The insurgent accounts of witness

My war 1939-1945

Janusz Wałkuski
born January 3, 1934 in Ciechanów

At the partisan route

         I was going out the forest with a basket full of mushrooms. I put it on the ground, having seen a few more in the grass. I started to look around just to notice others.
         And so they were!
         I found more than twenty. My favourite mushrooms! Small roots were to be cut, then mushrooms had to be salted and put on a heated stovetop - an amazing smell was spreading over the room. We shared them equally because everyone liked them.
         I took from my poczet few dried ones, but I didn't manager to eat them as I heard carts moving closer and closer. I caught my basket, to protect it from being trodden under foot, and kept waiting...
         I could see the carts.
         There were five of them.
         They stopped next to me. The peasant carts with peasant carters, but by each cart two men were standing, wearing navy-blue coveralls. They were armed.
         The underground army!
         On the carts, on straw, the wounded were lying, hidden.
         - What are you doing here? - asked me the nearest one.
         - I'm picking mushrooms - I replied.
         - Are you from Zychorzyn?
         - No, from Warsaw. I'm staying at the Cherks in Zychorzyńska Kolonia.
         - Are you an insurgent?
         - Yes, I am - I confirmed.
         - Are any Germans here?
         - Yes, they are nearby the woods, watching over the railway tracks. Others are next to "bagry."
         - What do you mean, where exactly?
         - Not far from here, nearby the forest, by the road.
         - Are you by yourself only?
         - I'm with my Mum. She's staying at the Koryckis.
         He kept wondering for a while.
         - How many Germans are there?
         I had to think. I counted eight people and so I answered his question.
         I also said that one of them could speak Polish as he once asked me about Warsaw and wanted me to buy him a goose (sic!), adding that the foreman who was building tracks was called Bogier (I'm not sure if I said that correctly as I kept misleading a name Bogier and "baggier" - so they called a digger.)
         - Do you know a way to Drzewica?
         - Yes, I do - I replied - we go to the church there. It is believed to be a seven-kilometer-distance. There is a forest by that road. The Germans ordered to cut trees there and take them somewhere.
         This message worried the partisans who kept listening to our conversation.
         - Is there any other way?
         - There is one beside the houses, not a good one...
         - We're moving on! - he ordered the carters.

         I was appointed their guide. I hid my basket with mushrooms in the bushes and ran to lead the whole group. If I saw the Germans, I was to turn back as fast as possible.
         With no obstacles we reached Drzewica. There was a very dangerous section of our route - the trees were few and far between, and we had to pass the military police headquarters, nearby the church. We decided that if the policemen left the building and paid attention to me, I would shouted loud that I had lost the money from Mum!

         And so we separated ourselves.

         I was coming back in a rush, by the main Road, because I wanted to see if the Germans were watching over the deforestation. I could see nobody there, only lots of high trees, ready to the transport. At that place I turned into a field road with the intention to find my hidden mushrooms as fast as possible.

         There were no mushrooms! I had them stolen!

         It got dark and started to rain - I had to come back home without my basket filled with mushrooms! Apparently, while in a hurry, I hadn't hidden it carefully.

         At home there started a serious quarrel! Mr. Cherka Said he was going to tie me up like a dog! It turned out that they had gone to look for me. I must have got lost in the forest, they thought. They found the basket, instead of me. Mum also shouted at me, furious! Luckily, they didn't ask me where I had been. I would have to lie - it was a secret. Even Mum was unaware of the truth. The quarrel died away thanks to the mushrooms that were ready to eat.

         Later on, time and time again I used to wander nearby, counting the Germans and trying to remember their then positions. I ran to the forest with a thought I was going to meet the partisans but I never did. I heard they were coming to the village at nighttime - they even cut one girl's hair as the punishment for "sexual contacts with the Germans."

         Soon afterwards we left Zychorzyn, trying to reach Warsaw.

Janusz Wałkuski

      Janusz Wałkuski

edited by: Maciej Janaszek-Seydlitz

translated by: Monika Ałasa

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