|Exiled to Siberia
A Polish Child's WWII Journey
By Klaus Hergt
Crescent Lake Publishing
Copyright 2000 by Klaus Hergt; All rights reserved.
"YOU HAVE HALF AN HOUR . . ."
After a few months the Soviets began a systematic deportation of the local,
predominantly Polish, people who were families regarded as belonging to the "anti-Soviet
elements." Called spetspieresedlentsy, "specially transferred settlers," they were deported under
a secret administrative ruling.
Jan T. Gross in his book about the Soviet conquest of these eastern Polish lands writes
that unlike the prisoners sentenced by a court, these families had not appeared before any
sentencing tribunal nor were they informed of any administrative procedure against them.
Rather, they were subject to a secret procedure and were neither given any reasons for their
deportation nor were they put before a court. These spetspieresedlentsy were not in "need of
correctional labor." Their selection can he summarized in one sentence: "Who is not with us, is
The deportations proceeded along well-tested, previously-prepared guidelines and
protocols (see appendix). Their chief organizer and administrator was General Ivan Serov, a
"Deputy People's Commissar for Public Security." After the German retreat from the Soviet
Union in 1943, General Serov supervised the deportations of Kazakhs, Uzbeks, and Chechens
suspected of collaborating with the German troops. He was decorated, eventually became the
head of the KGB, survived the Stalin regime, and died peacefully at his dacha. Two of his
immediate subordinates were executed, however, after the Stalin era.
The deportations came in waves and included entire families. The first wave, on
February 10, 1940, took the families of political leaders, policemen and border guards. In April
1940, those of former army personnel and government workers were seized. In June of the same
year white collar workers, people not to the Soviets' liking, and those who had fled from western
Poland in front of the German army and therefore were not native to the Soviet-occupied
territory, were deported. A few Jewish businessmen and their families were given a reprieve
which lasted until early 1941.
The intent and procedures of the deportations were always the same; in fact, they had
changed but little since the days of the tsars. In his book The Soviet Takeover of the Polish
Eastern Provinces Keith Sword writes that "there was a continuity between the exile policy
under successive Tsarist regimes and those of the Stalinist period." Norman Davies wrote that
"each generation of Poles dumped in the tundra or the steppe in 1832, 1864, 1906, 1940, and in
1945 encoun tered Poles of an earlier generation who had shared the same fate."
Anita Paschwa-Kozicka, a Polish orphan who, like Hank, had been deported as a child
and, like he, came to the United States via Colonia Santa Rosa in Mexico, visited Tbilisi in the
Soviet Union in 1989. She writes in her book My Flight to Freedom: "I found many Polish
people living there. Those were the people who came from Siberia [at the time of the amnesty],
but were stuck in Russia when Stalin closed the borders to Polish refugees after we had been
sent to Iran."
Without exception the roundup came early in the morning with that ominous knock at the
door and the command "Otkroite!" ("Open up!"). In front of the door stood armed Red Army
soldiers and a civilian official with a list prepared by local collaborators. "You have half an hour to gather your things!" The official ordered. For most it was a good-by to their home forever.
Then came a cart, a sled, or a truck, and a quick transport to the nearest railroad siding.
The deportees were loaded into freight cars with high, barred windows, and the doors were
locked from the outside. With luck their sanitary facility was a bucket, but usually it was only a
hole in the floor. Some were fortunate enough to have wooden bunks in their cars; the majority,
however, had to sleep among their bundles on the filthy floor. Some were even more lucky; their
car had a small stove for which they occasionally received a pittance of coal. But most could
only bunch together and try to share their body heat with that of their fellow prisoners. Locked
in, fifty to eighty people in each car, they waited sometimes for days until the train was fully
assembled. They traveled for weeks to an unknown destination without relief from crowding,
without a chance to wash or stretch their legs. Their daily nourishment was a piece of bread and
a bowl of watery cabbage soup.
