officer, Mikheyev, for shirking in rear headquarters instead of working. (This was actually untrue, because Mikheyev and Serov had, after all, been accompanying the Red Army’s frontline troops.) Serov related the incident his report:

Comrade Mikheyev replied that he was working, to which Khrushchev responded: ‘What kind of work is that: you haven’t shot anybody.’ To which Mikheyev replied that ‘12 persons were shot in Złoczów, and we don’t shoot if there is no case’.[9] Everyone then travelled to Lwów and the conversation turned to the ‘scandalous deeds that the commanding cadres were getting up to with looted cars and bicycles. It’s as if Khrushchev was only waiting for an excuse to get at me.’  That day I sent back to Tarnopol the M-1 car that I had been using, together with a report for comrade [Vsevolod] Merkulov [(1895–1953), deputy head of the NKVD of the USSR]; therefore, for my journey to Winniki [now Vynnyky (where the Red Army’s staff was stationed)] I took a car from the Polish military police’s garage that had come into our operational group’s possession. Khrushchev saw the car and, addressing me in an excited voice, said: ‘You too should hand your car over to the garrison and use the one you are entitled to.’ I replied to him that I had sent my car with a report, and that no other cars were available for my use there. ‘Then you should walk’, answered Khrushchev.

I was surprised by the sharpness of Khrushchev’s tone, but I refrained from responding. He later also said he was dissatisfied with the NKVD’s work, so I asked him to back that up with specific examples, but Comrade Khrushchev did not want to continue talking about it.

But that was not the end of their conversation. The next day (Serov did not send Beria a report on his conversations with Khrushchev until 24 September) at a meeting with Timoshenko that was about something completely different, Khrushchev stood up at a certain point and turned once more to Serov:

‘Serov, I must tell you that I am disappointed with the work of the NKVD and the department for cadres’ [as we recall, he had berated Mikheyev, the army’s NKVD chief, the day before]. I asked him to tell me specifically what those shortcomings were, to which Khrushchev replied: ‘Well, it’s you, as NKVD employees, who have overindulged yourselves with cars and are careering around in them, setting a foolish example to others.

I calmly asked him to specify who had ‘overindulged’ on what kinds of cars, whereupon he shouted: ‘You yourself are driving around in someone else’s car and I have already informed Comrade [Grigorij] Malenkov [1902–88] about it.’ I replied that I had already explained the circumstances to him once, and if he wished I could repeat them again. To which Khrushchev retorted: ‘I don’t want to listen to this, you are all lying.’

When I asked him to expand on this remark, because it was offensive, Khrushchev started yelling at me in a hysterical voice, cursing without restraint and saying that all of us were at headquarters, we had seen the old, hostile methods of the Chekists and we continued to apply them. I was outraged by what he had said and cautioned him to mark his words and declared that the old, hostile NKVD methods had already been eliminated and that if they were still being used somewhere they would soon be changed, so therefore the conversation was of no consequence. Whereupon Khrushchev became indignant and responded: ‘You dodger, we know full well that your employees are trying to take control of the leadership of the party.’[10] After which there was almost a fistfight. And then finally both men calmed down.

Serov’s report, written with great panache, is a real treat for historians because of the main characters who appear in it. Although the final outcome of the situation those events’ protagonists found themselves in was a foregone conclusion – Poland would be divided between Germany and the USSR – nonetheless, it was their responsibility to ensure that the Soviets did what was expected from them efficiently and quickly. But it was impossible to plan or even anticipate day-to-day developments during the war. Therefore they were very agitated, their nerves fraying, and we are allowed in on a row – a spontaneous exchange – between two figures from the immediate circle of the most powerful apparatchiks in the Soviet Union. Records of such situations in the ritualized and carefully directed practice of Soviet collective scenes are rare. And what we learn is very interesting.

It turns out, for example, that the first instinct of the scene’s involuntary protagonists is to make accusations against each other to those ranked even higher: Khrushchev informs on Serov to Malenkov (Stalin’s closest associate at that time, alongside Lavrentiy Beria and Vyacheslav Molotov [1890–1986]), and Serov on Khrushchev to Beria. As in the Soviet joke, even in this milieu, everyone anticipates that his interlocutor will file a denunciation and tries to protect himself by being the first one to do so. As a result, at the very peak of the pyramid of power – in the final analysis, Stalin himself as the highest ranking apparatchik – information accumulates that will discredit each one of them.

