The insurgent accounts of witness
My war 1939-1945
Under the debris at Ciepla Street
When "Nordwache" was conquered we could go out on the street.
Behind the firehouse. To visit Mum's friend.
They decided to prepare dinner. Both chit-chatting and I lured by the whirr of planes - I went out on the street. Planes interested me very much.
Heinkel 111* were flying and dropping leaflets. I observed them for some minutes: they circled round in the air, they were approaching and they were flying away. I thought they were flying away (?)
A new sound appeared: increasing, a harsh whistle, intertwined in the engine whirr...
People standing on the street started running towards the gate.
- It's a fighter! It won't drop the bombs - I shouted.
I thought that Messerschmitt was coming flying - the sound similar.
Unfortunately, "the expert" mistake! These were bombs that were flying. As it turned out - straight to me!
We reached our house later on, neighbours, who had been observing that unexpected air-raid said that bombs had been joined like chain links (probably four). This way a new term "chain bombs" appeared, and I, as the first one, felt the consequences of the German "invention."
Finally I got into the gate as well, but too late! Bombs hit the outhouse straight to the entrance! It got seething! The blast knocked me over and showered me with breaking bottles with petrol, prepared in the gate for torching the tanks! Somebody dragged me in some alcove. There was such a thick dust that I saw nothing. I broke free and ran out onto the courtyard when the bricks were still falling down. I got on the stairs. A flat were Mum - was open - but there was no Mum. From upstairs people were running, they caught me and dragged into the cellar. Fortunately, there was Mum, and Mum's friend there was as well - both anxious as they didn't know where I'd gone. They took off my clothes soaked with petrol. - I could have burnt! Just a spark would be enough! Eyes were fine. I was a little bit injured, some glass pieces got stuck in the legs and in the belly. I was laid down on the door and taking out started. Wounds were poured with vodka, I bawled awfully - somebody muzzled my mouth with an apple... After those tortures I was seated on the stool and covered with some cloth.
Bombs knocked down half of the outhouse. They hit the landing and probably because of that nobody was killed. They were just talking about the neighbour that went down from the fourth floor together with a bed downstairs and, they added playfully, only then did he wake up!
Heavy explosions were heard and from time to time so was a heavy shooting. Mum decided that we would wait with getting back home. Maybe it'd get calmer till the evening.
After some hours I put on the still smelly clothes and we started preparing for going out. Mum looked at the watch - it was getting on for eight. I heard a low flying airplane.
Suddenly a hell broke up! A burst of bomb shots hit the building again. All exits from our cellar got collapsed. Men at once started removing debris that covered the stairs, but more debris slid down that it had been already removed. From the neighbouring cellar covered people were knocking on the wall, but one couldn't help them. They didn't give up cleaning the stairs, they blocked the debris sliding down with anything. One step appeared, second step, one more... We hoped, but then the everything collapsed.
The arrow shows the place of a house at Ciepla Street in which we were bombarded
From the outside one could hear thumping, knocking, shuffling- after some time we started distinguishing the voices. They are digging us up! We were knocking on the wall, giving some signs we were alive waiting for help! The light appeared! A small ray of light. There an opening appeared in the covered cellar window. After some minutes the whole window was glowing! They broke it with a crowbar. They started pulling us out.
Later we learnt that over thirty people died.
* I have always been interested in the planes. During occupation I had two small German books (there were more of them) with plans, photographs, and descriptions of German and allied planes. I knew them by heart.
in our times
drawn up by: Maciej Janaszek-Seydlitz
translation: Małgorzata Szyszkowska
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