The insurgent accounts of witness
My war 1939-1945
A mysterious episode
I was running away together with Balas and Malpa (= a monkey) from the wrath of a shoemaker under thirty six (Mlynarska Street).We made him furious by the explosions of caps (we put two together so there would be louder) in leaden small bombs, just close the door of his cubbyhole loaded with shoes. We turned to Zytnia, we passed Pajak's (= spider) fuel warehouse and when running down from a slight slope of a trodden path, shots boomed in front of us!
Malpa stumbled, losing his, too-big, shoe and I with Balas we gained momentum and reached a butcher's gate. We crouched behind a little protrusion of the wall, lying down on the ground. In a moment Malpa was with us.
We knew what shots meant on the street.
Still there was quiet - I heard beating of my own heart and quick breaths of Malpa and Balas...
We looked out of the wall carefully.
The street was empty, but some girl was running from Karolkowa. Catching up with us she screamed:
- Run away! There are people killed...
We saw that people were gathering at Karolkowa - curiosity triumphed over fear and we moved into that direction. We ran across the street and dashed along the cemetery wall. We reached an old people's house. By the wall of the building protruding in the direction of a pavement, there were standing some people. They looked silently at those who were lying. We stood by the kerb, to see better.
We were looking...
They were lying facing the ground, scattered on the whole width of the street. It looked as it they had been running and they got tripped up. This one lying closest to Karolkowa was probably the youngest - he was lying on the pavement next to the garden fence. The second, with hands at the back, was lying in the middle of the street. The third one on the kerb edge, maybe three steps from me.
One of men said to his friend:
- Come on, nothing will help them now...
- Poor people - whispered a poor old lady with a black scarf.
Who killed them?
Who are they?
Why there are no Germans?
I thought I saw on the face of he that was lying in the middle of the street a painful grimace, and clenched fingers started straightening up...
- He's still alive! - I screamed, showing the lying man.
- And what are you doing here? Run away home! - told me off a man in a tramway cap.
I moved back but I looked stubbornly at the lying man.
Tall. Dressed in a dark-grey coat with a fur collar. Grey trousers. Black shoes. Gaiters. There was no trace of blood.
Along Zytnia from Gibalskiego Street a policeman was going. Somebody called him. Slowly he approached standing people. looking at the lying figures.
- What happened there? - he asked.
- They got shot! - answered a man with a white pigeon.
- Who shot them? Who saw it?
Nobody said anything...
The policeman was approaching the lying one by one. He leant over them. He touched nothing.
- Please, disperse, Germans can appear in a moment.
He went into the open door of a caretaker's lodge. People that gathered in quite a considerable number, were leaving the place. So were we. Reaching Mlynarska Street we turned back - in the middle of the street of Karolkowa there was just a policeman standing. We went in as the last ones. We sat on a window sill. We sat quietly. Far away there was visible a steel tower of the skyscraper.
Zytnia Street near Karolkowa.
Arrows pinpoint the place of the shot, lying men
After many years I got back to this story. Devouring books on the occupation times I didn't even find a trace information about it. It heightened my curiosity. I found the time of this incident. Then I associated it with the date of Nowotko's death (Marceli Nowotko - a communist activist, the first secretary of the underground communist Polish Working Association PPR), who interested me in a particular way, because our families were befriended in Ciechanow - I remember aunt "Drzazga" (= a splint) (Nowotko's sister was called that way) whose preserves from the heavenly little apples I ate up...
Both events happened at the same time, on both ends of the same street! I know historians' truth about Nowotko's death, for me, it's not a final truth.
in our times
drawn up by: Maciej Janaszek-Seydlitz
translation: Małgorzata Szyszkowska
Copyright © 2011 SPPW1944. All rights reserved.