The insurgent accounts of witness
My war 1939-1945
A shot at shit
Every gun for boys it's an attraction. Often we shot with rifles on Venitian shooting range ("Venice" - the centre of "folk" entertainment on Wola). Rifles were so upset that it was difficult to hit a lollipop from a four metre distance. Even Andrzej W. who was the best soldier in the regiment didn't always hit the target even then when he was sober...
But the insurgent guns, it was something special, it was a holiness! Even though I was hanging around the insurgents hardly ever did I manage to hold Sten, Blyskawica (= lightning) or Schmeisser in my hands. Lots of eyes making were necessary on my part that "Topor" (= a battleaxe) (an Polish People's Army soldier, he had on himself an axe as sharp as a razor) could allow me to hold a real barrel colt, about which I read a lot in the books on "The Wild West."
After some time I had the honour of cleaning it with a special (smelly!) liquid- apparently Topor didn't want to make his hands dirty before eating. Though the road to make my dreams come true and have the Schmeisser shot was distant.
I sensed that only with Topor I could make it happen. I latched on that thought and the whole diplomacy of mine was heading in that direction. It wasn't a sophisticated diplomacy and Topor worked out very quickly what I meant. Probably he had had a similar dream in the past, but in the actual conditions it was difficult to make it come true.
When the diplomacy didn't bring me closer to my aim, to my own surprise I asked frankly:
- Will you let me shoot?
- With that? - he laughed pretending a surprise - hardly do you manage to hold colt in your hands!
- I want to shoot with Schmeisser! - I said decidedly.
- With Schmeisser... - he repeated, looking at me attentively.
In the quietness that fell I saw my chance.
- Do you want it so much? Yeees... - he answered to he himself and he added after a while:
- You have to know, nevertheless, that there will be one German more and maybe he'll shoot one of us...
We both were silent. I understood that every bullet was precious to him and he couldn't waste it on my whims. I got embarrassed...
- OK... - I said what was my resignation.
It was the 12th of August (the day before the tank explosion). I was standing with Antek on the courtyard, taking advantage of Germans' dinner break.
Topor was talking with friends (from Home Army). They were saying goodbye to each other. He came to us.
- Antek, stand in front of the hidey-hole ( a narrow, long space between the wall of our house, and Paulines' Church wall, where everyone went to have a pooh) let nobody get in, and we with Janusz we'll go to take a leak. Come! - he said - I haven't got much time.
We stood on the bricks among the poohs.
- You have Schmeisser. There is one bullet. Shoot!
I felt as if paralysed. Topor helped me stand the right way.
- Where should I shoot? - I asked.
- In the shit! - he answered.
I took aim. Hardly did I touch the trigger, Schmeisser fired! I missed the shit...
Now, on the enlarged courtyard of the house at Podwale 29, there is a cafe garden.
At the back, one can see the church wall. Between that wall,
and the wall of the not-rebuilt outhouse there was a small narrow square where I shot at shit.
- It's good you missed otherwise it could have splashed us! - Topor laughed.
Antek, having heard the shot, joined us and with beseeching eyes he looked at Topor.
- Nothing doing, Antek I had just one bullet - he said - but here you have my empty promise. I'm going boys, dashing to Rybaki. I'll drop in if it's possible. See you!
Antek died the next day, but Topor I didn't see anymore too.
in our times
drawn up by: Maciej Janaszek-Seydlitz
translation: Małgorzata Szyszkowska
Copyright © 2011 SPPW1944. All rights reserved.