The insurgent accounts of witness
My war 1939-1945
Life of the Old Town moved to the cellars very quickly. Houses, even those that impressed with the thickness of their outside walls in the majority had wooden roofs. The roofs of cellars were always brick and vaulted. Under the artillery shooting the houses defended themselves quite good - a high-density housing was in favour of it, while the bomb went through to the end.
It'll hit or it won't - fortune or misfortune decided about life.
One had to defend themselves in all possible ways. Emergency exits were made, cuttings, going through the walls to the neighbouring buildings - one exit will be buried, then we'll go out from the other.
In this way there appeared whole communication routes along the streets. I used them myself bringing bread from Krasinski Palace and canned food from Nowe Miasto to the insurgent kitchen "earning" this way dinner for me and for Mum.
In our house (Podwale 29) they started boring the walls, probably on the 7th of August (after the parade at Dluga Street). Men were boring in turns - half an hour of boring and some rest...
In the picture from Mostowa Street one can see a fragment of a rebuilt house (a little bit differently
at Podwale 29 where I stayed and a fragment of the Paulines' Church.
Through both connected with each other walls an opening was bored.
We took the debris out in buckets with Antek and threw it into the moat of ramparts.
The opening in our house was bored in two days' time. It was an opening, or to be more precise, opening of surprises!
When the wall was bored, they didn't get to the neighbouring wall of the Paulines' Church. Through the opening earth and bone remains were pouring out, and so were the human skulls.
The surprise was enormous and provoked a long discussion - where did it come from and what should be done with it? The problem was solved by Mrs. Cudna, she brought a sack, gathered inside even the smallest bones and buried it in the ramparts.
After securing the cutting so that the earth wouldn't subside they kept on boring. The church wall was even thicker and even more difficult to overcome. When it was done, the second surprise followed, and much bigger! When the opening was big enough one could get through it, Mr. Jozio, that had to be the first everywhere went courageously into the black gulf, and when a lamp was given to him, he saw this we hadn't seen, fell to his knees and whined: "O, God!" - it was the shock of a great discovery! It wasn't of Tutanchamon's discovery treasures stature, but it changed the status of the cellar!
An enormous church cellar was filled with huge wooden barrels with wine! The cellar was walled in - there was no entrance. Probably nobody else apart from us "discoverers" knew about it!
I was looking at it as if it had been a fairy tale "Sesame", while "the elderly men" judged this treasure according to their own scale of standards.
With a crowbar they bored an opening in the barrel, then a pitcher was found (unceremoniously precious water was poured out of it) and the tasting started. I tasted as well, but I wasn't delighted. I regretted they hadn't discovered the lemonade reserve. Suddenly the quietness alarmed the cellar-men - they came, saw and drunk...
Hose filled every now and then new pots, cans, bottles, jars and there was really a great number of them. Probably the whole Starowka smelled the taste of our discovery!
in our times
drawn up by: Maciej Janaszek-Seydlitz
translation: Małgorzata Szyszkowska
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