The Witnesses' Uprising Reports

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

"Capitulation"





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





         We had capitulated. We still could not believe it. Until the very last moment, we had been defending our positions at 10 Panska Street. The Germans were still shooting despite the armistice which had been in force for a few days and lasted from 8 a.m. till 9 p.m. We were exhausted as there were no shifts and we got no regular meals. Even at the very end of the Uprising, the Germans were very active in that part of the town (Towarowa Street) as it was an important route to Srodmiescie and other districts.
         On October 5rd, at 7:30 a.m., we left the positions we had been defending for 63 days. We could not believe we had to abandon the place and let it to be taken over by Ukrainians without a single shot. Still, we had to obey the order. We marched out in close formation to our destination at 36 Zelazna Street. where Chrobry II Battalion Grouping belonging to 15 Infantry Regiment of the Home Army was staying. We were marching in fours, led by our commanders. Before leaving, we had attended a mass. There were many civilians as well.
         I managed to say goodbye to my parents. Now they lived in the cellars of the building at 14 Lucka Street (we had our flat there on 4th floor where conspiracy meeting were held from 1940). I took some useful objects from there. My parents were in despair but I could not leave my comrades. We were bound for ever, it was genuine solidarity.
         It was with deep sorrow that we were leaving behind our positions and redoubts. They meant so much to us. We said good bye to the Jews who belonged to our platoon and who decided to stay in Warsaw. Other Jewish insurgents decided to go with us into captivity. They changed their names and survived the POW camps. No one denounced them, all of them came back after the war.
         The regiment was formed in the meeting point for the first time. We set out at around 10 a.m. We would be marching down Zelazna and Chlodna Streets, across Kercel Square, Przyokopowa Street down to Ozarow Mazowiecki.
         Out of the five of us who started the fight, there were only two left. Mieczyslaw Chonorowicz "Rondel" left the town with civilians. He had to take care of the son of his sister who died in the Pawiak prison. Sylwester Jagodziński "Sylwek" also left the town with his parents. "Reszka" was badly injured in his stomach and was evacuated together with the hospital.
         "Moneta" and I were the only ones left. With our heads down, we were going into the German captivity. Civilians and parents went out to say goodbye to us. I saw my parents again in Lucka Street. I waved at them but they did not see me. Down from Grzybowska Street, the Germans were standing on both sides of Zelazna and Chlodna Streets with their guns ready to fire. We saw burnt houses all around us. We turned into Chlodna Street and passed the Gestapo building. This brought back memories. We saw a bunker at the gate at 75 Zelazna Street. It was here that I was arrested in July, 1943 and then imprisoned in a cell on the 1st floor together with Ryszard Kowalski, who later died in a concentration camp. It was here that I saw the first SS-men being arrested on the first days of the Uprising. They were later building the barricades and clearing the pavements for us. It was here in Chmielna Street, next to Zelazna Street, that my future father-in-law was injured. Irena, my future wife, had been fighting in the Uprising from the very first day. She was a courier of Chrobry II Grouping. On August 7th, 1944 she was captured by Ukrainians and SS-men in Chłodna Street. Her neighbours were driven out of their flats. Those who were healthy were told to stand in front of a tank. Those who were not able to walk were shot dead. Irena and her father were also there. They were a human shield for the tank which was heading towards the barricade. The insurgents managed to stop the tank. But Irene's father was shot dead. When she saw him falling down, she took him aside to a gate. He died there. She was then brutally driven into Saint Wojciech's Church which was to be blown up with all the people inside.
         After sixty three days of fighting, we were now marching in close formation down Chlodna Street. We were guarded by the Germans who were looking at us hatefully. We saw skeletons of building and piles of dead bodies burning in the courtyards. We saw the same in Wolska Street.
         We turned into Kercel Square where we had to lay down our weapons. There were tables and baskets for short guns in the centre of the square. We put our weapons onto the pile. Still, no weapon that was given back was working. All had been damaged on purpose. It was a plot of Polish officers and soldiers. I thought how Kercel Square looked different on the second day of the Uprising. I could still see the tank we had captured and smiling faces of our comrades from "Parasol" Battalion.
         We were escorted by the Germans, still civilians were giving us food and water. We started to sing, which was a big surprise to the Germans. They started to shout and strike us with their rifle butts yet we kept on singing.
         When I reached the corner of Wolska and Przyokopowa Street, I saw my elder brother heading towards Kercel Square. He had a badly injured arm. He had got injured in an attempt to capture the power plant in Powisle during the Uprising. Before the Uprising, Kazimierz Lagodzki "Salamandra" lived with his wife and child in Browarna Street. In mid September 1944, after leaving hospital, he got to Sródmieście to continue fighting. With his arm still in pain, he reported at 18 Miedziana to the commanders of Chrobry II Grouping.of the Home Army and started to serve under the command of "Lech Zelazny".
         He lived at 88 Sienna Street in a flat of the Sobiechas' where I met him. Having laid down his weapon, he ran away from the POW marching column to find his wife and son. When the family reunited, they moved into a farmer's house in Skierniewice town. But their happiness did not last long. Someone informed Gestapo about an insurgent in hiding. He was shot down and buried in an unknown place. The last time I saw him was when I was leaving the town. We could not even say a word - it was too noisy.
         We passed Mlynarska Street. We saw damaged trams which had once been a part of a barricade. Wolska Street was flanked with scary skeletons of buildings. The air was filled with an odour of burning bodies. Wola district was devastated but it was different than in Srodmiescie. There was no damage caused by "cows" (nickname for a type of missiles) or air raids but we could see the evidence of German and Kaminski's barbarity and suffering inflicted to the town and its inhabitants.
         We were tired and dejected. We slowly got out of town marching in a column that seemed to have no beginning or end. We stopped from time to time for a rest, the injured were not able to walk so far. It was the first time in two months that we saw fields and meadows. Women from villages we were passing gave us food, fresh milk and cold water. We could satisfy our hunger as not everybody had had breakfast. Wehrmacht soldiers forbade to give us the food but no one cared. There was much noise and shouting. Some insurgents were left behind and stayed with the villagers as the marching column could not wait. Far in the distance, we saw the building of the cable factory in Ozarow Mazowiecki town, which was our destination for that day. We were driven into empty and dirty halls of the factory. We spent the night on the cold concrete floor.
         The 16 kilometres march exhausted us. For 65 days, we had no chance to cover such distances. Sleeping on the concrete floor gave us hardly any rest at all, still we could stretch our legs. This was our longest rest for two months. We had nothing to eat. When we woke up on October 6th, we were hungry and dirty from the floor. We went out to look for some hot meal. And this is how our prisoner-of-war story begins.





Henryk Stanisław Łagodzki
translated by Gabriela Sudacka



      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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