Julian Gringras in Berezowica Wielka

Julian Gringras in Berezowica Wielka

This is a photograph of me in our house in Berezowica Wielka near Tarnopol. My wife and I lived there in 1940 and 1941. This photo was taken in 1941.

After finishing my studies in Lwow I got a job in this enterprise Kavkaz Energomontazh, which I clung to throughout the war.

After that job in Lwow they sent me to Tarnopol, not to the town itself but to the village of Berezowica Wielka, a few kilometers from Tarnopol. And I think I worked there until the outbreak of war in 1941.

There I had to install a small boiler system. I was given very nice lodgings in the village. A large room, hollyhocks and trees growing outside the window; I had ample food, we swam in the river, the Seret, a well-known river. And there the two of us lived.

The Germans had long since crossed the border in July 1941, and my gang and I were still finishing off a job. Only on the sixth day or something did we realize we had to get out, because the Germans were just around the corner.

We rustled up a sturdy cart, and there were also a few of my friends from Lwow, Tarnopol, Jews, who piled onto that cart with me, and off we went.

We set off from Tarnopol in the direction of Kiev. The road was crowded; there were Ukrainian women working on it, all with white aprons on their head, shovels in hand; probably reinforcing the verges.

And so we roamed from village to village: fields of maize and fields of beans for kilometers.

And in the end we stopped in Poltava, where there was a railroad station, and by then we were planning to try to go to Asia. We sold the cart and we waited for a goods train, because there were no longer any passenger trains.

Going to Asia. And in the end we got onto some platform; corruption worked, probably - a sweater or something worked, and we found out there was a train going to Tashkent.

We were in that train for a few weeks. At stations you could fish a mugful of kipiatok [boiling water], and the local residents sold this and that - a round of sheep's cheese, or 'vobla' - dried fish, tough as the sole of your shoe.

After a few weeks we reached Tashkent.

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