It is becoming increasingly apparent that significant swathes of the American public, especially the young, are proponents of socialism and communism. Or at least what they believe socialism and communism to be, anyway.
Of course, anyone remotely familiar with history and human nature knows that equality can exist only at the expense of liberty — or worse. Or, as Rush put it, “the trees are all kept equal by hatchet, axe, and saw”.
Unfortunately, due in large part to the Left’s ironclad grip on academia, the modern Western public has been kept largely blind to the full horrors of the Bolshevik menace. This is particularly troubling for this writer, whose family suffered greatly at the hands of the USSR.
And indeed I feel it behooves me to share some of my family’s story in the small hope that it may dissuade someone somewhere from embracing communism. My paternal grandfather was Polish and lived in Kresy Wschodnie, the Eastern Borderlands. His mother came from an aristocratic Polish-Lithuanian family, while his father was (I believe) of White Russian (Ruthenian/Belarussian) stock and worked as a police magistrate.
After the Soviets invaded Poland, my great-grandfather was shot as part of the order to execute 25,700 Polish “nationalists and counterrevolutionaries”, which resulted in the infamous Katyn massacre. My grandfather — after briefly facing a firing squad with his mother but being mysteriously and miraculously spared at the last minute — was then arrested trying to cross the newly established Lithuanian border in an attempt to reach his grandmother’s estate in Wilno. He was fourteen years old.
The following are his experiences as he described them.
They put me in jail for a week. It was not a pleasant experience and then, on my fifteenth birthday, I was handed over to Russian troops. I was charged, without trial, as a spy and once more I found myself facing a firing squad. I was tired, fed up, hungry, and past caring so I shouted at them to fire and get it over with. As they raised their rifles, a corporal who had been observing shouted an order and they shouldered their arms. He walked over and told me I was a brave boy. There was no language barrier; I spoke Russian as well as Polish. He took me to a jail at Lida, and once more I was in a prison cell for a week. I was then taken to a jail in a town called Baranowiecze [present-day Baranavichy, Belarus].
I was one of thirty-five prisoners in a cell intended for twelve. There was no room to lie down, so we each had our own little space for sitting or standing. There were no washing facilities either, and we were all covered in lice. From the end of April until the beginning of July I did not have a wash. There was a dustbin in the middle of the floor which did duty as a toilet. It overflowed and stank to high heaven, and was emptied only once a day. Food was scarce and very poor quality. Coffee, very weak, at 7 a.m., 250 grams of damp bread at mid-morning, and at midday we were given one litre of soup made from the lungs of cattle and horses. It was a dirty looking liquid with lumps of what looked like blue rubber floating in it. The tubes from the lungs were clearly visible, bobbing about in the murky concoction. At 6 p.m. we had more watery coffee and that was that. The same diet, day after day.
After three months of this I looked like a skeleton. Teenagers need food, fresh air, and exercise… The floor was always wet and smelly, and before long I was covered in boils. There were sores and pus all over my buttocks and legs…
Interrogation was carried out twenty-four hours a day. We never knew when it would be our turn. I was treated very badly. One of the worst things they did was force me to sit on a small stool with my feet stretched out in front of me, hands knees. There wasn’t a back on the stool so after an hour in this position, answering the same questions over and over again, it was very easy to topple off the stool. When this happened they poured cold water over my head and the entire process began again. I was charged with being a spy and, after weeks of interrogation, the brainwashing began once more. I was told over and over again how good Communism was. I replied that the Bible had a similar message. I was still young and defiant and my spirit was unbroken. I was sitting in a room opposite an officer sitting at a desk when I mentioned the Bible. It made him so angry that he picked up a heavy, old-fashioned ink blotter and threw it at me. It caught the side of my face and I lost two teeth.
A few days later I was sent for again and I was shown an official looking document. It said I had been tried by a court in Moscow and sentenced to eight years labour in Siberia. No crime was mentioned. The fact that I was a Pole was enough. The next day, forty-five of us were packed into a small cattle truck.
After briefly being jailed in Minsk, my grandfather was then taken to the Lubyanka Prison in Moscow.
I was shoved through a door and into a long corridor. It had a stone floor and was very narrow. Both sides of the corridor were lined with identical doors, and I was pushed through the nearest door. I found myself in a small cell with about twenty other young prisoners. I was sixteen years old. Like the cell in Baranowiecze, there was no room to sit or lie down. We had to stand and one when moved, we all moved. I looked at the others and there wasn’t a single face I knew. We were all filthy and our clothing was in rags. I was wearing the same clothes I had on when I was captured on my fifteenth birthday. I was very tired. I had been sentence earlier on so I thought that was the end of it. I wondered if this was where I was going to be held. I soon found out what was to happen to me.
I was taken into a small room, identical to the room where I had been sentenced. It was furnished the same way: a table, two chairs, and a bully of a man waiting to ask me the same interminable questions. In the last place I lost two teeth. What would I lose this time? I was ordered to sit. The officer stared at me and then my interrogation began. He was trying to make me confess to being a spy. Who or what could I have been a spy for? I was just sixteen years old. What could I say? Denying it would do me no good, so I said nothing. The man across from me smiled. ‘It doesn’t matter’, he said. ‘When I’m finished with you you’ll be singing like a bird’. At this point a guard entered the room, and I was told to undress. I stood there, completely naked, and then the guard pushed me out of the room and through another door that looked the same as all the others.
It wasn’t the same. Inside there were two narrow steps and about two feet away from the door there was a blank stone wall with running water flowing down it. There was a stone slab above the steps. It was too low for me to be able to stand up. My feet were in liquid, a mixture of urine and excrement. I couldn’t sit either. I could only hunch there with my knees bent, and there was only just enough room for me to make limited movements with my arms. I was wedged between the door and the three stone walls, and water dripped continuously from the ceiling slab. I was wet, cold, and afraid. It was also dark. I don’t know how long they kept me in that place. There was no difference between passing out and sleeping. I didn’t want to wake up. When I did my whole body ached.
He was then transported to a prison in Sverdlovsk, now Yekaterinburg, before being transported to a Gulag work camp in a place he called Wierchaturie in his memoirs. After about two years in the work camp he was released and made his way to join the Polish forces fighting in the British Army.
The experiences of my grandfather and his family were not the result of Leftism gone wrong. Indeed Leftism leads inevitably to such horrors. From the blood-soaked streets of revolutionary France, to the NKVD killing factories of the Soviet Union, to present-day black bloc protesters across the West, when the revolutionary spirit reigns violence and death follow.
That this even needs to be restated barely two decades following the century which saw communist and socialist movements kill roughly 100 million is, quite frankly, insane, but such is the age in which we live.
Don’t be an idiot. Say no to communism.
Cover Image: Still from the film Katyń (2007)