The insurgent accounts of witness
My war 1939-1945
"Bialy" - Bialoszewski
I liked books. I liked having them and reading them. I had just a few of them, but knew them by heart. When we were moving to Chlodna (18) the door of Rysiek's book sesame opened before me (Rysiek was a nineteen-year-old son of Walkuski's uncle's, who recovered their flat at Zelazna 68 after the ghetto liquidation opposite the popular "Nordwache." Ryszard, Home Army soldier died at the beginning of the Warsaw Uprising, probably during the attack on bunkers on the ghetto terrain).
A whole huge bookcase, capacious chest of drawers filled in by magazines, photographs, postcards, maps, stamps... Innumerable treasures that couldn't be explored fully by me as the approaching events didn't allow me to do so.
By accident, one day I chanced on, arranging "one" of the drawers, some pages taken out from the book, and probably I would have ignored their content if there hadn't been a beautiful illustration presenting a battleaxe combat: Knight Zbyszek is hitting Rotgier Knight of the Teutonic Order!
I stretched myself on the carpet in half an hour I read this I had found!
I started searching for another pages but I didn't find any!
Rysiek went away and aunt didn't know when he would come back. (Aunt always didn't know when he had gone away and when he would come back). I had the misfortune to find him at home after two days unwilling to talk.
- Come tomorrow - he said.
I tried not to give in, but it was useless. He didn't listen to my twaddle.
I was very displeased, as I waited two days. But tomorrow was tomorrow. Let it be...
He came running in the very morning. He realizing that he wouldn't rid himself of me decided:
- All right, let's go!
We went. From Zelazna to Chlodna. To the left. Gate Number 40. We got in. We bumped into two boys.
- How are you Rysio!!? - a greeting formula was screamed out by one of them.
- Not so bad! - We all shook hands. - I've got a request to make of you: This is, as you can see, a male member of our family. His name Janusz. - He saw some fragments of "Knights of the Teutonic Order" in my house and he wants to get the rest. Will you fix it up?
- But does he know it is a forbidden literature?
- Now he does - Rysiek said.
- Come in two days' time (again two days) then I'll complete everything - I heard.
- Call him "Mr. Miron," - Rysiek joked.
For some time they talked about minor matters and we departed.
- Take care Rysiu! - "Mr. Miron" said goodbye to him.
- Thanks "Bialy" (= white?) Give my regards to mum- answered Rysiek. I got the book for a week (as others were waiting too). I read it to the last day. How many times? I don't know...
I became a frequent guest of "Mr. Miron". Also our meetings on the street (we lived some houses from each other) and at Rysiek's house weren't rare.
On the square that is empty now at Zelazna 68 there was Rysiek Walkuski's house
where I usually met with Bialoszewski
Fascination with "Knights of the Teutonic Order" was so great that I pestered Miron for a long time ("sir" had already evaporated) with questions. Miron wasn't too patient, though he tolerated it somehow. Though my constant jabbering about Zawisza the Black used up sources of his patience. One day he said to me:
- You are "Czarny" (= black) yourself, though not Zawisza as you are from the Walkuski family. "Czarny Janusz" sounds quite all right! All right! I am appointing you "Czarny"! There is a small black Bambo, there will be Black Janusz! We had just to find a plant that you could have something to climb! It is probably in Sashchak! - and he started laughing.
So I became "Czarny". Maybe he got even with Rysiek who called him "Bialy"? (an extreme contrast).
It lasted till the Uprising. I read a lot. My fascinations changed. I was getting more mature.
During the Uprising we met two times: in the cellar of the house (Chlodna 20) during an air-raid and on the Old Town standing in a line for water. Short meetings, as bombs were hanging above the head.
"Hello Czarny! Hello Bialy!" "We are still alive!"
I got back to Warsaw in February 1945. I inspected all nearby and familiar places. Nothing left of this that had existed. Demolished. Burnt. Everyone got lost, somebody for good...
No home. No family. No friends - nothing! Only debris...
After "holidays" my school was opened (Nr.90,this time at Dworska Street). Then there was a secondary school (TPD [=The Society of Children's Friends] Nr.4 at Bema Street). New life, new friends (not all of them stood the test of time). Here I met Andrzej. He was one class-form higher than me. Very intelligent, clever, he played chess excellently. He wanted to be a writer. We fitted in with each other, we were close friends. Friendship lasted up to the moment he got lost.Mysteriously. Only documents were found.
Andrzej even at school took me on various literary meetings, lectures, soirees, discussions - literary life was more dynamic then than it is now (of course not for everybody).Once he dragged me out from the training (I was running) to the Officer Club for an interesting- in his view - meeting with Putrament(a recognized Polish writer). I went as I knew it was important for him - and I had the entrance card (I worked in WZKart [= Military Cartographic Factory]). In front of the entrance there was organized a sale and Andrzej went to rummage about in the books. I met a friend-pilot (he managed to survive the ejection from the JAK jet). His wife was browsing as well so we could talk.
I thought that one of the guys standing by the window started to observe me. A familiar face. But how? Very familiar! Illumination! We both rushed towards each other (I didn't even excuse the pilot!).
- "Bialy!"- I screamed.
- "Czarny!"- he screamed.
We were embracing each other long and warmly. Putrament was the loser, as we stuck in the cafe for some hours.
It was the way our meeting looked. After years! Finally! We met many times. On occasion and without it. Normally. Like friends.
Probably we would be still meeting even now, but death took him away. Untimely...
I was present when a plaque was being uncovered. Commemorative. At Tarczynska Street. Dedicated to him - Miron Bialoszewski (a recognized Polish writer, the author of "The diary from the Warsaw Uprising").
Me too, I am dedicating this short text to You "Bialy." Short. You didn't like long...
in our times
drawn up by: Maciej Janaszek-Seydlitz
translation: Małgorzata Szyszkowska
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