The 1st Independent Polish Parachute Brigade
(1 Samodzielna Brygada Spadochronowa)
Arrested For Being
On 19th December 1939 I was arrested by the NKVD (below is a copy of the arrest details held on the Memorial website created from NKVD records)
My Arrest Charge
This translates to Polish as:
- Gostik Vladimir Aleksandrovich
- Rodilsja v 1908 g., g. Belostok; belorus; obrazovanie nachal'noe; b/p; bez opred.zanjatij. Prozhival: g. Belostok.
- Arestovan 19 dekabrja 1939 g.
- Prigovoren: OSO 27 ijunja 1940 g., obv.: 74 UK BSSR - social'no opasnyj jelement.
- Prigovor: 8 let ITL, otbyv.: Arhangel'skaja obl., osvob. 05.09.41 Reabilitirovan 19 ijunja 1989 g. Prokuror Grodnenskoj obl.
- Istochnik: Belorusskij "Memorial"
The Arrest Details (In English)
- Gostik Vladimir Alexandrovich
- Born in 1908, in Bialystok
- Primary education; b / p; without a definition
- Lived: Białystok
- He was arrested on December 19, 1939
- Sentenced: CCA on June 27, 1940
- obv .: 74 of the Criminal Code of the BSSR is a socially dangerous element
- Sentence: 8 years IT
- Departure: Arkhangelsk region, excavation. 05.09.41
- Rehabilitated on June 19, 1989
- The prosecutor of the Grodno region
- Source: Belarusian "Memorial"
Russian Name Change
At this point you might be wondering how and why my name changed.
The Russian name Gostik Vladimir Alexandrovich came about by them swapping Wladyslaw (A polish name) to it's closest Russian equivalent, "Vladimir". My fathers name, Aleksander, was then added in front of it but with the Russian equivalent of "Alexandrovich".
To take things one step further on some Russian documents they even made the name Vladimir more Russian by calling me Wlodzimierz Gostik.
Some might say that the Russians replaced everything with Russian including names. In this way we started to lose our identity as a nation.
How I Became "Socially Dangerous"
The Soviets decided that I was "socially dangerous" because I was outspoken about Bolshevism. I did not agree with Stalins ideals, neither did any sane Polish person and so to be charged as "socially dangerous" simply meant that it was not good to have me in the community because I would not yield to Stalin but rather speak out against him thus weakening Stalins stranglehold on Poland.
Captive In A Russian Prison
During December 1939 to June 1940 I was held captive in a Russian prison awaiting sentencing. There was nothing to do except eat the meagre rations of cabbage-water we were given with perhaps a piece of stale bread, urinate on the cement floor and perhaps sleep. It was the most boring passage of time.
The investigations and hearings into my case continued, it seemed to take forever. I was not heroic during the hearings, it certainly seemed that they already knew what conclusion they would come to, me appearing there was but a mere formality.
I was short and direct with them, polite, but never complicit. This was the only way to survive but to also keep my dignity.
The sentencing in the Russian court was incredible to behold, each case was heard in minutes, everyone found guilty. It was pathetic the way the Russians lorded it over us.
Just after the September Campaign, with Poland having been defeated, I was on the run and like many fellow Polish soldiers who fought in that campaign I was trying to cross from Russia to Lithuania (Just like Gustav Herling mentions in his book "A World Apart" on P3) because Poland had become sandwiched between Germany and Russia (Well in reality Poland had disappeared and 2 enemy countries were squatting there now.
Well here I was in the Russian court explaining what I was doing when I had been captured. They said "Are you aware that the Soviet Union" has signed a pact with Germany?" Yes, I replied. I wanted to fight the Germans and that's why I was crossing the border. The judge explained that fighting the Germans (now friends with Russia) was as good as fighting Russia itself. I started to see I was never going to win this case.
And with that I was sentenced to 8 years hard labour in Archangel. I felt all air leave my lungs, I was stunned, shocked. With that I was taken away to a different prison awaiting transport to Archangel. In this prison were also Russian people also being sent to Archangel. We shared the same fate.