Relying on General Sikorski's files an anonymous author described the trains and the
process of entrainment in The Dark Side of the Moon as follows:
The trains were very long, and seemed also extraordinarily high. The last was because
they seldom stood along platforms, and the whole train was accordingly seen from the level of
the ground. Later, some Polish trains were also employed, but the earliest were all typically long
Russian trains brought in for the purpose; dark green in colour with doors coming together in the
middle of box cars as they do in cars on the Underground [subway]. In each of these cars, very
high up, just under the roof, were two tiny grated rectangles, the only windows and the only
spaces by which air or light could enter once the doors were fast. This great length of the waiting
trains, always coiling away somewhere and always partly lost to sight, was in itself terrifying to
the imagination. Those about to be deported were brought to the stations heavily guarded: for the
most part loaded unto armoured cars, but also, when these gave out, on sledges and on little
country carts shaped like tumbrils, ordinarily used for the carting of dung.
The roofs of the cars were piled with fresh snow but the ground all about was trampled
and fouled. The trains, after being loaded, often stood for days before leaving, and the tracks
along which they stood would become piled with excrement and yellow and boggy from the
urine running down off the floors. Against the background of white, the silhouettes of the NKVD
soldiers were shaggy and outlandish... .Each soldier carried a fixed bayonet at the end of his
rifle. Immense crowds of people swayed backwards and forwards. The soldiers with their
bayonets forced back all except those who were to leave on the trains... .Families were broken up
all the time, husbands and wives separated, children being pushed into one part of the train while
their parents were pushed into another.
One in ten died on the way, first the old and the infirm, then the nursing babies. The dead
were thrown off the cars when the train stopped; weather permitting, they were sometimes
hastily dug into the ground. Their families were never given the chance to bury their loved ones.
Survivors' memoirs and thousands of reports in archives around the world testify to this
systematic and planned destruction of the Polish population. The political and military
leadership, other representatives of the Polish state, teachers, and many members of the clergy
were immediately arrested when the Soviets arrived. The political officers accompanying the
Red Army brought with them lists of names which had been prepared in advance.
Those arrested were tried and condemned to the vast Gulag Archipelago, unless they
were executed by decree, simply gunned down in their cells, or died on death marches in front of
the advancing German troops in 1941. Other victims were shot in the back of the head, like the
Polish officers at Katyn, or were otherwise disposed off.
The mass of Polish soldiers taken as prisoners of war, like the deported families, were
subjected to a planned starvation. While still at home, Hank had seen the emaciated Polish
soldiers building roads. He and his mother had tried to help them as much as they could. Hank,
his family, and thousands of others were soon to experience hunger themselves. The insufficient
food supply for the deportees during their transport cannot be explained by poor organization.
Their rations had been fixed well in advance like everything else: the equipment, the trains, and
the personnel required. At their destination abysmal shelters and lack of adequate provisions
greeted the deportees.
Jan T. Gross observed that "the substance of their experience was in their struggle for
survival. To die of cold, excessive heat, hunger, thirst, lice infestation, foul air, dirt, or diarrhea
takes time and makes people succumb in stages, while putting up a fight. Some suffered more,
some less, depending on climate, and on what the raiding party allowed them to take from home.
It, finally, added up to death for some, torment for a great many, and mere discomfort for a
happy few. The deportees were tortured in earnest; they were truly wasted."
It was early in the morning of February 10, 1940, and still dark outside. Hank's mother
answered the pounding on the door. Two Russian soldiers with fixed bayonets and an
official-looking man in civilian clothes stood at the door. They pushed their way past her and
ordered: "Get into the kitchen!" The official had a list compiled by local Soviet sympathizers. He
read off their names: Hank's mother's, Hank's, and his sister's.
"Get together what you can carry. Be ready in half an hour," he commanded.
"You're not on the list. You can stay," he said to Hank's grandmother.
"I am going with them," she replied.
Hank's grandmother was not surprised. Ever since that morning when, standing in her
kitchen, the Russian officer had told Hank's mother "You better get away," his grandmother
knew what to expect. As a young woman during the reign of the last tsar, she had heard about
transports and exile, about the knock on the door under the cover of darkness, and the long treks
to somewhere in Siberia. White tsar or Red, it always was the same: crowding, toil, and hunger.
