The Witnesses' Uprising Reports
Memoirs of Jerzy Lisiecki a.k.a. "2422", "Jerzy II", the soldier of two Uprising Battalions: "Ruczaj" and "Harnaś"
Several days passed by. On August 1, at 9 a.m. we left to our friends named Chyliński who live in Żoliborz. They belonged to "Koszta" - a very well armed company, the one that protected the Warsaw Staff of the Home Army, the one that later joined the "Bartkiewicz" group. They were out. So we popped into our sweethearts', twin sisters, Barbara and Danuta Kołodziejski. But they told us they were hurrying somewhere. As we told afterwards, they were nurses in "Żmija" commanded by "Żywiciel".
If so, we decided to come back home. It was about 1 p.m. We were lucky and got by tram through the viaduct over railways tracks, unbothered. At 2 p.m. a gunfight began in Żoliborz, as the result of which the Germans closed the viaduct, which meant separating Żoliborz from the City Centre. A group of insurgents that were carrying weapons bumped into the German patrol. That is how the Uprising in Żoliborz had begun.
We came back home just to get the message we were to report ourselves in the Fabryczna street immediately. A liaison had left our mum the exact address with the home and apartment numbers. We ate soup that mum had made and, according to the order, we rushed towards the Fabryczna street in Czerniaków. There we were informed the Uprising had outbroken.
In the flat there were several people. We were told to leave separately, every 15 minutes. My brother left as the first one, followed by some other boys, I left as the last one. My assignment was to the Marszałkowska street, at the korner with the Sienkiewicz street. As I was told later, the "Grażyna" company of our "Gustaw" battalion had been concentrated there. My brother was to report himself in the Kopernika street. During the Uprising he used a nickname "Pistolet" ("Pistol"), supposedly coming from the Parabellum which he had owned for some time.
I didn't have a watch but I was not in a much hurry. There was no tram so I went on foot up the Górnośląska street. There, nearby the Wiejska street, there was a female dormitory occupied by the Germans. In the street there stood a German car, by which some soldier was tampering. It was a beautiful sunny weather.
I was walking towards the Marszałkowska street. I walked into the Piusa street, passed Mała Pasta and reached the tram stop in the Marszałkowska at the corner of the Piusa street. I was Whiting for a tram for a long time but it would not come, so I decided to keep going on foot towards the Sienkiewicza street.
I passed the Wilcza street and then I heard single shots. I started to wonder what I should do in such a situation. Firing seemed to rise. I reminded myself that in the Kruczas street, at the corner of the Wilcza street my section commander live (unfortunately I don't remember his name, I suppose he came from Legionowo). I got his home hardly running. I dashed for the fifth floor. The flat was closed, nobody was in. I ran down. In the gate boys started to gather.
Firing was increasing. I saw some man riding a bike in the middle of the Krucza street. He was wearing an Uprising armband. Then in the street a German car stopped by. It was an Opel Olimpia. A Wehrmacht major and a soldier driver both jumper out and rushed to the opposite house. At our big yard some 20 boys had gathered. They said the Uprising has begun.
It was clear for me it was some organized squad. I approached them and said, "A leading rifleman, I'm reporting myself!". They Said, "Come with us!" As it turned out, found myself in the "Ruczaj" battalion. The one, in which I had started my underground activity.
I told the boys about those two Germans who had hidden opposite. They ran there and in a moment they brought the German major and his driver, both disarmed.
Such was my fate. I spent the Uprising time in two battalions. At the moment of its out break I did not manager to reach my "Gustaw" battalion. For a long time I had no contact with my brother. Accidently, I found myself in "Ruczaj" in the City Centre - South. To the half of its Platoon 135 my friends from the Górski secondary school belonged. The group which I joined, though, was part of Platoon 139. I took a nickname "Jerzy".