The attacker is undoubtedly Khrushchev and we find in what he says an echo of the recent bloodletting in the party’s apparatus and the Red Army’s officer cadre. That is why the first target was Mikheyev, because an NKVD officer at headquarters is someone who, instead of taking part in the fight, stands guard over the propriety of the military commanders’ thinking. Whereas the allegation against Serov was explicit: you are trying to subjugate the party! Then, in the next sentence, a very dangerous accusation is made, because the ‘old, hostile methods’ that Khrushchev imputes to Serov are what is called ‘Yezhovshchina’, while Nikolai Yezhov himself (1895–1940), who was on Stalin’s orders the executor of the Great Purge and the head of the NKVD until November 1938, was already in prison by then and would be executed within several months. Yezhov’s trusted NKVD officers were due for elimination, because a purge of the organs of state security was already under way.

Serov and Khrushchev were, incidentally, on good terms and were to have a long and fruitful working relationship. In 1954, when Nikita Khrushchev became the first secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union after Stalin’s death, Serov took the position of head of the secret police (KGB). So it was not personal aversion but institutional conflicts, which Stalin stage-managed to keep the Soviet apparatchiks in a state of uncertainty, that were at the root of the row in the suburbs of Lwów. Like all high-ranking party activists, Khrushchev had just been through a period of great fear of the NKVD. Following that trauma, he was probably overreacting during a short spell in which he felt relatively secure – because the turn had come for a purge of NKVD officers – reminding his colleague that a master’s good grace could be fickle. So, from the first days of the Soviet invasion, the main protagonists were seeing and shaping the sequence of events through the prism of experience gained from building communism in the USSR. And the essence of that experience was, simply, fear.

Fear permeated Soviet apparatchiks, from the bottom to the very top of the pyramid of power. Khrushchev describes in his diaries how the Brilliant Linguist (Stalin) humiliated members of the party’s Politburo by, for example, making them dance with each other at all-night banquets. In another example, Andrey Vyshinsky (1883–1954), a brutal prosecutor in Moscow’s most important trials of the 1930s, would, as post-war minister of justice, personally report to Stalin every Thursday. As that day of the week loomed, he would sink ever deeper into despondency. It was general knowledge at the ministry that more difficult matters could only be resolved with him on Fridays, when, with the prospect of the next visit to Stalin a whole week away, his good mood returned.[11]

This paralysing fear that affected Stalin’s closest associates may have even contributed to his death in March 1953. When the leader suffered a stroke at his villa in Kuntsevo, neither the security guards nor the Politburo members dared enter his office uninvited or summon doctors without permission. So he lay there for two days deprived of all help.[12]

In quoting the argument between Serov and Khrushchev, I would like to make it clear to readers that the most important issue for officials and party activists who were posted to work in the newly conquered areas was the political context that Soviet reality created. Regardless of where they were ordered to take up their posts – in Georgia, Kazakhstan or Western Ukraine – the same rules were in force. They were subject to party discipline and to the norms and practices of Soviet offices everywhere, and similar dangers awaited them in all locations. For the sake of their careers – and even just to stay alive – they had to behave as they did and not otherwise.

The impoverished Red Army

On the other hand, every place and every territory where employees of the Soviet apparatus were to carry out tasks had its own particular characteristics. The experience that ploughed through the consciousness of Soviet soldiers and later also of party activists and officials arriving to take up posts in the occupied territories was the encountering of a wealth that exceeded their comprehension, compared to the misery that they experienced daily in their homeland. I quote from Czesław Miłosz’s Native Realm:

In 1940, pretending to be asleep, I listened in on two commissars talking on a Russian train about the territory the Soviet Union had acquired through the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact –

those two Alices in Wonderland shared their impressions about the very poorest counties [the eastern part of the country was referred to as ‘Poland B’, being particularly backward in terms of cultural and material poverty]. But their wonder was not friendly. It was a mixture of jealousy and anger.[13]

