1939 — Soviet Occupation and Annexation 1940 – Map of Byelorussian SSR 1941 – Russian Tanks in Kobryń Square“Let ‘s Strike the Kulaks…”1930 – “Get the Kulak Off the Collective Farm”1940 – Childhood Neighbor (1)1940 – Childhood Neighbor (2)1940 – Childhood Neighbor (3)1940 – Childhood Neighbor (4)1940 – Childhood Neighbor (5) September 20, 1939 — The Russian Army occupied the Antopol area, including Berezna, continuing on to Kobryń and Brest. On September 1, Germany had invaded Poland from the west, starting World War II. Both Germany and Russia had invaded Poland under provisions of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact between the Soviet and Nazi governments (signed August 23) agreeing to divide Poland between them. On November 14, 1939, the whole Brest region was annexed into the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic. The map shows the borders in 1940 after the annexation, with Brest (Брест) and Kobryń (Кобрын) located on the bottom left. Antopol was established as an administrative center for the region by the Soviet authorities and its population grew to around 10,000 with new residents arriving from eastern Byelorussia and Russia itself. During the occupation, the Soviet government engaged in a brutal campaign of Sovietization, forcing the adoption of the Soviet political system (e.g., workers’ councils), ideals, and culture. The Soviet authorities arrested large numbers of Polish intellectuals, former government officials, civil servants, clergy, and ordinary people perceived as enemies of the revolution. Soviet authorities also forced the resettlement of large categories of “class enemies” to labor camps (gulags) and settlements in Siberia and elsewhere. One category of class enemy was the “kulaks” (tight-fists), who were relatively more prosperous farmers with larger farms, or who owned livestock, hired workers, or sold excess agricultural production in the market. The anti-kulak propaganda posters above are from around 1930 when the elimination of kulaks had begun in Russia. People in Byelorussia identified as kulaks were often deported, illegally punished, murdered, or officially executed after trial. Nikifor Parfomuk had been a village official, was a Baptist preacher, and fit the definition of a kulak, so the family faced a constant threat of deportation and death as long as it remained in Berezna during Soviet rule. The article excerpt above recounts the memories of a Polish girl named Joanna Michalak from Szemiotówka, the neighboring village to Berezna, whose family was sent to Siberia during the Soviet occupation. Her story includes more details about village life in the area before that time, and describes the experience of Soviet deportation. As Władysław attended the same school and was around the same age, he and Joanna almost certainly knew one another and probably were childhood friends.