We got to know that some part of the battalion had gone to capture the Czechoslovakian Legation in the Koszykowa 18 street. We were eager to join them but there was a strong firing from the side of Mała Pasta in the Piusa street. One cound not even lean out. Some corpses were lying by the pavement. It was well visible as the distance was small, come one hundred meters. Moreover, a driver of a petrol truck was killed at the corner of Piusa and Mokotowska street. The whole truck was smashed. Petrol was burning, flames were huge, so was firing. It was very hard for the whole group of about 20 boys to leap. We had to wait till the evening when firing decreased.
It was getting dark and then we would leap one by one in the direction of the Legation. We came through the Piękna street and reached the Koszykowa street. There we joined our squad. One or two people got hurt.
The Legation was captured, c. 80 soldiers of Russische Befreiungsarmee were taken captive. There were some Ukrainians, few German officers and people of Mongolian origin. The latter was the majority. I talked to them in Russian as I had known this language since my childhood. We increased the number of our weapons, got a lot of them, about 70 machine guns and ammunition. What is more, we got an armored car and two cars full of food, including canned food, and clothes.
Additionaly, I got binoculars, a Sten gun with few bullets and a great American 3-level-radio. It must have belonged to some officer. Moreover, I was given a Sten gun, four ammunition clips and few German grenades.
The Germans who were being held captive had left fully packed bags. I took a soldier belt with an identifier "Gott mit uns" ("God with us"), a German shirt, a jacket and an officer coat. Then I was trying to remove the identifier from the belt, and I was wearing it upside down.
Unfortunately in the morning we had to back out. We wanted to take the armored car with us, but the built barricades stopped us from doing that. I don't know what happened with this vehicle later.
Among us there were two other newcomers, excluding me, one of which got killed in the battle. His friend asked us to help in burying him. Nearby there was a passing to Dolina Szwajcarska, where before the war there used to be a cafe and an ice rink in winter. There we dug a a hole and buried the killed one. On his grave we put a cross made of planks.
In the evening the squaw retreated from the Legation and stopped at the corner of Krucza and Wilcza streets where we had our quarters, opposite the place where we had united. The whole our Platoon 139 was there, with the rest of the company "Tadeusz".
Everyday duties began, including hunting on snipers. We were given a password. For two Or three days we were penetrating attics, trying to catch German snipers who would trouble us a lot. Unfortunately we did not manage to catch any.
On August 5 there was an attack for Mała Pasta in the Piusa street. Mała Pasta - the telephone exchange was situated in the Piusa street. It was a high building neighbouring other buildings from the back, from the Koszykowa street. Presently there is the Capital City Warsaw Library. The whole our platoon went to the attack.
We entered into the fourth floor from the back. Before two insurgents, including Lt Stojewicz, had got inside by a prepared hole. They were killed. Afterwards, having captured Mała Pasta, the insurgents found the corpses of the dead friends.
One of us stayed by the hole and we went to the higher floor, to the attic, exactly speaking. There were small windows, brick-sized ones, from which the part of this building was seen, and the Germans staying there. Our task was to machine-gun them.
I exposed my Sten gun carefully and started to observe the situation. Suddenly I saw the Germans in one of the windows opposite so I started to shoot. I don't know the result of my shooting. Upstairs, on the roof, there stayed together with another friend our commander platoon officer cadet Gosiewski a.k.a. "Radlicz". I had met him in Bielany, in the park, while playing basketball. There teenagers used to play, even during the occupation competitions were being organized, also the Warsaw championships.
Gosiewski had a gun called pepesza (Soviet production). Like me, he would observe the situation from the attic window. Suddenly I heard someone screaming that the above-mentioned Gosiewski had been shot. Two boys took a ladder and went to roof to take the dead. It turned out that he had his forehead hit Just under his helmet. Some sniper must have hit him.
In a moment I shot again, using my Sten gun. Then I came to another window, to change my post. Exactly a moment after I had taken out my machine gun of the window hole, I heard the German shooting. The sniper must have hit the neighbouring window, because I was hit by the wall chip. I felt blood. Supposedly it was the same Kraut who had hit pour commander. I escaped the hit by the skin of my teeth.
