Haya Lea Kats in the camp in the town of Tavda

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This snapshot was made in the camp in the town of Tavda.

It is East Ural Lag. In the photo I am wearing the coat in which I was arrested. That was a coat made in the Rovno factory; reglan coats were fashionable then. It was flared at the bottom and I wore it for a long time.

Later I re-made that coat and presented it to another prisoner from Vilnius. It was a beautiful coat. I had sparse but long hair, so I braided them.

I had been to 11 different prison camps, and after 4 years of wanderings I was announced the verdict: 10 years of imprisonment and 5 more years in exile. I was standing there, not understanding, and whispering: "10 years, 10 years…".

A security girl gave me a photo: "Here, Kats, take it for memory!". And I keep the photo to this day. After the verdict I got to the camp called East Ural Lag, in the city of Tavda.

It was a mixed camp for men and women. In the beginning I was sent to general works, and in a couple of days, having understood that I could sew, they charged me with tailoring.

In that camp I met the Victory Day on May 9, 1945. The chief of camp collected all of us and announced the Victory. But nothing had changed for us.

In 1951, when 3 months remained before discharge, I was sent to a strict regime camp in Mordovia, because there was an order by Stalin to put all the "political" prisoners to strict regime camps . After we reached Krasnoyarsk, we sailed on a barge up the Yenisei River to the settlement of Maklakovo [nowadays - the town of Lesosibirsk].

It was a big settlement with an extensive forestry. There I established a workshop producing light dress and became known around the settlement. My life in the exile began.

I organized the shop, and had no shortage of work or workers, or money. I rented a room, bought a sewing machine, and started to live a normal life.

Interview details

Interviewee: Haya-Lea Detinko
Bella Shevchuk
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St. Petersburg, Russia


Haya-Lea Detinko
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after WW II:
Cutter in dressmaker's studio
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