Occasionally someone came back after years of exile. She firmly believed that God would
protect her. Thanks to her practical sense and her ability to concentrate on the task at hand she
always knew what to do in a time of crisis. Almost instinctively she knew how to act, not
aggressively, not as a fighter, but ever resourceful she became acutely
aware of the needs and opportunities offered by a given occasion and applied herself to the
demands of the situation. In other words, she took charge.
The children were told to dress quickly and as warmly as possible. She told Hank's
mother what to pack: clothes, bedding, and all the food they could carry. Hank's mother
followed her instructions mechanically She spread a bed sheet onto which they dumped
everything. They left the pillows behind; clothing and kitchen utensils were more important.
His grandmother took the coffee mill. Though she did not expect to have any coffee to
grind, she knew she would find use for it. They packed the bread they had just baked for the
week ahead; they were out of meat already, and potatoes or canned goods were too heavy to
carry There was neither place nor time for nonessentials, but they took a few photographs. Hank
brought his favorite book on nature and his wristwatch. His savings account book? No, there
would be no need for it, though it still had 38 zloty in his account. His sister sat on a chair in the
kitchen quietly crying. All this took place under the eyes of the Russian soldiers. They stood and
watched; neither of the soldiers offered to help, but every so often one said: "Take what you
need, but take only what you can carry."
Hank sneaked outside. The guards did not pay any attention. He wanted to say good-by to
a girl next door, a schoolmate. One of seven children in the family she had a badly deformed
back, and Hank always looked upon her with particular affection. As he had done so many times
before, he crawled through a hole in the fence and past a few bushes to get to her house. But the
house was dark, and nobody answered his knock. "I could run away and hide like dad," Hank
thought, but he felt he could not leave his mother or sister. And so he returned home.
Half an hour is a short time in which to gather one's essentials and to bid farewell to
one's home. Soon creaking wheels and clopping hooves approached their house, then suddenly
stopped. A horse snorted. The soldiers told them to take their things and leave the house. Outside
they heard subdued sobbing and lamenting. An infant was crying. In front of the house stood a
horse-drawn wagon requisitioned from a farmer nearby. Two families were already on it. The
soldiers helped Hank and his family mount the wagon and threw their bundles after them.
When the wagon started to roll Hank looked back at his house. Perhaps someday they
could come back. He hoped the neighbors would milk the cow.
The ride to the railroad station was short. Their wagon rolled down a ramp, jolted and
bumped across the tracks, and halted at the farthest siding. A long train of freight cars stood
guarded by armed soldiers. Hank and his family were made to climb into one of the cars with
their packs of clothes and bedding. A number of people had come before them. Most sat silently
on their belongings, some stared at the floor, others sobbed. A few wailed and carried on for a
while, but they soon fell silent too.
Hank and his family put their things into a free corner and sat down. His sister buried her
face into the folds of her mother's coat. Nobody spoke. Those who came later had to make do
with an open space in the center. Eventually 78 of them crowded together in the freight car with
no room to spare. Except for two old men from Busk, all were women and children. One of the
men was a machinist, the other, a tool and die maker. There were no bunks; there was no straw.
Someone produced a hatchet and began to chop a hole in the floor. They needed a toilet. At first
people turned their backs when someone had to use it, but as time went on a blank stare into the
distance provided at least a semblance of privacy This was only the first step in the continuing
degradation of their lives.
When the freight car was filled with the designated number of people, the door was
slammed shut and locked with an iron bar on the outside. This defined the rest of the day for the
"Slamming the door shut and the clank of the bar falling into place were the most awful
sounds--we all cried out," Hank vividly remembered.
Their frightening day had begun with the shouts and the sharp rap on the door before
dawn. Now it had ended like this, even though daylight still filtered through the small, grated
window--their only connection to the world outside.
They were prisoners. The affront and the injustice of it all grated on Hank. It made him
furious. Later, when someone would ask him to pinpoint the time that he became conscious of
his hatred for the Soviets, he would choose that precise moment.
For three days Hank's train sat on the siding waiting for its quota of prisoners to be met.
For three days they received neither food nor water. They heard other people arrive and saw
some of them through the small window; they heard other wagon doors being shut. Every so
often another car would be added to the train and jolt them out of their daze.