The younger brother of our late commander was my friend. The former was not present by his brother's death but he participated in the funeral. He was 15 or 16 and was a liaison. He was crying fiercely, a poor thing, at the funeral.
Then the everyday duties were continued; I was standing at the barricade. During a day one was to check the passes. I had an experience when I stopped some men wearing armbands. I told them, "Stop, come and say the password", and they replied, "Why are you provoking us?". I answered, "Cause I don't like you, sirs!". They took their cards and I could see they were some officers. They asked me, where I was from. I told them but nothing bad happened. What they didn't like was that I expose my gun too much.
We used to be present at different posts. I remember the Natolińska street which at some point was a nobody's land. We were staying there, and nobody else could be seen. Later we were coming through prepared passings between house and through basements, not on the street pavement. We had to watch out as it was enormous fire.
Once, together with my friend, I went into some building, the empty one, whose attic was burning. A commander ordered to save the house, told us to gather all the people from the neighbourhood. Some men started to extinguish the fire by means of buckets with water.
Making use of the fact that I owned a radio, I tried to be oriented in what was happening. In free time I would turn on the Uprising radio "Błyskawica" and listen to the information. On August 7 or 8 I heard the news about some commander who was very brave (I guess they gave his name) at the time of the fire in a house in the Królewska 27 street. My heart started to beat stronger as it was my house.
The next day or the day after that I was reporting myself and asked my commander to give me a pass. I wanted to see what was happening in the Królewska 27 street, what was happening with my family. The commander agreed. No special pass was needed.
Two days later, when it had got dark, they gave me a password and I went along the Krucza street towards Aleje Jerozolimskie. Every now and then I was stopped by "Stop, come and say the password". Obviously I said it and asked for a response. I remember the password was "Kilof" ("a pickaxe") and the response was "Kielce". Eventually I reached Aleje Jerozolimskie. There I had to go into a basement. Somewhere in a wall there was a hole, inside which I could see a post with some telephone. I said the password. They asked somebody if they could let one person go. They got confirmation and I got permission. They told me, "Get prepared yourself. When we give you a sign, run." I thought this street was about half a kilometer long. I felt glass under my feet, I was sliding myself and almost fell on the ground. But luckily I was a good runner, probably the best one in my class. After a very short time I found myself on the other side of the street, luckily. At that time there was no ditch across the street; it was made later. One had to run up the street.
I made it. I was on the opposite side and could go to the Królewska street. I was walking slowly. Again, I constantly heard "Stop, come and say the password". I got to the Kredytowa street. It was a dawn, 4 a.m. maybe. The Królewska street was a front Line. Germans stayed in the Saski Garden.
I saw insurgents. I approached them and Said I wanted to get to the Królewska 27. There were two backyards there and a huge tenant house. During a raid it was linked to the neighbouring house and one could go to the Kredytowa street through basements.
So I told them I wanted to get there because I used to live there. Their reply was, "Buddy, there is no need to go there, everything is burnt. There is no Królewska street there anymore." I didn't want to believe it and kept insisting on this need. They kept warning that I could be easily caught by Krauts.
I had a gun and some bullets. I had left the Sten gun as it was not my own. But I took some bullets with me. I planned to give them to my brother but I saw one boy had such a gun and gave him these bullets. He was very grateful. In return he led me a bit. Then he said, "Keep going on your own". The insurgents, except the group of 4-5 boys, would not go there.
I went inside my house from the back. I remember there was the door and wooden stairs which were not burnt. But behind them there was nothing but ruins. I backed away and asked the insurgents, if they knew where the inhabitants were. One of them said that they were opposite, in the Kredytowa street. Probably the commandant was at that place as well, the one who had probably lived there before.
I went there. I was a dusk. O saw someone lying on a sunbed in the backyard. I came closer and saw he was not sleeping. I asked him if he came from the Królewska 27. He confirmed and said he was a commandant there. I explained him what I had in mind. He answered that obviously he knew my father who was his stand-in. Then he said my parents were living in the Świętokrzyska 30 street, opposite a skyscraper.
