The insurgent accounts of witness
My war 1939-1945
Red stars over Cracow
A nice day. Sunny. A gentle wind scattered white, frayed little clouds. I think it was the end of October - I think so as my time then wasn't subject to the rules of pages torn away from the calendar.
I was walking along Drapers' Hall having five litres of moonshine in my schoolbag. Cracow was the way as it was everyday. A little bit drowsy. Nobody's in a rush. (In Cracow generally nobody's in a rush).
On the Marketplace Germans located a four-barrelled little cannon on a tracked gun carriage. They were standing nearby. They didn't provoke people though they looked at them. It didn't come to my mind that I should change my route. Everything was more different here than in Warsaw. There was a different war - but bumping into them would be a foolishness.
Being half way of Drapers' Hall I heard arriving planes. Nobody took notice of it (neither did Germans) - nearby there was an airport and flying planes was nothing unusual.
Two fighters had flown, but with red stars! Soon the sky was crowded with planes. Now everybody lifted their heads!
There was no alarm - sirens didn't wail. People stopped and looked - then moved on as if it hadn't concerned them.
Trained in distrust towards planes I was looking for a place where I could jump in if they would decide to throw bombs. Cracow residents didn't have (fortunately) such experience and they didn't have any fears that the explosions would knock down hats from their heads.
Planes (two-engined) had been flying over the town for a few minutes and then flew away... Hats stayed on the heads.
Only when the sirens wailed, German planes, low flying, appeared! It was so surprising and unfathomable for me that I wasn't sure whether I had seen this I had seen...
After a few years I found a creditable confirmation of this fact.
Maybe it's a minor matter as nothing happened but I didn't forget the lethal Stukas that had hung over my head for a month destroying houses of the Old Town!
For All Saints' Day, over Cracow planes appeared! I was looking at them from Rakowiecki Cemetery where I delivered bought flowers on the graves. I didn't earn much (I didn't take money from everyone) but every coin was very important to me. When I came home in the evening (St. Mark 8) I learnt that near the station a bomb had fallen and a house had caught fire.
A house at St. Mark Street where I lived
It was extremely unpleasant to me as I had fallen in love with Cracow.
in our times
drawn up by: Maciej Janaszek-Seydlitz
translation: Małgorzata Szyszkowska
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