At one time a woman's voice called from outside and a young woman in their car got up
and passed her newborn infant through the barred window. The baby was small enough to fit
through the space between two iron rods. Hank caught a glimpse of a woman running across the
field with the baby in her arms. Then someone pulled him away and covered his eyes. He heard
shouts, then a shot. Soon the baby was passed back through the bars to its mother. Hank does not
recall how long it survived. His sister, then five years old, would be one of the youngest children
in their group to leave Soviet Russia alive. And she was far from being the youngest child on
Finally the train started to roll. Where to? Nobody told them. For how long? Nobody
knew, and the guards would not answer any questions. Still numbed by the sudden change in
their lives they sat or stood about. Denial was not possible, although some may have tried to
console themselves by thinking that this might be a bad dream from which they would soon
awaken. The swaying of the moving car, the rhythmic beat of the wheels, the sounds and the
smells of its occupants, the impossibility of stretching one's cramped limbs without crowding
one's neighbor, forced the reality of their situation into their consciousness at every turn. What
was going to happen to them? Very few words passed between them.
His new surroundings terrified Hank. He felt lost. He missed his father. Where had he
gone? Thinking about him filled Hank with apprehension and fear.
Soon death, too, came. It crept in with the moans of the sick and stayed with them
through their final struggle for breath. Covering Hank's eyes with their hands or their coats, his
mother or grand mother tried to shield him as much as possible from the dead and the dying and
from seeing the soldiers remove the corpses. Yet they could not close his ears to the sobs, the
crying, and the prayers of the family of the deceased. Hank soon became aware that death and
dying were to become his constant companions. This only deepened his worry about his father.
His sister remained silent and kept hiding her face in her mother's or her grandmother's coat.
His mother tried to maintain her composure, but the tears welling up in her eyes betrayed her sad
ness, a sadness Hank could not help but notice. Giving words to their despair, many said: "That's
it--the end. We have no way out." Hank's grandmother stood apart. She was the exception. She
was their rock. "Let us pray to get through this," she said.
They first ate what they had brought along. Not until they stopped in Kiey, after four days
travel and some 250 miles to the east, were they given food: a weak soup containing a few
cabbage leaves, a piece of potato here and there, and a little barley. They were also handed a
small piece of coarse and heavy bread. The train had stopped on a sid ing. When the doors were
opened they saw the cupolas of an Orthodox church. Many started to cry, others prayed.
Someone began to sing a psalm and soon everyone joined in.
From then on, every morning and every evening the train stopped, the doors were
unlocked, the watery soup with a little bread and drinking water were portioned out, and the
guards removed the corpses of those who had died since the last stop. Hunger and death were
constant, but worse still were the uncertainty and the worry about the future.
Cold, hungry, and nearly smothered by the smell of unwashed bod ies, they rolled day
after day, monotonously, through the flat lands of eastern Russia. At one time somebody said:
"We have just crossed the Volga." Later they saw mountains. Still later the train passed through
an endless expanse of forests. Few cared, numb to their surroundings, numb to time. Thanks to
his grandmother's resilient spirit and his own growing sense of resistance, even adventure, in the
depth of his soul Hank was convinced that God would take care of him and that some day he
would get out of Russia--that he knew for certain. As this conviction deepened, his fear left him.
"There is nothing to be afraid of any longer. They took away everything already There's nothing
else they can do to me," he said to himself.
Had they traveled two weeks? Or three? Was it the end of February, or already one of the
first days of March? They had lost all track of time. One day, the train stopped and did not start
up again: they had come to the end of the railroad. Deep snow still covered the ground. This was
KLAUS HERGT, MD, grew up in Weimar, Germany under the Nazi regime. After the war, he experienced the Soviet rule firsthand in East Germany, and later visits to Czechoslovakia and Latvia deepened his insights into life in Soviet occupied countries. His observations and experiences have made him keenly aware of the fate of the individual under totalitarian rule.
Klaus Hergt is a retired surgeon and now a hospice physician in northern Michigan.
Published by Crescent Lake Publishing, Cheboygan, Michigan;
Price $27.95 Excerpt reprinted by permission.
