18th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest People
Tadei Horchynskyi (86)

"At 2 am “strypky”, exterminating battalion with guns, started hitting at our door. They strictly ordered us to get ready and hardly said that we would be taken out of Ukraine. All our property was confiscated. I was left only with a blanket and pillow in my hands. My parents and me, 17 years old at that time, were put on lorry Zis 5 and were taken from the town of Rozdil to the nearest railway station in the town of Rozvadiv. Our trip to the town of Zyma lasted for two weeks. Upon arrival, our whole group was driven to the steam bath. Then a commandant forced me to sign a document prepared by the MGB, reading that I arrived in Siberia for my whole life. I was assigned to float loose wood down the river. This was very dangerous work. I could not swim. Once 5m-high block of wood was formed on the river. My coworker used a crowbar to unblock it. Within seconds all the logs disorderly start to float down the river. I was standing on a huge log, which was turning around under my feet. To survive I drove with all my strength a crowbar to the log and used it as a steering wheel. About one kilometer down the river I managed to get to the shore". Violating fundamental human rights throughout its regime, the Soviet Union persecuted, imprisoned, sent to hard labor, Jehovah's Witnesses only because they did not compromise their worldview and refused to worship Stalin or promote communist military interests. Tadei was taken to Siberia during a secret operation, called “North”, on April 8, 1951. At that time almost nine thousand Jehovah’s Witnesses were exiled to Siberia where they were forced to stay for some 14 years.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 10.2020
Date Uploaded: 11.2020
Photo Location: Rozdil, Ukraine
Camera: NIKON D800
Copyright: © Artur Abramiv