This is another story of deportation from Do Not Avenge Us. I have mentioned Margareta Cemârtan-Spânu’s stories before. She wrote the story with the apple with the scent from home. Here, she remembers the moment when the Bolsheviks came to their house and took them to deport them to Siberia, to be “food for the wolves.” Bunica, the grandmother, appears in the story with the apple with the scent from home as well.
Deportation took place on July 6. It was around noon, and we were all working outside. I was sweeping the yard, and dad was mounting some hay with Emil. All of a sudden, we heard a rumble, and we saw a big car coming toward us. It stopped at the gate, and four soldiers and the president of the village’s Soviet came out of it. They commanded dad to take a few things and get in the car with us.
Dad froze because he did not expect this. Then he began to oppose them:
“Why do you take me? Where do you take me? What did I do to you?!…”
And the activist told him:
“You deserve it! I asked you to be a teacher at school, why didn’t you want to do it? Now you’ll teach the wolves in the forest!”
Indeed, the Bolsheviks had asked dad to be a teacher in the village. But how could you teach Antichrist to children? Even bunica was against it: “What can you teach the children, if these people burn the icons and say that God does not exist!?”…
In the meantime, neighbors gathered to the fence and watched, but they did not say anything because they were afraid. If the Bolsheviks had the gun on the hip, could you do or say anything? They had put fear into people, and people feared even their own shadows. Whatever the activists said, they did, and poor people lived like on needles!
However, a woman came close to me and told me:
“Run! Go to my yard! They will not look for you! Go to the cellar, hide!”
I was six years old. I looked at her but did not understand anything: why should I run, why should I be without a dad, a brother, with a stranger? And I did well that I did not run! If I ran, what? Wasn’t I remaining a stranger? And who needs a stranger as a child? But now, whatever we suffered, we suffered together, and that’s it!
So those soldiers were yelling at us:
“Come, faster, faster, come, up, up!”
The people from the fence started to yell at dad:
“Neculai, don’t sit, take clothes! They take you to the glacier, take some warm clothes, take for the children!”
People already knew what Siberia meant.
Dad went in the house, took a suitcase with his groom suit, the shirt, some clothes for us, tossed it in the car, and then went back. We were clinging on his pants and kept going after him crying. He took two other blankets, an old and a new one, and came out with them under his armpit. Then, Grisha the Gipsy, who had come with the soldiers, snatched the new blanket, which had a beautiful glow, and told my dad:
“You don’t need it! We take you as food for the wolves, and you don’t need to be warm there!”
My poor dad began to cry, and we were clinging to his pants, crying as well. My brother could already understand everything because he was older, but I could not understand what was happening; I was crying because of his crying.
Dad looked at the house and the garden crying, but that one, Grisha the Gipsy, did not give him any moment of peace:
“Come, come, faster, come, get up!”
The people began to shout:
“But he hasn’t taken anything! These children are naked!”
Since it was summer, we were barefoot; I was in a small dress, and my brother in a little shirt and shorts.
“Up, up, come, come! We’ve already lost time with you! Up!”
Then, they helped bunica in the car. She was not crying like dad; she was not crying at all. She was peaceful, calm. When she was in the car—I seem to see her right now—she turned toward people, like a statue, she made a cross in the air, and she said: “Good people, if I harmed you in any way, forgive me!”
All the others were crying, all the relatives, dad, us, but not her! She was calm, peaceful. Even now, when I tell the story, I feel like crying, but not her. She did not cry at all! I was so amazed…
Then, all of a sudden, she told the girl:
“Masha, run to the kitchen and bring me the small icon with the Mother of the Lord! It is hidden in a corner, behind the cardboard!”
She kept it hidden because the Bolsheviks had destroyed everything.
Tanti (aunt) Maria ran fast, found it, and brought it to her. Bunica kissed it, made the sign of the cross one more time, and said:
“God with us!”