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On the 6th of July 1949 the soviets decided to deport on political grounds 11.293 Bessarabian families - 35.796 persons out of which 9874 were men,14.033 women and 11.889 children. 4069 vehicles were mobilized to assure transportation for those who were deported against their will and 30 echelon were prepared, 1573 cattle wagons in which the deported Bessarabian were transported in Siberia (Altai territory, Kurgan region, Tiumeni and Tomsk). This is the account of Viorica Drucioc, who was deported on the 6th of July 1949 in Petukhovo, Kurgan region, Siberia. She was 20 years old. …in 1941, at 2:30 A.M., the U.R.S.S. troops raided the territories of Moldavia subjoined from Romania in June 1940. The lists of the people subjugated by the Stalinist deportations included intellectuals, teachers, employees of the Romanian administration until the 1940’s, the priesthood as well as the wealthy peasants. The ones who survived the torment could return to their homes only after Stalin’s death in 1953. There isn’t an official statistic of the deaths caused by the deportation, nor an evaluation of the fortunes left behind. When they picked us up, the house wasn’t ours, it was our grandparents'. It wasn’t passed on our name and we couldn’t get it back, they didn’t give it to us. In the summer kitchen with the doors facing south moved in someone, and in the house moved in two people. They were Russian, she was a doctor and he worked at the city hall. They came before to rent a room but my mother-in-law wouldn’t let them. The Russian man said: “I’ll live here anyway.” And when they picked us up, she came along with a soldier and two men from the village. And the Russian woman said: “There is no place for you here… to Siberia!” Everybody ran away, but I stayed, and they caught me. They came after me, embarked me and I left. They caught my mother-in-law up the hill, but the others couldn’t be found. They didn’t come out of their hiding places, but later they were sorry. They had nowhere to work. They weren’t allowed to work in the collective farm, grandpa went to Ukraine, and my husband had to carry the mail, the newspaper. But he didn’t want to do that, so he began to work as a handyman. Winter was coming, and they had no place to stay. So my husband thought about it and told my parents that he wanted to come and live with us (in Siberia). Me and my mother-in-law got used to life in Siberia. We had pigs and chickens. We would take out the geese, ducks and mark them. It was a really small village… So we marked the birds and kept them for two or three weeks until they grew up a little. Then we used to let the birds go on the pond and they would go on the clearings. And we would only get them back in the autumn, when the lake froze over. Just like my neighbour is now taking the sheep to the sheephold, we used to look for ours from the flock: “ These are mine, these are also mine”. If something was wrong we used to look at the markings : “Hey, this isn’t mine, it’s yours. Take it.” After the celebration of the October revolution (7th November - the celebration of the Russian revolution of 1917) we helped each other and we hewed the birds to pieces. We built a crate this large, and we cleaned the birds, scorched them, cut them in portions, and they would freeze over. And in that crate they stayed fresh until after Easter. It was a good living. We had food, but the kids could only attend the primary school. It was a small village, there were about ten kids. A couple in a class, a couple in another class. There was only one teacher that used to do the lessons with them. The school was 8 km away. And in the winter we used to take them with the sled. That’s why we didn’t send Anica (our first child) to school. We used to wonder: “Will we stay here any longer? Who knows?” If Stalin hadn’t died we wouldn’t have returned. Then we were given material to build houses. We got wood for free, the house there are made of wood. And because Stalin died… But there was this old doctor who took care of four villages. He lived 4 km away from us. When I gave birth to Nadia, I did it at home. The hospital was 25 km away and it was winter: “Where are you going?” I called a midwife. The next morning I woke up, baked some bread. The child was already sleeping, she was tired, and I battered the dough so I baked a lot of bread, I cooked food. Then I brought the nurse to register the child. He used to come once a week to check the newborns. And he told me: “You’ll go back to your country. They came here from Japan and Mongolia and built houses, but when their time came, they went back.” They started to give us used houses, moved the Russians in new ones and gave us the old ones. “Give us the old ones we’ll make them new”. We used to keep the pigs inside the house, in the cellar. We bought two piglets and it was really cold outside, where can you keep them? It was freezing! It was a waste. We didn’t have anything in