Instructions of the Soviet Deputy Commissar
for Public Security, Serov
Regarding the Procedure for carrying out the Deportation of
Anti-Soviet Elements from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia
(Translated In London from the original Russian Text)
1. GENERAL SITUATION
The deportation of anti-Soviet elements from the Baltic Republics is a task of great political
importance. Its successful execution depends upon the extent to which the district operative
"troikas" and operative headquarters are capable of carefully working out a plan for
implementing the operations and for anticipating everything indispensable. Moreover, care must
be taken that the operations are carried out without disturbance and panic, so as not to permit
any demonstrations and other troubles not only on the part of those to be deported, but also on
the part of a certain sec tion of the surrounding population hostile to the Soviet administration.
Instructions as to the procedure for conducting the operations are given below They should be
adhered to, but in individual cases the collaborators engaged in carrying out the operations shall
take into account the special character of the concrete conditions of such operations and, in
order correctly to appraise the situation, may and must adopt other decisions directed to the
same end, viz., to fulfill the task entrusted to them without noise and panic.
2. PROCEDURE OF INSTRUCTING
The instructing of operative groups by the district "troikas" [a body con sisting of three
members] shall be done as speedily as possible on the day before the beginning of the
operations, taking into consideration the time necessary for traveling to the scene of operations.
The district "troika" shall previously prepare the necessary transport for conveyance of the
operative groups in the village to the scene of opera tions. On the question of allocating the
necessary number of motor-cars and wagons for transport, the district "troikas" shall consult the
leaders of the Soviet party organized on the spot.
Premises for the issue of instructions must be carefully prepared in advance, and their capacity,
exits and entrances and the possibility of intrusion by strangers must be considered.
Whilst instructions are being issued the building must be securely guarded by operative workers.
Should anybody from among those participating in the operations fail to appear for instructions,
the district "troika" shall at once take steps to replace the absentee from a reserve which shall be
provided in advance.
Through police officers the "troika" shall notify those assembled of the Government's decision
to deport a prescribed contingent of anti-Soviet elements from the territory of the said republic
or region. Moreover, they shall briefly explain what the deportees represent.
The special attention of the (local) Soviet party workers gathered for instruc tions shall be drawn
to the fact that the deportees are enemies of the Soviet people [author's emphasis] and that,
therefore, the possibility of an armed attack on the part of the deportees cannot be excluded.
3. PROCEDURE FOR ACQUISITION OF DOCUMENTS
After the general instruction of the operative groups, documents regard ing the deportees should
be issued to such groups. The deportees' personal files must be previously collected and
distributed among the operative groups, by communes and villages, so that when they are being
given out there shall be no delays.
After receipt of the personal files, the senior member of the operative group shall acquaint
himself with the personal affairs of the families which he will have to deport. He shall,
moreover, ascertain the composition of the family, the supply of essential forms for completion
regarding the deportee, the supply of transport for conveyance of the deportee, and he shall
receive exhaustive answers to questions not clear to him.
Simultaneously with the issuing of documents, the district "troika" shall explain to each senior
member of the operative group where the families to be deported are situated and shall describe
the route to be followed to the place of deportation. The roads to be taken by the operative
personnel with the deported families to the railway station for entrainment must also be
indicated. It is also essential to indicate where reserve military groups are stationed, should it
become necessary to call them out during trouble of any kind.
The possession and state of arms and ammunition of the entire operative personnel shall be
checked. Weapons must be in complete battle readiness and magazine loaded, but the cartridge
shall not be slipped into the rifle breach. Weapons shall be used only in the last resort, when the
operative group is attacked or threatened with attack or when resistance is offered.
4. PROCEDURE FOR CARRYING OUT DEPORTATIONS
If the deportation of several families is being carried out in a settled locality, one of the
operative workers shall be appointed senior as regards deportation in that village, and under his
direction the operative personnel shall proceed to the villages in question.
On arrival in the villages, the operative groups shall get in touch (observing the necessary
secrecy) with the local authorities: the chairman, secretary or members of the village Soviets,
and shall ascertain from them the exact dwelling place of the families to be deported. After this
the operative groups, together with the representatives of the local authorities, who shall be
appointed to make an inventory of property, shall proceed to the dwellings of the families to be
Operations shall be begun at daybreak. Upon entering the home of the person to be deported, the
senior member of the operative group shall assemble the entire family of the deportee into one
room, taking all necessary precautionary measures against any possible trouble.
