Anders' Army

We reached the town of Guzar , familiar to many Polish deportees. Many people died there after an outbreak of typhus but luckily for us it had ended by the time of our arrival.

The three of us joined the army: my father as a Reserve officer, my brother as an Officer cadet, and myself although officially still too young as a volunteer in the Polish Women's Service. We had to register at Army H.Q where for some time I was then used as a messenger. Tents were set up for us in the small town. Although it was towards the end of the rainy season the ground was still wet. We therefore surrounded our encampment and each 'bed' with trenches to prevent water from seeping in. We even at times slept on our greatcoats on the bare ground. Very soon Janusz left for an unknown destination while my father was in a camp on the opposite side of the river.

Our status changed despite the fact that we were still on Soviet territory. We were happy although still always very hungry. Our group began to organise. My best friend who was also a Danuta became our leader. She was a little older and more dynamic than I was. Her sister, Miecia, was convalescing from typhus and we often visited her in a mosque that had been converted into a hospital. Their mother was also with us. We later learned that their father along with many other officers had been executed by the Soviet army at Katyn.

Easter came and for the first time in many months we were able to take part in the Mass celebrated by the army chaplain. We were all given an egg and an army biscuit but hunger persisted.

The rainy season ended and it became very hot. Our camp was transferred to a larger camp a few kilometres from the town where tents had already been prepared for us. We were given uniforms but no weapons. At night we kept watch in turn, three hours on, three hours off and slept in the guard room on concrete benches when relieved.

We were afraid some Kirghiz men might attack in the dark but at daybreak it appeared we were alone except for scorpions crawling over the stones.