The insurgent accounts of witness

My war 1939-1945

Janusz Walkuski
born 3.01.1934 in Ciechanów

I was almost hit

         I was hanging around in the cellar...
         Mum was to have been earlier than Stukas, but they had been already howling for a long time. Mrs.Cudna tried to talk with me but I didn't listen to her. It blasted away somewhere in the distance- the house got swung. Dust usually forced its way into the cellar making lips dry and eyes irritated.

         It got quieter a little bit...
         Maybe Mum will come?

         Again they are bashing!
         Let it be - I have to dash off! (to the hospital)

         I jumped out onto the courtyard. Here the boom was even bigger, but Stukas weren't heard.
         A few minutes before the next ones will appear.
         I looked out from the gate - not much could be seen through the acid smoke. I ran out on the street, turned left, squeezed through the barricade and in a rush I got to Dluga, ignoring the pain of injured feet. Just a jump over the barricade at Dluga Street and here I was in the hospital.
         As usually I wasn't let in. An awful stench! I spotted Ania (a nurse) that I went out for a while to breathe in a gulp of air.
         - I am looking for Mum - I shouted at her.
         She has already gone out - she answered and got hidden in the gulf of the hospital corridor.
         Her blood-stained uniform and hands revealed this that was happening there.
         How is it that Mum can put with it?

         I didn't meet Mum as she went along Kilinskiego Street, while I had an aversion to that street.
         Houses are burning at Dluga,
         at Freta,
         at Mostowa,
         at Nowomiejska.
         Fire and smoke - not much could be seen... Nearby explosions! Stukas above Nowe Miasto...
         It must be the way hell looks like! When I got to the Paulines' Church I heard "a wardrobe" light (a missile rocket launcher). I ran into the church, pressed onto the wall, covered ears with hands, opened my mouth wide and waited. For a short time! Six subsequent explosions - and again the dust.
         They blasted away somewhere further (further on the Old Town, it is 100-150 metres).
         I ran out of the church. I forced my way through the barricade, turned into Podwale Street when I felt I was going underground...

The corner of Podwale and Nowomiejska - here I got hit.
On the left a photograph from 1956, on the right the contemporary one


         I opened my eyes - a familiar place... I wanted to get up but the backache and the headache were unconquerable. Mum with Cudna were sitting by me. When they saw I looked at them, they both said the same - finally he had woken up! Mum put her hand on my forehead - a nice coolness... I drank water and got something to eat. I didn't exactly know what had happened. My back and hands over the palms were bandaged - and hardly could I move my head.
         Doctor came (from the neighbouring hospital). Mum carefully was taking off the dressing.
         An enormous pain!
         Caked, blood-stained clothes were difficult to be torn away.
         An enormous pain!
         Both carefully examined my back. One shrapnel hadn't been taken out yet - it got stuck in the spine.
         "After the war we'll take care of it, for the time being it's all right."
         It went easier with a hand - the bandage could be unwrapped - a deep, narrow cut next to the left vein - a half of centimetre decided about me not being bled to death...
         The change of dressing and fighting with pain wore me out. I fell asleep.


         I didn't remember the next day. I only knew that Mum was next to me. Though I remembered very well the very next day. In the morning Germans burst into the building. They ordered to go out on the spot! It wasn't very easy for me, but he who stayed had to die. The injured were murdered and so were the ill. Nobody defended us then...
         In a gloomy march we got to St. Adalbert Church. Then Pruszkow was next, then Opoczno, Zychorzyn village, and a further life of misery...

         One should explain things connected with it that had happened to me.


         Mum got back to our cellar later, as She was called to the hospital were some injured Germans were lying (on account of the knowledge of language). I heard Her say to Cudna that when she was leaving them one of them said: Stay with us, then you'll survive! It was obvious they murdered everyone later on.


         The story of the shrapnel stuck in my spine was long. For many years it was the object of many doctors' care, but the diagnosis was one - let it stay! It had stayed for over 25 years! I didn't go to the army, as it had appeared during the X-ray. Once the place started festering and the miracle happened - the shrapnel went out with pus and I even didn't know when!
         Then for the army I was too old!


         A very depressing piece of news I received from an incidentally met, former resident of the house at Podwale, that a neighbour who took me to the hospital got shot by the Germans, as he wanted to help the injured.

Janusz Wałkuski

      Janusz Walkuski
in our times

drawn up by: Maciej Janaszek-Seydlitz

translation: Małgorzata Szyszkowska

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