Polish citizens’ diary entries include many ironic references to the behaviour of Soviet newcomers who were stunned by the abundance that had unexpectedly, after crossing the Polish border, come within their grasp. ‘The population looked at them as if they were record breakers’, wrote a teacher in Stanisławów, ‘one of them was able to eat 30 to 40 cakes at one sitting and then took the same amount back to barracks.’[14] ‘At the market in Zdołbunów [now Zdolbuniv] I saw those Soviets eating eggs in their shells, horseradishes, beetroots and other vegetables. The peasant women were bursting with laughter and joy.’[15] A certain lady from the Kostopole area wrote, ‘after they entered, the Red Army soldiers bought everything the shops had for sale, for example brassières for use as earmuffs’.[16]

A teacher in the Polish town of Braszewicze (now Brasevitsy) summarized the situation at that time in just one sentence, very aptly it seems, when he wrote that with the Red Army’s entry into Poland, ‘the hungry world came into contact with the satiated’.[17] While Telesfor Kaczmarek, who found the huge purchases that the Soviet soldiers made after they occupied Pińsk (now Pinsk) ‘comic’, provided, as if in passing, an accurate explanation for this phenomenon: ‘As it later turned out, those people were used to the fact that one should always buy up everything in one go, because in a moment there would be nothing left.’[18]

An interesting supplement to this picture may be found in Soviet sources. When a group of officers from the 58th Infantry Division arrived in Kołomyja (now Kolomyia) on 9 October 1939 to set up their quarters and plan the deployment of their units, their attention was caught by the huge queues in front of the shops. The local population standing there was interspersed with Soviet soldiers and officers. This is how it was described in the 58thDivision’s combat log:

Our commanders and political commissars went up to and called out individual commanders and Red Army soldiers of the 146th Division from those queues. At the medical battalion located in one of the military hospitals in Kołomyja, they saw a doctor distributing to the workers of the medical battalion industrial goods that had been purchased in the town. It turned out that the commanders of the 146th Infantry Division had allowed unrestrained buying [the word used here, baracholstwo (hand-to-mouth trade), derives from barachlo (rags, bric-a-brac) and has a pejorative connotation], and the soldiers spent the whole day buying everything in the town that they came across. The locals, seeing that nothing would remain for them, started queuing to buy up the last items. The prices rose. There was great dissatisfaction among the town’s population, and this was a poor testimonial for the Red Army and the Soviet Union. The 146th Division’s command was warned the same day that baracholstwo was unacceptable, but the same thing happened also the next day.[19]

The 146th Division was leaving a large town and there was no guarantee that the goods on sale would be as good at the next stopover. By releasing the military into the town, the commander gained their gratitude and avoided the trouble of disciplining the crowd of soldiery, which would have taken off to the shops anyway.

The release of soldiers into town so that they could go shopping would remain a sensitive issue long after the pre-war goods had disappeared from the shops. An NKVD report of 8 July 1940 on the ‘moral and political shortcomings in the 35th Infantry Corps’ quotes a statement by a soldier of the 3rd Section, 4th Light Tank Brigade: ‘they won’t let us go into town because the commanders haven’t yet nabaracholili’s [filled their boots] and taken all they want from the shops. Once they have, they will let us go.’ A second lieutenant said a similar thing in a conversation with a political commissar in the same brigade: ‘You see, we are not allowed to go into town, whereas the battalion’s commander and the commissioner can go every day and baracholit’sa [buy without restraint] and what’s more, they also get drunk.’[20]

But the soldiers of the Red Army that entered Poland in 1939 were simply hungry.

Take, for instance, the scene near Mołodeczno (now Maladzyechna) where in September 1939 the entering Red Army soldiers would first ask the locals the question ‘Are there any nobles here?’ After all, they were on a mission to free the Ukrainian and Belarusian people from exploitation by the Polish nobles, but then immediately they would ask for something to eat: mamasha, dawaj kuszat’ (ma, give me some food).[21] The locals did not remember this as an act of looting (at least in this case), but as a request for help. Franciszek Pilinko, of Dejnowa in the Białystok region, was digging potatoes in the field when the Red Army came down the road. Soldiers ‘carrying rifles on strings, covered in dirt, asked for sala pokuszat (some bacon fat to eat). They were walking in great numbers, but in twos and threes, not in a tight formation … They came to the village and it was clear that they needed to be fed. But they didn’t do anything bad, no robbing, no rape.’[22]