the cellar anyway, the entrance was from inside the house, it was a hole with a lid. We put them there and we cleaned after them in the morning and at night. Than in the spring time we couldn’t get them out, my husband built them a cage and laid out straws for them, and the pigs would sit in those straws. It was hard at the beginning, for the first two years it was hard…we didn’t have food, bread. But there were…She had two cows. I had a neighbor, lived close to me like these people next door. And I would go and milk her cows, she used to work at a livestock farm, an Ukrainian woman. She used to tell me: “Vera, go and milk the cow!” I would go and milk the cow, then I would boil some milk and feed my family. She wouldn’t curdle the milk. Us Moldavians we would curdle the milk and we would make buttermilk and cookies and gingerbread. They were amazed like they’ve seen a miracle. What could we do? And we lived, as it was…Hard. When they decided to let us go we were preparing to build a house. So when they let us go we cancelled everything and we decided to leave. We received our documents and we abandoned the house. The mayor there didn’t want to let us leave. He used to say: “You’ll go to Moldavia and you’ll see how it is. It’s not the Moldavia that it once was.” And when we came back we regretted it. In Moldavia there was the livestock farm, and it was poor, we needed food, we didn’t have any wood for the fire. But in Siberia you had fire wood, more than you can carry. It was more than enough. So it took us more than a month to get our documents back. But they didn’t give us any money for the road. In Siberia they brought us for free, but we had to pay for our return. We paid. And then we went to the train station, where the trains would arrive full, and there was no place for us. We stayed three days on the platform till a train came. Nadia was small, she was only one year and seven months old. I don’t even know how… I thought I will never get her home with us. Bread… and they had some soup in that cafeteria, the poor thing ate out of need. I had a grudge on my husband: “You’re the one who needed Moldavia! We had to wait till spring so she could grow up. But now we’ll lose her on the way.” I would dip some bread in tea and give it to her, she would eat it, what else could she have done? And she survived, we brought her to Moldavia. When the train came we got on it and stayed on the aisle until we got to Moscow. It was a three day journey. There was no place for us. Some of the people in the wagon let Anica and Vasile (the kids) sleep on their beds. But we stayed on the hallway, on the chairs. When we got to Zhmerynka, Ukraine, we sent a telegram home… When we arrived it was dark. When we left the train station there was no trace of snow. It started snowing and until we got home everything was covered with snow. We hoped they would give us our house back. But they told us they would let us go without giving our belongings back; so they didn’t give us anything back. That’s how it happened! That’s why the mayor from Siberia told us: “Don’t go back, don’t go back.” So along with some neighbours we decided to go back to Siberia. Our parents started to cry: “We barely got you home and you want to go back.” So we lived with our parents for a year while we built our house. We made these clay bricks, we carried them and built the house. We got some help from our relatives, bread and such, but… In the year of our return we got wages, we got fifty ruble for the first half of the year and fifty more at the end of the year. That was all the money we had. We also got about twenty kg of sugar and one hundred kg of wheat, and that was it. And the next year near the October celebration we moved into our house, made of clay and straws, as it was. In the night we carried our pillows and blankets, and all our basics. We took our kids and when our parents came from the house to the summer kitchen there was nobody there. They came crying: “What were you thinking? We would’ve helped!”. “This is where we belong!”. And that’s how we gathered. When we came home from work, we would do something around the house. And in the night … The house had no roof. Only the wood was in place. We didn’t have anything to cover it with. And then an uncle gave us some reed. We covered the house in two layers so it wouldn’t rain on the walls. And then we made tiles for the roof. Ten years ago we covered it with slate. But the tiles were all right! Oh Lord, it was hard to settle down.

And that’s how our story ends...

Viorica Drucioc now lives in Moldavia Republic, in Singerei district, the place from which she left 63 years ago. She’s a mother, a grandmother and great-grandmother. She could never get back her fortune or house...

Video Details

Duration: 14 minutes and 41 seconds
Country: Romania
Language: Romanian
Genre: None
Producer: UNATC
Director: Stela Pelin
Views: 100
Posted by: ernst on Dec 28, 2012


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