The insurgent accounts of witness
My war 1939-1945
A ballooning password
It's unbelievable! Then when they are shooting at a man from all directions- when planes are hovering above the head- when cannons, mortars, tanks are trying to kill a man - when a man is thinking about this that should be done what's necessary and didn't let the whole bunch of bullets, bombs and shrapnels kill him- when a man is scared and feels dread and is fighting to overcome it - it's unbelievable that a man could joke!
Yet he had that ability!
We went from Wola to Starowka (actually it was an escape). We stopped at Podwale (29) taken in by Mrs. Cudna. Grandmother's friend.
I found myself in a different world! I was watching a parade, I was walking without hiding on the streets. I learnt the nearest neighbourhood, as I didn't know the Old Town (it was on the outskirts of my interests).
Mrs. Cudna was sharing her modest food reserves with us- in the existing conditions nothing could be bought(for money).
In our house there was organized an insurgent kitchen. For the help in the kitchen we, me and Mum, we got some soup (everyday the same) a slice of bread, sometimes a few lumps of sugar and some dried bread.
Thank You Dear God for Your generous presents!
This we had already received we shared with Mrs. Cudna.
A few times I went with Mum for bread. It so happened that bread for the army was served in a nearby shop near Krasinskich Square, that belonged to Mum's school friend, Mrs. Ostromecka! I couldn't now identify that places as it doesn't exist. We turned from Freta into Swietojerska, then we turned right and we were almost there...
After Wola downfall Germans started getting at the Old Town. More and more killed in action, more and more injured, more and more debris...
Mum was asked to help in the hospital at Dluga Street. I wanted to go for bread by myself, but they didn't want to agree (I was too young?). I got insisted so much that Mum unwilling to listen to my mouthing off agreed, fortifying that agreement with numerous "noes." She didn't agree I would wear an insurgent band though I wanted it very much - I don't want "a pigeon fancier" (a German sniper) to shoot you" - she said. I got a rucksack (a German one) and the head chef's blessing.
The Old Town turned into a hell! Going out on the street was getting everyday more and more difficult and dangerous. A great facilitation was the cellar passages through the knocked out openings.
Having the intention of going out on the street one should know whether Stukas are in the air, one should count bomb explosion (each plane had four of them) ,wait till they would shoot out and run having really little time before the next pair would arrive. The artillery shooting wasn't taken into consideration, as it was unexpected.
I had no more than 400 metres to walk (as far as the Old Town was concerned the distance was really big!). Sometimes it took me over an hour. Running on the debris in sandals and shorts caused my feet to be a constantly bleeding wound...
When the food reserves were shrinking, the access to them was more restricted and the just division was thoroughly obeyed. Just to get closer to the supply point one should know the current password, and then undergo the whole procedure of collection. If the thief had been caught he would have been probably shot.
During the last "cruise" (they judged it was difficult for a "kid") I was given the password with the appropriate attention, in a low voice, looking around whether nobody heard. "Just don't make a mistake," - I heard in the end. Not to forget it I repeated it all the way. When I rushed into the gate there were a few soldiers - they were preparing themselves for going out!
- Password! - screamed the guard not too much older than me.
- "A pregnant fly!" - I screamed back.
All the soldiers roared with such a laughter that even more of them came running to see what had happened.
They made "a monkey" out of me! - I thought dismayed but what it meant (?) I didn't know. The young guard probably didn't know too as he blocked the passage for me with his body.
One of the soldiers still choking with laughter said:
- Let him go, he's from "Boncza"!
in our times
drawn up by: Maciej Janaszek-Seydlitz
translation: Małgorzata Szyszkowska
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