In fact, it was not just the military who were suffering from hunger, but also the animals they had with them. The Soviet soldiers’ ‘external appearance seemed frightening to us: pale and wretched-looking, with torn boots, patched and frayed coats, [they arrived] on small skinny horses that were barely able to stand’.[23] This recollection by Polonia Oberda of the Krugiel settlement in Kowel county has been repeated in various forms by witnesses from the whole area occupied by the Red Army. ‘On 20 September, three days after the Germans left, we look and see six Bolsheviks riding along on horses’ – this time I quote a peasant woman from the village of Myszyna in Kobryń county. She continued: ‘We were stricken by fear, all the blood froze in our veins, we were sure they were coming to murder us because we hadn’t put up a welcoming gate or even hung out a red flag, but they just changed their horses, took our good ones and rode away, leaving theirs behind.’[24] A young farmer from the impoverished noblemen’s village of Michaliszki, near Wilejka, remembered how:

when the Soviet army entered I was ploughing a field, and one of them stopped and approached, demanding that I give him my horse, but I was so scared I couldn’t answer him, so he took my horse and left me his, which was no good for anything. When my father then caught up with them and demanded the return of our horse, they arrested him and held him for two hours, after which they released him saying ‘get away, you kulak mug, or we’ll kill you’.[25]

The requisitioning of horses and food for the army was the local population’s first experience of the Soviet invasion.[26] ‘When Soviet troops entered our settlement, first they took our horses for the army, and then they came almost every day in cars and farm wagons and took our grain, potatoes, hay and cattle.’[27] ‘And when we went to the authorities to complain that the lieutenant was driving round and taking away our hay and better horses, we were told that this was all state property so he had the right to take it away.’[28] Even so, at the Bogdanowo settlement, Głębokie commune, in the Dzisna county of Vilnius province:

all the military settlers were ordered to gather and were simply forced by the Red Army’s political commissars to take virtually their last supplies of food to the Red Army, with the proviso that every wagon had to display a red flag and those making the deliveries had to sing and play the accordion, thus being forced to show patriotism for the Red Army, while being told that as they had been delivering to the uniformed Polish bandits they could now deliver to the Red Army, which had freed them from the Polish nobles.[29]

There is, of course, nothing strange in the fact that an occupying army lives by requisitioning from occupied territories. But the Soviets really were unable to solve the problem of supplies, not only, as will shortly become apparent, in relation to the needs of the civilian population, but also in the very important issue for them of obtaining and securing the material needs of the occupying army. When releasing the first wave of conscripts back to civilian life, as early as in the second half of October 1939, on the order of the chief of staff of the Ukrainian front, the men who were in rags, with nothing to go back home in, or were barefoot, had to be issued ‘third category’ uniforms.[30] It is easy to guess what those poorest quality uniforms must have looked like if a year later, at the Third Plenum of the Communist Party (Bolshevik) of Ukraine in Białystok, Łubrowski, a member of the 10th Army’s war council, called for several thousand pairs of boots to be sent to the army, because when you are building fortifications barefoot in several degrees of frost, he said, it is difficult to maintain ‘a high level of morale’.[31]

The Soviet army’s living conditions were simply terrible. Here is a partial list of the shortages that the 15th Infantry Corps alone was experiencing in October 1939: the 61st Infantry Regiment of the 45th Division was issued reduced bread rations and, as a result, the lowest ranks would go begging, and when a supply truck arrived they would ‘collect breadcrumbs from the ground around the truck’. The 264th Heavy Artillery Regiment lacked ‘basic necessities such as matches, rustic tobacco, tualiet (a latrine), tooth powder, etc., which is why the Red Army soldiers go out into the town’. Nearly 50 per cent of the 38th Battalion of Sappers was infested with lice; the 1st Battalion of the 83rd Artillery Regiment had a maximum of 100 sleeping billets for 550 people; the 75th Battalion of Sappers was assigned to barracks that had no roof or windows and in which the ground was wet.[32] We should add that Red Army officers also had problems with their quarters, a state of affairs that dragged on for months.[33]

Therefore, it is no wonder that the soldiers were unhappy about the conditions. ‘Red Army soldier Żeleźniak, non-party member …’, we read in a report by a political commissar of the 60th Division that was sent up the entire chain of command all the way to the head of the political department of the RKKA (the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army):

