September- October 1941
Life continued. My brother helped to transport logs on the river Czarysz and so received a ration of bread. But this work didn't last long. It was very cold and the work was poorly organised. My brother unused to this sort of work and lacking adequate clothing soon caught a cold which turned into pneumonia. He was taken to hospital. We were very worried about him but as he was strong and also well-nursed by a Polish woman he soon recovered. However there was no question of him returning to his former work and therefore he lost his bread ration : ~ If any would not work, neither should he eat.~ Wasn't it St Paul who first said this and Lenin much later ?
We continued to live in the same house. One night we were woken up by an unaccustomed hustle and bustle and this in a village generally so peaceful. We weren't given an immediate explanation but the following day we learnt that a calf belonging to our landlady had been slaughtered. Usually owners of cattle and poultry had the right to own a fixed number of cows and hens. Provision was made to hand over any additional cattle or poultry to the government. To start with nobody had the right to touch the meat we never found out who had killed the calf. The meat remained hanging in an outhouse where the temperature often fell well below O". The meat quickly froze there. A little later a sort of inquiry was held and only then was our landlady and her family able to make use of it. We too were given a piece of veal - the only meat we were to eat throughout out 15 months' stay in the Soviet Union. Our next hot meal of meat came when we reached Persia (Iran).
I cooked our piece of meat in a stove intended solely for heating our room. It had only a small cast iron door just above the floor. We had a large iron cauldron rounded at the top that was difficult to handle. When hot , in order to put it in or take it out of the hearth, you had to get hold of it by using a sort of rounded pitchfork fixed onto a long broom handle. It was heavy and when crouching or kneeling down it wasn't easy for me to handle and I spilt some of the precious soup. Happily most of it still remained but I was very upset thinking how disappointed my family would be.
The militia intervened once again but this time in our private life. One day when I was alone in our room two of them came and ordered me to wash our floor more often ; no doubt at the instigation of our landlady. At this point my father came in and clearly annoyed told them we hadn't any means of doing this: no floor cloth, no bucket, no hot water. To my great surprise the militia accepted his explanation and left without a word. I was afraid of repercussions but they must already have known about the amnesty, perhaps they had already received orders to leave us alone -who knows ? We however were still in the dark.