I went to the Świętokrzyska street. The dusk was more and more clear. It must have been 4 or 5 a.m. I sat in front of the house but nobody was leaving it. Eventually the Grodnu floor door opened and our maid Franeczka came out. We kissed each other heartily and then she led me to my parents. Everyone was sleeping. After a moment we greet each other cordially. Mr. and Mrs. Borowicz, our neighbours from the Królewska street, were staying there together with my parents.
I was told that my brother was in the Czackiego street, at the corner of the Traugutta street. I went there and found him in a big room, where he was practicing the military drill with the others. Having seen me, he went out and we greeted each other heartily. Afterwards we were talking for a long time. He told me which squaw he was staying in, I gave him my gun and some ammunition. Then I came back to my squad. In the future I visited my brother twice.
In "Ruczaj" much was happening. We were being sent to different places. The "Ruczaj" battalion was ta king the area between the Koszykowa and Natolińska streets, between the Natolińska street and the Saviour's Square, between the Square, through the Marszałkowska street till the Piusa street, between the Piusa street and the Wilcza street, towards Aleje Ujazdowskie.
Once we were ordered to get prepared to resist the tank attack. The tanks drove into Aleje Ujazdowskie. Then the alarm was cancelled. We were also in the Swiss Valley. It was a big building that was about 200 meters long. It neighboured the Chopina street, where Germans stayed. At some point I was shooting some Germans who were running across.
I decided to come back to my first battalion, i.e. "Gustaw". I reported myself, the didn't want to let me go. The commander, probably it was lieutenant "Czarny", asked me, "Buddy, don't you feel good with us?" I answered, "Sir, I had left my friends there." There is even such a bulletin that includes the order stating that the rifleman "Jerzy" is leaving to "Gustaw".
In "Ruczaju" I was downgraded to a rank-and-file soldier. I had, though, passed my examinations and owned a leading rifleman card. It was important for me. But nothing could be done. I said goodbye to my friends.
I remember the date of August 18 when I was given a password and told to go towards the ruins after dark. Some time before we had left the Legation in the Koszykowa street which was being shot and partly ruined by tanks. There was a hole leading to the Koszykowa street and forward to Aleje Ujazdowskie. Earlier I had given the machine gun. They gave me a rifle and ordered to observe if Germans would attack. They gave me a password and said that at midnight someone was coming to interchange me. I was to give him my rifle and go to "Gustaw".
So it happened. At night there was a big hum heard and lots of shooting. I could see only shadows. A part of the sky was seen through the damaged roof. We could see airdrops of aid, which made us feel better.
I left this post and walked across Aleje Jerozolimskie. This time it was a bit easier as the part of the road led me through the ditch. The railway tunnel didn't enable to further digging the ditch. One had to run the street up. Despite shooting I luckily ran again. After few minutes I joined the company "Genowefa" at the corner of Czackiego and Traugutta streets.
My brother stayed at the corner of Świętokrzyska and Czackiego streets. The boys captured the Navy-Blue Police quarters in the Ciepła street so the whole squad was equipped with alike lack uniforms. Inside the building there were small cabins for cashiers, one of which was given to three of us: me, my brother and his friend.
I came back to "Gustawa" with no weapon. I had to give the Sten gun back in "Ruczaj". Now I got a Soviet gun with bullets. I hid it in the pocket of a German officer coat which I had been wearing since our capture of the Czechoslovakian Legation. The next day we attacked the Police Headquarters and the Holy Cross Church. My brother, alike his friends, knew the area well, including all the garden plots, ruins and everywhere. Due to that he was chosen to lead the attack. I was to stay at the post and protect the building. Its windows fronted onto the Academy of Fine Arts where Germans stayed. It was a cross-line between us and them.
The weather was so-so, it was raining lightly. My brother asked me to lend him my coat. Frankly speaking, it was not a good idea because he could have been mistaken for a German by an insurgent. Yet, I agreed. I told him to go to our cabin and take it. My brother put on the coat and at that point a huge bang was heard. My brother fell on the ground. I ran towards him and heard him screaming, "My leg, my leg!".
