First-hand accounts of the Warsaw Uprising
Memories of Janusz Hamerlinski - a soldier from "Kilinski" Battalion
Our Ways To Battalion "Kilinski"
There were four of us, close friends:
Janusz Komorowski (alias Wir) - son of Underground Government Minister of Transport;
Romuald Dobracki (Szczerba) - son of a well known in the film industry make-up artist;
Olgierd Michalowski (Smuga) - son of an officer of Second Unit, Polish Military in England;
Janusz Hamerlinski (Morski) - son of co-owner of the Hamerlinski & Fulde Company, 11 Aleje Jerozolimskie in Warsaw.
We had known each other since junior school, and were close friends. Once all four of us were extras in an advert film of Kneipp's coffee produced at a film studio in Piekna St. We played the part of schoolboys, the teacher was Jozef Wegrzyn (a famous film actor). The film was destroyed at the beginning of the war, none of the copies survived to be shown in cinemas.
During the German occupancy, in school year 1939/40 we started high school. Later the school was transformed into college of professional education. The Poles were not allowed to undertake any Polish education except learning a profession, but under that cover we learned all the subjects anyway, even including history but no Latin. (see memoirs of Dr Holsztyńska - Headmaster).
We went our separate ways when the school was moved from Bracka Street to a building with a girl's school in Marszalkowska Street. Dobracki dropped out from school then. Komorowski and I endured the longest - we both enrolled at Tadeusz Reytan underground high school where we studied mathematics and science. I got my A levels there in June 1944 but after we were arrested in January 1944, Komorowski's mother forbade him to attend underground classes.
I joined the Resistance on 18 January 1942. I went with Komorowski and Michalowski to the first meeting. For two hours the instructor was telling us stories about how Gestapo interrogates people, and advised us to think twice before we would take the oath. This did not discourage us.
This was the way boys under 16 of age, without any knowledge nor approval from their parents became "soldiers".
Our first Commanding Officer, (it was not Armia Krajowa (AK) - Home Army - yet), Lt. "Orlowicz" was a short, well built and chubby man - a bit of a red neck. Once, when because of me laughter erupted, he ordered "Silence!" . A few still giggled, he changed abruptly. He turned red, veins appeared on his temple, and he roared (literally):
- "You three on the left flank... DOWN!!"
In a split second the boys were on the floor. As they had been standing in a three foot gap between a wardrobe and a sofa, you can imagine what a heap of bodies they created. Lt "Orlowicz" calmed down instantly and carried on with his lecture.
For obvious reasons, everybody in the resistance had an alias. Because I was a bit of philosophical type I chose "Mementomorski" from a well known Latin expression. The alias was too long though and I had to shorten it to "Morski".
We formed an infantry section: 1 + 5. They were section leader "Gryf", "Wir", "Smuga", "Morski"', "Mariusz" and "Janek". We were in that unit for about six months. Then we heard something we didn't like. Our team leader, corporal "B" informed us that the moment the uprising in Warsaw started, we were supposed to "sit on our asses" and we were not allowed to support fighting troops because we were possibly to be used in an attack ......on East Prussia (!)
This was unbelievable and not what we were expecting so we said goodbye politely (we hadn't taken the oath yet) and started to look around for something else.
Later - after the war - somebody told me an organization named "Nation's Confederation" had such a programme.
We then contacted the scouts. We even took part in maneuvers in Radosc Forest. But we thought it was quite childish (for us old sweats) and drill with wooden sticks was not for us. But military was military...
Only at the end of 1942 "Wir" managed to contact the Home Army (AK). We got assigned to "Wola" group, but just after a month because of some arrest we lost the contact and again were left holding the bag.
We were not lucky about our leaders too. Warrant Officer "Janiszewski", or first section leader in AK was a common gyp and drunk. So it was a good thing we lost contact with him. Someone saw him later during the uprising, but apparently in civilian clothes.
Our little group got smaller. "Janek" gave up, "Gryf" stayed with the scouts, then "Wir" recommended Dobracki "Szczerba" to join us. Probably thanks to "'Wir's" father we got in touch with AK "Srodmiescie" group.
At that moment our former commander from "Wola" group showed up threatening us with court marshal for "desertion" . Scared to death we spent several nights together with "Wir" and "Smuga" to avoid our military police; we felt safer together. But soon our headquarters took care of the case and we were assigned to
2nd Company "Szare Szeregi" of "Kilinski" Battalion.
redaction: Maciej Janaszek-Seydlitz
translation: Wojciech Hamerlinski
born 2 July 1926 in Warsaw
private of Armia Krajowa (Home Army) - AK
III squad, 165 platoon,
"Szare Szeregi" Company
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