The insurgent accounts of witness

Jan Romanczyk "Łata" (= a patch) - the boy from "Miotła" (= a broom)

The action at Deutsche Textilwaren

Jan Romanczyk
born on the 1st of May 1924 in Wolomin
sergeant cadet of Home Army
pseud. "Łukasz Łata" (= Lucas the Patch)
Kedyw of the Main Headquarters of Home Army
"Torpeda" (= a torpedo) Platoon, "Miotła" (= a broom) Battalion
"Radoslav" Grouping

         The action took place on the 5th of November in 1943 at 15:00. Its aim was to gain some bigger amount of warm underwear, socks, sweaters, gloves and the like for partisan units. The place of action: Warsaw, Swietokrzyska Street, then number 30, opposite the "Prudential" edifice, today "Warsaw" hotel. I am describing this action as I am the only participant of it still alive. A skimpy mentioning about that action can be found in Tomasz Strzembosz' book entitled:" Military actions of Underground Warsaw 1939-1944" on pages 392 and 393. That action is worthy of being described at length, as it was very useful and successful.
         The order to do it was given to the lieutenant "Kulesza" - Witold Przyborowski, who performed the action very competently. People from three patrols of Seweryn Skowronski "Anatol" grouping took part in the action. The first date was the 2nd of Septmeber 1943 but because of technical reasons it was cancelled, though all executors had been reported. The next date was appointed for the day of the 15th of October 1943 and was cancelled as well because of the round up that had been held for three days by Germans on Warecki Square (today the Square of Warsaw Insurgents). It was just the date of the 5th November that was effective.
         All action participants had false documents. Approaching their positions they reported in the gate at Jasna Street to women-liaison-officers, exchanged documents and guns and went to their destination. Before the action, during a briefing, everyone was informed about the task he was to carry out. Punctually at 15:00 when the dinner break finished in the shop, the commanding officer gave a sign of starting the action.
         Everything happened according to the prepared plan. The central group made its entrance to the shop and terrorized the staff. It separated Germans and Volksdeutschers from Poles relying on support of the last ones for loading the sacks and protecting them against the insults from the German managerial staff. Covering patrols took their positions.
         I was a commanding officer of the guard from Jasna Street side. Together with me there were Jozef Wysocki pseud. "Kubrym" and Jerzy Gniewkovski pseud. "Boncza." When the task was being carried out, from Jasna Street side, on the action field there entered a patrol of German field military policemen two-strong non-commissioned officers, with metals on the chest. At first we hid ourselves, but when the Germans passed by I followed them so as to cover the action. Military policemen passed our people, gave a salute to one of friends dressed up in a uniform of SA functionary in the rank of lieutenant and they went on without preventing boys from carrying out the task.
         About that action Tomasz Strzembosz wrote in the book entitled "Military actions of the Underground Warsaw 1939-1944" in the following way:
         "On the 5th of November 1943 an enormous action was carried out in the city centre of Warsaw by three sections of "Anatol" company from Kedyw (= Directorate for Diversion) KG AK (=the Main Headquarters of Home Army) led by "Kulesza" (Witold Przyborowski). Carrying out the task was largely eased by using in the role of an armed guard materials taken from one soldier of the unit, "Witold" (NN), a native Viennese who performed it in an SA uniform by aiming the aquisition on the lorries in a totally open way".
         In "Miotła" documents under the pseudonym "Witold" there appeared a surname Stefan Stanislaw Wondra, born on the 18th of February 1919 in Cracow. "Witold"'s father was an Austrian, his mother was Polish. Stefan Wondra attended a secondary school in Poznan and then in Warsaw where he took the school-leaving exam as an external. He took up studied at Warsaw University. During the war his father as Reichsdeutch worked in the water board at Czerniakowska Street where many times he helped Poles as much as he could. The son, because of the origin, was conscripted into Wehrmacht from where he deserted and went into the secret service with "Anatol" Company of Kedyw of the Main Headquarters of Home Army. His perfect knowledge many times eased the realization of military actions, just like in this situation. Father, after the war was imprisoned in a Polish camp for Germans where he died.
         After conquering and securing an establishment of a German company "Textil Central" located at Swietokrzyska Street, opposite "Prudential" producing sweaters, socks for the German army use, the whole impressed transport was carried away to a distant hideout. It consisted of 150 enormous sacks, that filled up a big lorry that drove back and forth, between the hideout and the magazine, three times where the action was taking place.
         "Terrorizing" Polish staff of the company and of the magazine with knitted goods wasn't difficult, while the atmosphere prevailing during the action was absolutely out of the ordinary. Like one of the action participants, "Piotrowski" (Andrzej Szafran), wrote that it was carried out in a friendly atmoshpere. Of course everyone present in the building was "terrorized," telephone communications were cut off, while "Kostek" (Tadeusz Palusiak) keeping an eye on the terrorized, to while away the time, was telling them jokes that made "the hostages" laugh uproariously.
         In that time the goods were taken out and loaded. After loading them on two lorries "Kulesza" wrote a receipt to the storeman for the bigger amount of goods than it had been really taken. Ladies that were present there - workers of the institution - with tears in their eyes thanked that just for a while they lived in "independent Poland."
         The action lasted for about two hours, everything took place without any disruptions. The ceremony of finishing the action went like its beginning. The commanding officer left the shop and with an arranged hand gesture announced its ending. The participants of that event withdrawing, dropped into the gate at Jasna Street, gave guns to women-liaison-officers and took documents. Two friends escorted women-liaison-officers to the hideout. It was the way the action finished. I wonder what looks the military policemen put on, that were in the very centre of the event. We were pleased with the well-done job.

Jan Romańczyk

      Jan Romanczyk
born on the 1st of May 1924 in Wolomin
sergeant cadet of Home Army
pseud. "Łukasz Łata"
Kedyw of the Main Headquarters of Home Army
"Torpeda" Platoon,
"Miotła" Battalion
"Radoslav" Grouping

elaboration: Maciej Janaszek-Seydlitz

translation: Małgorzata Szyszkowska

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