… saw a peasant eating white bread in one village and said: ‘you see what bread the local people eat – white. Let them eat it and good health to them, because once they’re put into kolkhozes there will be no more white bread. People live well here, while the sobaki [dogs, scoundrels] (referring to the commanders) [this explanation of ‘sobaki’ is given in the text of the report] are starving us to death’.[34]

The inhabitants of many villages in the areas that were occupied in September 1939 recall their conversations with soldiers and officers of the Red Army, who pitied them and warned that the future would bring nothing good.[35] Then, as soon as combat operations ended, as early as in the first half of October, the ‘political reports’ that were drawn up daily by the political commissars showed dissatisfaction among the conscripts, who wanted to be sent home as soon as possible. The soldiers were worried about the fate of their families, reckoning that without the physical labour of an adult male they would fall into even greater misery during the soldiers’ absence.

The poverty of Soviet personnel had also an unexpected humanizing effect on relations with the local population, an example being the mentioned ‘mamasza, dawaj kuszat’. It was no different from the longue durée perspective, if I may use this Annales school expression. Nechama Ariel, from the area of Włodzimierz, remembered the political commissar and the party organization secretary who were living near her parents. Nechama’s father was a shopkeeper and Zionist activist before the war and was arrested just after the Soviets entered. He was released in return for a bribe, and despite being a ‘class enemy’, both of the Soviet functionaries stayed on neighbourly terms with them. The Ariels still had provisions from before the war that they had stashed away and, from time to time, they would give their Soviet neighbours, who were finding things very difficult, something to eat.[36]

This was, incidentally, a characteristic that distinguished, in human terms, the Soviet occupation from the German one. Those arriving from the USSR and the local population peered at each other with great surprise – here was an army with its rifles on strings and footwraps instead of boots, while on the other hand the Soviets were dazzled by the prosperity, such as they had never seen before, both in shop displays and in the clothes worn by people on the streets of the larger towns. But very soon, the conviction that two different worlds had chanced on one another gave way to a sense of mutual human affinity and, perhaps, also, of a shared fate.

The Karta Centre’s archives hold a superbly written memoir by Zdzisław Zieliński of Lwów, who went to school with the children of Soviet officials and officers and befriended many of them.[37] I have not come across any account of relations like this in the extensive diarist literature produced under the German occupation. A similar tone may also be found in the reminiscences of adults, for example, in the diaries of Stanisław Ossowski (1897–1963): ‘Perhaps never before in my life have I had so many discussions on ethical issues as I am having now’ (note dated 21 July 1940). Ossowski was working at the Ossolineum Library in Lwów and talking a lot not only with acquaintances from Poland, but also with arrivals from Russia: ‘A conversation with [Helena] Usijewiczowa [1893–1968] at the home of Julian [Przyboś; 1901–1970] and his wife’ (28 May 1940); ‘black coffee with Comrade Radłowa and her husband. Discussion about Shakespeare. After the guests from Leningrad left …’ (7 July 1940); or a social evening at which one of the guests is a certain Zełenka, the Soviet head of the Ossolineum (3 May 1941).[38] A very big prize for anyone who can find an entry, in a Polish intellectual’s diary written under the German occupation, of the type: ‘after the guests from Berlin had left …’

Of course, this was not the universal experience. But the author of the above entries – the most outstanding Polish sociologist of the 20th century practising the discipline in the humanist tradition – recorded the events he took part in and his observations while trying to understand the new society that was emerging before his eyes. He would no doubt have made a note if his experiences had been significantly different from that milieu’s norm and reality. And the Przybośes are here also in a similar situation, and we can infer that various other people too, whenever Ossowski describes scenes from everyday life.

[1] Fragment of Jan Tomasz Gross’s book (2019) for the series Opowieści kresowe, 1939–1941 (Borderland tales, 1939–1941). Kraków: Austeria.

[2] Named Western Ukraine and Western Belarus in Soviet nomenclature.

[3] I am thinking here not so much about the soldiers of the Red Army that entered Poland, but about the cadres of officials and party members who were sent from the USSR in its wake.

[4] O. Khlevniuk (2015) Stalin. Zhizn odnovo vozhda. Moscow: Izdatielstwo Act, 214, 219; S. Kotkin (2017) Stalin. Waiting for Hitler, 19291941, New York, NY: Penguin Press, 305, 603. See also speech by Nikita Khrushchev (1894­–1971) at the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union on the ‘cult of personality’ and the crimes of Joseph Stalin (1878–53).

