My father Bolesław Borkowski was born in the village of Krejwańce, south-east of Wilno in the Oszmiana (Oshmiana) county, on 1 January 1920.
Bolesław deserted from the communist army together with his entire company on 13 January 1945. This was probably the 10 Infantry Division of the Communist Second Army stationed in and around Rzeszów at the time. The oath of allegiance of the entire 10 Division was taken the next day, on 14 January 1945.
Among the deserting group was probably Józef Franczak, who was later the longest active anti-communist resistance fighter. He held out until 1963. According to my father, conversation with Franczak had decisive influence on his decision to desert. Franczak told Bolesław about mass killings of members of Polish resistance forces conducted by Russians and Poles under their command in 1944 in the area of Lublin. These were members of the Home Army loyal to the Polish government in exile in London during WWII. Franczak had the rank of sergeant and was described by my father as a nice and likeable person.
The group with my father crossed the Bug river to the east and moved north with the intention to participate in the armed anti-communist resistance. They were later surrounded in a forest near Brześć by the Soviet NKVD forces. A battle ensued in which my father was wounded. The group of thirty four were arrested on 17 January 1945. They were imprisoned in the military fortress in Brześć. The Soviets conducted brutal interrogations, including torture. The screams of the tortured were heard often at night. The prison was heavily overcrowded. Conditions were absolutely horrible.
The camp in the Arkhangelsk area was the arena of daily battle for survival.
My parents met in the camp. My mother Irena Ostrowska, born 1927 in Gienuża near the village of Buczany, was imprisoned in 1949 for helping Polish anti-Soviet resistance in the area near Widze and Brasław. She was released from the camp in 1956.
The communist persecution continued.
Lech S. Borkowski