After the members of the family have been checked in conformity with the list, the location of
those absent and the number of sick persons shall be ascertained, after which they shall be called
upon to give up their weapons. Irrespective of whether or not any weapons are delivered, the
deportee shall be personally searched and then the entire premises shall be searched in order to
discover hidden weapons.
During the search of the premises one of the members of the operative group shall be appointed
to keep watch over the deportees.
Should the search disclose hidden weapons in small quantities, these shall be collected by the
operative groups and distributed among them. If many weapons are discovered, they shall be
piled into the wagon or motor-car which has brought the operative group, after any ammunition
in them has been removed. Ammunition shall be packed and loaded together with rifles.
If necessary, a convoy for transporting the weapons shall be mobilized with an adequate guard.
In the event of the discovery of weapons, counter-revolutionary pamphlets, literature, foreign
currency, large quantities of valuables, etc., a brief report of search shall be drawn up on the
spot, wherein the hidden weapons or counter-revolutionary literature shall be indicated. If there
is any armed resistance, the question of the necessity of arresting the parties showing such armed
resistance and of sending them to the district branch of the People's Commissariat of Public
Security shall be decided by the district "troikas."
A report shall be drawn up regarding those deportees in hiding or sick ones, and this report shall
be signed by the representative of the Soviet party organization. After completion of the search
the deportees shall be notified that by a Government decision they will be deported to other
regions of the Union. The deportees shall be permitted to take with them household necessities
not exceeding 100 kilograms in weight:
7. Kitchen utensils.
8. Food -- an estimated month's supply.
9. Money in their possession.
10. Trunk or box in which to pack articles.
It is not recommended that large articles be taken.
If the contingent is deported from rural districts, they shall be allowed to take with them small
agricultural stocks--axes, saws and other articles, which shall be tied together and packed
separately from the other articles, so that when boarding the deportation train they may be
loaded into spe cial goods wagons.
In order not to mix them with articles belonging to others, the Christian name, patronymic and
surname of the deportee and name of the village shall be written on the packed property.
When loading these articles into the carts, measures shall be taken so that the deportee cannot
make use of them for purposes of resistance while the column is moving along the highway.
Simultaneously with the task of loading by the operative groups, the representatives of the Soviet
party organizations present at the time shall prepare an inventory of the property and of the
manner of its protection in conformity with the instructions received by them.
If the deportee possesses his own means of transport, his property shall be loaded into the
vehicle and together with his family shall be sent to the designated place of entrainment.
If the deportees are without any means of transport, carts shall be mobi lized in the village by the
local authorities, as instructed by the senior member of the operative group.
All persons entering the home of the deportee during the execution of the operations or found
there at the moment of these operations must be detained until the conclusion of the operations,
and their relationship to the deportee shall be ascertained. This is done in order to disclose per
sons hiding from the police, gendarmes and other persons.
After verification of the identity of the detained persons and establishment of the fact that they
are persons in whom the contingent is not interested, they shall be liberated.
If the inhabitants of the village begin to gather around the deportee's home while operations are
in progress, they shall be called upon to dis perse to their own homes, and crowds shall not be
permitted to form.
If the deportee refuses to open the door of his home, notwithstanding that he is aware that the
members of the People's Commissariat of Public Security have arrived, the door must be broken
down. In individual cases neighboring operative groups carrying out operations in that locality
shall be called upon to help.
The delivery of the deportees from the village to the meeting place at the railway station must be
effected during daylight; care, moreover, should be taken that the assembling of every family
shall not last more than two hours. In all cases throughout the operations firm and decisive
action shall be taken, without the slightest excitement, noise and panic.
It is categorically forbidden to take any articles away from the deportees except weapons,
counter-revolutionary literature and foreign currency, as also to make use of the food of the
All participants in the operations must be warned that they will be held legally accountable for
attempts to appropriate individual articles belonging to the deportees.
