My father

Ryszard Bock

My father Ryszard Bock was born on 8.09.1906 in Szczekociny. He was a son of a doctor Konrad Bock and Modesta of the house Bieleccy. He had two brothers, Jerzy and Wojciech. My grandfather Konrad was executed as a captive after the attack on Kutschera, and uncle Wojciech was a pilot in RAF, died in Hamburg. My father finished law on Warsaw University, he was a judge. He was a head of the Magistrates court in Sierpiec. In October 1936 he married Maria Śniechowska. After a year I was born, as the only child of this marriage. My father was called to the front as a lieutenant in cavalry communication. In Lwow on a bridge they got surrounded by the Red Army and taken imprisoned. The captives were loaded into commodity carriages. My father gave a woman a postcard from the train: "I'm being intentnmented, driven to the East. Don't forget me". On 26 September a captive camp in Starobielsk was created, in Volgograd Oblast, in eastern Ukraine. The camp was built on the grounds of the female monastery. There were two temples and about 20 buildings. All was surrounded by a stone wall. Behind the wall a 3 meter area was planned and surrounded by a barbed wire. On the wall, on the height of head, were holes after shots. That's where the nuns from the monastery were executed. There were 10 posts guarding the camp and in night additional patrols with dogs. In the beginning of the camp's existance there were 11 260 people crowded inside, in the beginning of October it had been unloaded by setting free the privates and non-commissoned officers.
There were 3 900 officers left, including:
  • 8 generals
  • 180 colonels and subcolonels
  • 316 majors 844 captains
  • 816 lieutenants
  • 9 chaplains
and others out of which only 1 300 professional officers, the rest were officers of intelligence reserves:
  • 20 high colleges proffesors
  • 400 doctors
  • few hundreds lawyers
  • few hundereds engineers.
In the camps everyone was working, usually unloading the carriages,the weaker and ill worked in cleaning works, in the kitchen etc. The POWs were often interrogated in night for long hours. The conditions in the camp were horrible. In october the snow fell and it was freezing. The captives resided mainly in the temple on multi-storey bunks reaching the ceiling. There was no place to wash, and pediculosis spreaded. After over half a year in tough conditions it was impossible to reduce the Polish intelligence what was much fighting done for. The propaganda was broadcasted by the speaker all the time, the captives were shown movies and given Polish press. It didn't make out. The captives didn't give up their motherland, religion, view and moral rules. Stalin hadn't forgotten the shame of Soviet forces defeated by the Polish Army in 1920. 05.03.1940 Stalin and other comrades governing USSR sign the execution sentence on interned Poles from the camps in Starobielsk, Kozielsk and Ostashkov. On 5.IV.1940 the deportation to Charkow begun, since 5-14.04.1940 1700 officers had been deported, about 200 daily, the rest was deported until 12 may 1940. In the NKVD headquarters in Charkow in nights people were executed and their bodies were transported by trucks to Charkow provinces to "Leso-Park" in Piatichatki, where the rest houses for NKVD were located. My father, a prisoner of Starobielsk, was executed in Charkow when he was 34 years old. From the Starobielsk camp seventy people were rescued, i.a. painter Józef Czapski. He described his experience in "Wspomnienia Starobielskie" and "Na nadludzkiej ziemi". Our journey began in September 1939. As many polish families, mom fled with me from the Germans to the east of Poland to family in Lubelskie Voivodeship. When the Germans got there too, we returned to home. The house in Sierpiec we lived in had been occupied by the Germans, even the stuff was unable to be recovered. We accomodated in my grandfather Śniechowski's father's mother's house in Śniechy. The grandfather's property begun to be managed by a German, we were unconfortable subtenants in our own house, on our own grounds, which 700 years ago belonged to the family of Śniechowscy. My grandad and uncle Stanisław, the only son of my grandad, were arrested. Grandfather was lucky to be set free after a few days, by front officers. My uncle, however, from the prison got to Auschwitz, where he was executed in 30 year old age. He wasn't even in the army as he had heart problems. His only fault was that he was a Pole and was a member of Polish intelligence. There was a threat the arrestings would repeat, so we left our house, our place in the world. We settled with my mom in Serock near Warsaw in Bock's grandfather's, who was a doctor. The grandfather was made accept the volds list. The sons fought for Poland, grandfather would by no means give up his Polish citizenship. In fear of arrestment he ran to Warsaw leaving his life achievevements - house, doctor's cabinet. In December 1943 he was arrested in a roundup after an attack on Kutschera and executed on Towarowa St. in Warsaw. After the war we were waiting for dad's return. Mom was searching for father via Polish and Swiss Red Cross, etc. She got answered that his fate is unknown. We hoped that the father will come back. It was known that the captives of Kozielsk were executed in Katyn. It was to be expected that the Starobielsk captives were done the same, but the hope was stronger. In 1991 it was finally revealed where the executed captives from Starobielsk are burried. Murdered men families started going to Charkow. I was in Charkow and Starobielsk in may 1991. In 1991 a team of Polish specialists did surveying works stating the places the Polish officers were burried. Except Poles they hold a few times more murdered citizens of former USSR. In 1994-1996 in Charkow-Piatichatki exhumation jobs were done, the area where the remains of the murdered Polish officers was marked. Now the goal is to build a military graveyard for our fathers. Laying the cornerstone yo build a Polish cemetery is to take place in 27.06 this year. In the celebration will participate the presidents of Poland and Ukraine, the Polish Army and families of the murdered.

Tarnowskie Gory, 26.04.1993r
Maria Anita Bock




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