I interviewed my grandmother Hanna Marshalok (maiden name: Zemba). She was born on April 12, 1948, in the village of Stary Skalat in the Ternopil region. After the death of her mother in 1959 and her father in 1960, she was placed in a care facility in Brzezhany. After graduating from the institution, she returned to Stary Skalat, worked in accounting at the Pidvolochysk distillery, while taking a remote learning course on food technology in Lviv University of Food Technology. Having graduated from the university, she worked as a technologist, first at the distillery and then at the home care products factory in Skalat. She married a fellow villager from a Polish family, Stanislav Marshalok. She has a daughter and a son. She still lives in the village of Stary Skalat. The interview includes Hanna’s recollections, testimonies of relatives and acquaintances about family history, relations between Ukrainians and Poles during World War II and in the post-war period.
Memories about the father
I know about my father. At first, he worked as a salesman for 12 years, and then spent another 9 years working for the village council. And he was bullied by his fellow villagers who had joined the Banderites; they claimed he was a communist, because why else would he work for the village council and not want to join them? He was bullied. Do youknow what a Bankbettel (a bench/bed with a lid) is? My mother used to hide him inside it. Later, my mother would hide him in a huge sack, or he would sit in a tree; she would hide him at night. And then he was caught. They threw him into the basement. They kept him there for some time… My sister* used to come with my mother and say: “Give me back my dad!” They would take her—and she was quite tiny—and put her in a puddle.
Then they wanted to shoot him, but everyone said the same thing: “So, you are Kanarsky, Kolomiyets, and Riznychok…” “He has not done anything to me”. “He has not done anything to me”. They asked everyone in the circle, drank a bottle of vodka, and let him go. And then my mother got leukemia. So my mother died, and he died a year later.
And he also had a brother who lived in Baranivka. There was someone named Shevchuk who approached him and told him: “Pavlo, go four steps away!” And so Pavlo did, and was shot. The guy then was imprisoned in Vorkuta for 25 years. When he came back, he said: “Pavlo keeps chasing me everywhere,” and hung himself.
Styopa** told me that there was a photo of my uncle Pavlo, and Ganya brought me his photo. I visited the old people. One woman said he used to hide Jews, but that was not true. And Lyuba, the Banderite who had been imprisoned, told that the majority of those who suffered were innocent. “Including your uncle and your dad, because he was quite smart for his time.” I remember, back in the days of the collective farm, there was a guy named Genda. He used to bring a bag of documents, and my father would do the accounting. Also, he was a very talented artist. He painted very well. And I don’t remember him! And there were photos, but Styopa’s father burned them. I assume he looked like Styopa. They said he was thin and very tall.
* The elder sister Maria.
** Styopa is Hanna’s nephew, the son of Maria, her elder sister.
The Story About a Pig
And where did the Banderites come from?
They were locals. They were patriots. Riznychok and Kolomiyets were the scariest ones. My mother’s sister had a pig. It was war; her husband was at war. She had a pig, and someone told her that they would come to take the pig away. She hired someone to kill the pig at night, and hid it somewhere at the neighbors’. Those Banderites came—she personally told this to Styopa and me—the Banderites came for that pig, but the pig was not there! And she was locked in the house. They kicked the door so hard, even broke all the doors trying to find out where the pig was. She was so smart!
Poles and Ukrainians
The Poles and Ukrainians… it was a great confrontation. They said they were killing each other, whether that was true or not. And why wouldn’t that be true? One guy, Zadorozhny, was passing by, and they put him up on the wall, hang him there, and that’s how he was exterminated. Many were exterminated back in the day.
And here who were more numerous: the Poles or the Ukrainians?
The Poles, probably… There were many Poles here. There is not a single family in the village that is not mixed. Polish and Ukrainian… there is no such thing here! My mother’s mother was Polish, my father’s mother was Polish, Lesya’s father was Polish. Here, where Petro* lives, there was an entire Polish family, and they moved to Poland in the year 58.
* Lesya and Petro are Hanna’s neighbors
Memories about sugar and the German soldiers
There was a workshop in the local community center, and they [German soldiers during the occupation] stayed at the place of your grandfather’s father*. And he remembers very well from his childhood—he was a child—that there was an oven, and there was a bed, and there was sugar. There was some German on duty all the time. And there was a kind one, who used to pick them and hold them in his arms, him and his sister from Polupanivka, and gave them some sugar. He remembered that.
* Hanna retells childhood memories of her husband, Stanislav Marshalok.
Stary Skalat is located in the east of Ternopil region, next to the town of Skalat. In the pre-war period, this territory was under the rule of Poland. The village was populated by Poles, Ukrainians, and Jews. During the Nazi occupation, all the Jews were first taken to a ghetto in the nearby Skalat, where a large Jewish community lived, and then transported to concentration camps. After the establishment of the Soviet rule, many Poles moved to Poland. The Polish Roman Catholic Church of Blessed Jakub Strepa, built in 1911, and the Church of Saints Cosmas and Demian, dating back to the 17th century, still operate in the village.
The interviews are given in the original language or a transliteration of it with preservation of national, regional and individual speech peculiarities.