5. PROCEDURE FOR SEPARATION OF DEPORTEE'S FAMILY FROM HEAD OF
In view of the fact that a large number of deportees must be arrested and distributed in special
camps and that their families must proceed to special settlements in distant regions, it is
essential that the operation of removal of both the members of the deportee's family and its head
should be carried out simultaneously, without notifying them of the separation confronting them.
After the domiciliary search has been carried out and the appropriate identification documents
have been drawn up in the deportee's home, the operative worker shall complete the documents
for the head of the family and deposit them in the latter's personal ifie, but the documents drawn
up for members of his family shall be deposited in the personal file of the deportee's family.
The convoy of the entire family to the station shall, however, be effected in one vehicle and only
at the station of departure shall the head of the family be placed separately from his family in a
car specially intended for heads of families.
During the assembling (of the family) in the home of the deportee the head of the family shall be
warned that personal male effects must be packed in a separate suitcase, as a sanitary inspection
of the deported men will be made separately from the women and children. At the stations of
entrainment heads of families subject to arrest shall be loaded into cars specially allotted for
them, which shall be indicated by operative workers appointed for that purpose.
6. PROCEDURE FOR CONVOYING THE DEPORTEES
The assistants conveying the column of deportees in horse-carts are strictly forbidden to sit in
the said carts. The assistants must follow along side and behind the column of deportees. The
senior assistant of the convoy shall from time to time go the rounds of the entire column to
check the correcmess of movement.
When the column of deportees is passing through inhabited places or when encountering
passersby, the convoy must be controlled with partic ular care; those in charge must see that no
attempts are made to escape, and no conversation of any kind shall be permitted between the
deportees and passersby.
7. PROCEDURE FOR ENTRAINMENT
At each point of entrainment a member of the operative "troika" and a person specially
appointed for that purpose shall be responsible for entrainment.
On the day of entrainment the chief of the entrainment point, together with the chief of the
deportation train and of the conveying military forces of the People's Commissariat of Internal
Affairs, shall examine the railway cars provided in order to see that they are supplied with
everything necessary, and the chief of the entrainment point shall agree with the chief of the
deportation train on the procedure to be observed by the latter in accepting delivery of the
Red Army men of the conveying forces of the People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs shall
surround the entrainment station.
The senior member of the operative group shall deliver to the chief of the deportation train one
copy of the nominal roll of the deportees in each railway-car. The chief of the deportation train
shall, in conformity with this list, call out the name of each deportee, shall carefully check every
name and assign the deportee's place in the railway-car.
The deportees' effects shall be loaded into the car, together with the deportees, with the
exception of the small agricultural inventory, which shall be loaded in a separate car.
The deportees shall be loaded into railway-cars by families; it is not permitted to break up a
family (with the exception of heads of families subject to arrest). An estimate of twenty-five
persons to a car should be observed.
After the railway-car has been filled with the necessary number of families, it shall be locked.
After the people have been taken over and placed in the deportation train, the chief of the train
shall bear responsibility for all persons handed over to him and for their delivery to their
After handing over the deportees the senior member of the operative group shall draw up a
report on the operation carried out by him and shall address it to the chief of the district
operative "troika." The report shall briefly indicate the name of the deportee, whether any
weapons and counter-revolutionary literature have been discovered, and also how the operation
was carried out. After having placed the deportees on the deportation train and having submitted
reports of the results of the operations thus discharged, the members of the operative group shall
be considered free and shall act in accordance with the instructions of the chief of the district
branch of the People's Commissariat of Public Security.
DEPUTY PEOPLE'S COMMISSAR OF PUBLIC
SECURITY OF THE USSR
Commissar of Public Security of the Third Rank.
US Congress. House. Report of the Select Committee to Investigate Communist Aggression and the Forced Incorporation of the Baltic States into the USSR. Third Interim Report, pp. 464-68. Washington: G.P.O., 1954. (original, US House of Representatives, files of Baltic Committee, Exhibit 16-H of 12.X.53.)
Note: The procedure of the deportations from Poland followed essentially the same rules. How
they were applied in individual cases depended on the personal attitudes of the members of the
troika; in instances liberally, particularly if the people to be deported had the presence of mind
to dispense vodka, in other instances extremely harshly and without any regard for the conditions
of their victims.