[5] See also O. Khlevniuk, op. cit, 202.

[6] Let us add that the combat log of the 17th Infantry Corps which had occupied Tarnopol includes a note under the date of 18 September about night-time fighting against the ‘town’s fascist officer units’, but makes no mention of the fratricidal shootout witnessed by the head of the Ukrainian NKVD (Russian State Military Archive – Rossiiskii Gosudarstvenni Voennyi Arkhiv [RGVA] 35084/1/45).

[7] Gun battles started by Soviet troops took place in many towns. According to the reports of witnesses were seen as a method of terrorizing the local population and not, as might be inferred from Serov’s report, simply as signs of panic among Soviet units. Apart from Tarnopol and Lwów, similar scenes also occurred in Buczacz (now Buchach), Nowogródek (now Navahrudak) and Dubno (Hoover Institution, Polish Government Collection [HI, PGC], 4968, 2179, 688).

[8] V. Danylenko and S. Kotkin (2009) Radianski organy derzhawnoi bezpieki, u 1939czerwni 1941 r. Dokumenty GDA SB Ukrainy. Kiev: Widawniczyj dim Kievo-Mogilska akademia. Document no. 106, 196; see also document no. 103, 189–91.

[9] Ibid., document no. 106, 194.

[10] Ibid., document no. 106, 194–8.

[11] O. Khlevniuk, op. cit. 371–2, 204.

[12] Ibid., 260–1.

[13] C. Miłosz (2001) Rodzinna Europa, Kraków: Wydawnictwo Literackie, 174–5.

[14] HI, PGC, 98/2380.

[15] HI, PGC, 105/7997.

[16] HI, PGC, 100/8154.

[17] HI, PGC, 103/7604.

[18] HI, Anders Collection (HI, AC), 10688.

[19] RGVA, 35084/1/50. Note of 10 October 1939.

[20] State Archives Department of the Security Service of Ukraine (GDA SBU), 16/I/483, 60.

[21] HI, PGC, 7595; see also Mołodeczno, 6; białostocki, 4; HI, PGC, 4107.

[22] KARTA Center Foundation, Eastern Archive, I/1171, 2–3.

[23] HI, PGC, 8160.

[24] HI, Polish Embassy USSR/47, Janina Zawiasa. See also in the same box no. 47 a report by Aleksandra Nowak, from near Pińsk, on exactly the same topic.

[25] Wilejka, 16.

[26] See, among others, Wilno-Troki, 7; Szczuczyn, 9; Ostrów, 4; Lida, 9; Postawski, 13; Łomża 15; HI, PGC, 4899, 8816, 2426.

[27] Jan Urbanowicz, farmer in the settlement of Padorka, Łużki commune, Dzisna county, Wilno province (HI, PGC, 611).

[28] Michał Kuś, farmer in the settlement of Niweck, Dąbrowica commune, Sarny county, Wołyń.

[29] Military settler Stanisław Pietrosik, HI, PGC, 2426.

[30] RGVA, 35084/1/11(2).

[31] Russian State Archive of Socio-Political History (RGASPI), 17/22/230, 119–20.

[32] RGVA, 40334/276/1, 267, 270, 271, 285.

[33] And so, for example, in June 1940, the chief quartermaster of the Lwów garrison wrote yet another letter to the Presidium of the City Council, demanding the issue of 680 apartments, to which the army is entitled, for Red Army officers (komsostawa) of higher and middle rank, State Archive of Lviv Oblast (DALO), P–6/I/4 ‘a’, 94.

[34] RGVA, 40334/276/1, Report of 19 October 1939, 313.

[35] HI, PGC, 2253, 4018, 7600, 8925; AC, 12657; Mołodeczno, 8; UPST,, Januszajtis’s report 3.3.1/5, Macieliński’s report.

[36] USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive (USC VHA), 3602.

[37] Z. Zieliński, Lwowska okupacja. KARTA Center Foundation, Eastern Archive, II/1501/2k.

[38] S. Ossowski, Dziennik, 25.IV.194022.VII.1941. KARTA Center Foundation, Eastern Archive, II/3301.