The Witnesses' Uprising Reports

My stolen childhood - a story of a teenage Home Army soldier

The liaison officer





Henryk Stanisław Łagodzki,
born on July 15th, 1927 in Warsaw
Home Army soldier
wartime names: 'Hrabia', 'Orzeł'
Chrobry II Grouping , Battalion 1, Company 2, Platoon 1
Stalag IV b, prisoner of war no. 305785





         On the first of October 1944 I had a day off from standing guard at the outpost on 105 Pańska Street. The 3-story building on 104 Pańska Street was the place we relaxed in. There were rooms here where boys and girls could drink some tea or coffee and talk and relax.
         There was a communication-trench here, which led to the outpost on the corner of Prosta and Wronia Street and to the building on 15 Łucka Street, where the company commander ppr "Kos" was staying.
         On the first of October there was an armistice in our area. It was peaceful around us. People had come out of the cellars and apartments to get some fresh air and to move a bit. We could walk freely and cross the road. "Moneta" (Coin) and I left our outpost to see what was happening on the enemy's side.
         Some of our mates went to Wronia Street to look at some Germans, who had also left their posts to see us, the insurgents. Before going there, our mates borrowed guns and grenades to show the enemy how well-armed we were.
         I also had the opportunity to meet with the enemy the day before. We had 'met' in the middle of Wronia Street (near Pańska Street). Both sides had looked at each other with great interest. The Germans were very curious to see how we, the insurgents looked like. They looked at us from sll sides, at our arms and our appearance. They looked and spoke ofus with admiration and respect.
         Now our colleagues took use of the ceasefire and went to this meeting. I had some free time and could calmly and safely observe what was happening on the German side. But the SS-men betrayed the armistice. There was only one shot, in my direction. Tragically a young girl was killed. She had been carrying a pail of water from Prosta Street and had stopped by me to ask what was happening on the enemy side. The bullet hit her in the forehead. She died on the spot.
         This was how it happened. During a ceasefire on our line of the front (one of 3) everyone was feeling easy. It was calm and the silence was uncomfortable to our ears. I was walking with "Moneta" along Pańska Street, then we went to Prosta Street. There was a communication trench here, but during the ceasefire we walked on the embankment.
         "Moneta" crossed to the other side of Prosta Street, I however stopped for a moment. I was observing a group of SS-men who were talking loudly on the corner of Wronia and Prosta Street. While I was standing there like that i noticed a 16-year old girl walking to me in the trench from Łucka Street. She was carrying a bucket full of water. Behind her, her older sister had stopped to take a rest.
         The younger one stopped beside me while I was standing on the embankment. She asked me what was happening on the enemy's side, because shortly she was meant to go to Borman's factory with a report.
         That was her last question. I didn't have time to answer her. I heard a single shot and when I turned around I saw blood spurting out of her forehead and saw her slowly falling to the ground in the trench. The bucket had fallen over and the water had spilled out.
         I keep on asking myself, even till now who that bullet was meant for, I'm sure it was for me. Instead of me however, a young, beautiful girl was killed, a liaison officer.
         The bullet had passed between my legs and hit her in the forehead, whichwas only partly standing out of the trench. I quickly jumped into the trench and called "Moneta", who came back quickly. We moved the girl into a court-yard. Behind us, the girl's sister was running afters us in despair, having left her bucket behind. Shortly after a nurse came, but there was nothing she could do, the girl had died on the spot. The girls' mother came, and they both started crying over the loss of their beloved sister and daughter. "Moneta" and I looked at this moving scene, a senseless deathless. I felt especially guilty.
         If it hadn't been for me, the girl wouldn't have stopped, and that wouldn't have provoked some SS-man or Ucrainian to shoot in my direction. I was meant to be the person who was to die, but it happened differently. I think it was the only incident during the ceasefire on our section of the front: Wronia, Pańska, Prosta and Łucka Street. After a while some nurses came to take the body away, and "Moneta" and I couldn't bring ourselves together.
         At noon the ceasefire ended and we took our positions. I stopped at the place the girl had been killed and observed through binoculars the German positions, from which the shot had been fired. I realised, that it must have come from the burnt building on the corner of Prosta and Wronia Street.
         My colleagues as well as I closely observed those ruins,and on the second day "Żyrafa" (Giraffe), while being on position noticed some movement near one of the burnt windows. He noticed a SS-man, who was preparing his rifle and who was closely observing the foreground. He was visible only from the direction of where "Żyrafa" now was. "Żyrafa" was observing him and waiting for the right moment. The German had to lean out a bit more to better place his rifle.
         The distance was 150m. There was only one shot fired from "Żyrafa's" gun. He didn't have a telescope, but he was a good shot, and the German, who himself wanted to shoot somebody was killed. He died on the spot, "Żyrafa" had done justice, he was a hero, who had avenged the death of his female friend.
         The ceasefire had come to an end, we had to go back to our duties. There was no time to be sentimental. More and more insurgents and civilians were dieing. Death was everywhere. In some days, groups of civilians were leaving the city. Hunger and destruction made everyone worry about there loved ones. There was a shortage of food, water, electricity and ammunition.
         The civilians, who had been so great and spontaneous during the first days of the Uprising had changed. You could see despair in the eyes of women. The help that everyone had been waiting for from the east wasn't coming. Only from time to time some low-flying Soviet planes, the so called 'Kukurzyźniki' would throw down biscuits and ammunitions, but without any parachute.
         Please imagine yourself what that ammunition looked like when it hit the ground. Even if some didn't get destroyed it didn't fit into our guns.
         The days were passing more and more quickly. Capitulation was nearing. A few days later I found myself in the Lamsdorf Prisoner of War camp, then in Mühlberg and Brockwitz POW camps.


Henryk Stanisław Łagodzki
translated by Daniel Mierzwicki



      Henryk Stanisław Łagodzki,
born on July 15th, 1927 in Warsaw
Home Army soldier
wartime names: 'Hrabia', 'Orzeł'
Chrobry II Grouping , Battalion 1, Company 2, Platoon 1
Stalag IV b, prisoner of war no. 305785





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