Ch.4
WHAT HAS BECOME OF OUR HOME AND GARDEN IN PINSK

My brother Edward (66.121) who lived in London, revisited Pinsk between 1990 and 1995 just before his death and sent me the following photos.


SOVIET OCCUPATION  

1939 - 1990

After destroying our family in 1940, the communists used our house during the war for billeting the Red Army officers. Also Secret Police personnel (the NKVD, later called KGB) lived in it for a while.

When the war ended, a friend of my mother in Poland since Russian Tsarist school days, Barbara Szyjanowicz, a Russian exile woman who remained in Pinsk and often used to visit us, squatted in our empty house after our deportation, with some of her family. Soon, however, according to rules of the socialist soviet state which owned all properties in the whole Soviet Union, Barbara's family had to vacate half of the house. It was allocated to another (Belarus) family.

1990 - 1995


Barbara's family is now all dead, except for Barbara's daughter in law, a widow, Vera Szyjanowicz. Vera still lived there in 1992 with her own daughter and a grandson.


1990 : FRONT GATE - No. 3  OCHOWSKA STREET
The turn into Ochowska street, looking from Wodociagowa street. The gates and side gate to No. 3 are visible at end, before the street turns right again. A bit of house roof is seen on the left. Two huge trees each side of the gate vanished, probably have been cut for fire wood during the war.

ENTRY TO No. 3

Our house at No. 3 Ochowska street, from the front.

Only a small part of the "front" garden is left. The rest of it (facing Ochowska street) has been cut off forming a neighbouring block and a house was built on it.

Entry into No.3,  Ochowska street.

NEW STREET AT THE BACK.
THE GARDEN IS GONE !

Our house from the back. The garden is completely gone !

A new street runs across what used to be our very large "back" garden. The new street joins Wodociagowa street with Poleska street.

View from the new street. The garden disappeared !

OUR HOUSE AT THE BACK

Side view of the house from the back

The house at the back

CLOSER VIEW AT THE BACK

A closer view of the house at the back, looking from the new street. Only tiny garden left.

The house number plate (on the right edge) now shows No. 4. That's where the other family occupies half of the house. In front it is still No. 3 Ochowska street.

Close view at the back

INSIDE OUR HOUSE
Inside the house. The half opened door leads to a room where I had my study desk. Inside our house

TILED STOVE BUILT INTO THE WALL
A "built-in", white tiled, wall-stove, fired by logs or coal. It was at the intersection of three rooms, so they all were heated by convection. Old Edward, my brother, revisiting his childhood, sits at the door to the stove. After the stove was "fired", it was hermetically closed to keep the heat. A sliding-in plate (see black line above) was used to close the flue leading to the chimney. The tiled wall - stove

PINSK RAILWAY STATION

Railway station from the street exit side. It hasn't changed but now there is also a bus station next to it.

We lived about 15 minutes walk from the station, walking along Kolejowa (Railway) street and Wodociagowa (Water-mains) street.

Pinsk railway station

POLISH "GIMNAZJUM AND LICEUM"

The Secondary College at Kosciuszko street, which I attended. Now the street is called Lenin Street.

The building still has the old inscription on the masonry in Polish language, except the Polish Eagle which has been chiseled out.

Former Polish Gimnazjum and  Liceum

MAIN POST OFFICE

The Main Post Office at Oginski's street, built by Polish government circa 1935, where my father used to work.

I remember it well. The darker opening to the left of the pedestrian, leads to a revolving glass door entry — pretty modern for those times.

Main Post Office
The communists haven't done much for 50 years, except to blow up few churches and ruin the environment around Pinsk. By draining the marshes to turn them into collective farms they destroyed the rich ecology of the Pripet Marshes and turned the soil into dusty sand.

CINEMA IN PINSK
The cinema in Pinsk, where I used to go to see exciting movies like "King Kong", "Frankenstein monster" and "Tarzan", or admire Sherley Temple films. Cinema in Pinsk

JESUITS' COLLEGE

Former Jesuit College, now a museum. The adjoining Jesuit Fathers' Church was purposely blown up by Communists in 1953. In its place there is a statue of Lenin with raised hand showing the way to the vodka and spirits shop opposite. On the photo is Ryszard Karczmitowicz, born in Dawidgródek, visiting Pinsk from Kalisz, Poland, in 2002.


CATHOLIC CATHEDRAL

The only surviving Catholic church in Pinsk, a cathedral at Kosciuszko street, now renamed Lenin street. The church was built for the Franciscan Order in 14th century Kingdom of Poland in 1396 (see Rymaszewski ancestors, section 12), by Prince of Pinsk, Zygmunt, the son of Kiejstut. In independent Poland, in 1925, it became Saint Virgin Mary Cathedral.

The communists wanted to turn the church into a brewery ! It was saved and taken care of by Cardinal Kazimierz Swiatek who renovated it with the help of Polish community. Cardinal Swiatek has spent 10 years in the Soviet prisons and gulags, before he took care of the church.

Catholic cathedral
Main altar

It impresses with its greatness, resplendent with golden altars. Their complex compositions include many wooden sculptures, decorative carvings and fretwork in baroque.

On the right above is the beautiful main altar in the cathedral, at which at some times I served as an altar boy, as other students of my College did, in turn.

There are marvelous paintings: "The Holy family with Franciscan" (16th century), "The Ascension of St. Mary" (17th century), and "Pinsk Madonna" (shown on the left above) by A. Römer (19th century).

 
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