As I reminded myself later on, my brother had said that the Germans were just opposite. So I had put a bullet to the chamber of my gun which was in my coat pocket and forgot to apply safety catch. My brother, while putting the coat on, made the gun shoot, and its bullet hurt his leg. Nurses took care of him and brought him to the hospital.
In such a situation Konrad didn't participate in the attack. Both the church and the post office were captured by the insurgents. Germans needed tanks. Two such vehicles rode from the side of the University. To fight with them we had bottlers filled with petrol and Home-made grenades which were often in a sock filled with some metal nails. After dubbing a detonator a grenade would explode after 4-5 seconds.
We were waiting, hidden by the windows, for a tank to come closer. Then we threw the bottles with petrol and grenades at it. I remember I was lucky to hit the tank. Damaged, it was left there. I saw it again in winter 1945, after the deliberation of Warsaw. Just afterwards it was removed from there.
I suppose that "Koszta" also participated in the fight for the Police Headquarters. Unfortunately Jurek Chyliński was not there (the one who sold my brother the Parabellum). Jurek was killed in the very first day of the Uprising, while running across the Bank Square. Having captured the Headquarters, everyone could gain weapons.
Then our service continued. It was August 24, I think. The front line was there. Inside the Raczyński palace, the present seat of the Academy of Fine Arts, there were Germans. The German posts were situated in the garden. From the roof of the place of our stay one could see the Piłsudski Square and Germans running cross it. On the roof I was lying grabbing my rifle, the door as my shield. It was questionable protection, especially against the airplanes flying above us. We were forbidden to shoot the Germans at the Piłsudski Square. Many years later I got to know the reason of this. It was simply because of the need to save ammunition. From our guns we could shoot at the maximum distance of 120 meters, whereas the distance to the Square was c. 200-300 meters.
On September 2 there was a failed attempt to attack the University. Krybar" would attack from the river-bank of the Vistula district while we would do it from the Staszic Palace side. There was massive shooting then including air bombing, tragic moments indeed. The attack was not successful. Afterwards the street in this area was constantly guarded.
Several times I visited my brother in the hospital. He had the whole leg in plaster. He was transported few times. First, he stayed in our sanitary place in the Czackiego street, then they took him to the Boduena street and then to the Jasna street. He stayed there on the fifth floor in a room for contagiously ill people. He probably suffered from dysentery. Mum accompanied him.
I decided to take him from that place. I knew "Koszta" had its hospital in the Moniuszki street at the corner of the Marszałkowska street. I ran to my friends from "Koszta". I met Tadeusz Suliński who participated in the Pasta capturing and Jurek Chyliński. We put my brother on the stretcher and took him to the above=mentioned hospital. I said goodbye to my brother and came back to my post. It was September 2. I visited my brother in the hospital few times as it was nearby.
On September 6 all hell broke loose. The streets looked like those in the Old Town. Germans began their attack at the river-bank of the Vistula district. It was late at night, 10 p.m., I think, when my father appeared at my post. He had a very good pass given by the Home Army Headquarters, the Sanitary Department. He took care of X-ray machines insurgent hospitals and could reach virtually everywhere. He knew all officer doctors.
Father told me that in the Świętokrzyska flat he had found a note from Mum. She had informed about having taken my brother to the hospital in the Drewniana street at the river-bank of the Vistula district. Mum also had written that she was with him. Father moved on to the Drewniana street at once but he manager to reach the Kopernika street at the corner of the Tamka street. There he was stopped and told there was no entrance as several dozen meters further there stayed Germans. This fact made us truly puzzled and worried. We didn't understand the reasons of taking the wounded Konrad to the Drewniana hospital at all.
the letter of Nadzieja Lisiecka to her husband at the reverse of an old prescription
The building where we stayed was damaged in horrible fights and had no roof. We stood by the high ground floor windows. Germans would shoot every few seconds by means of grenade launchers. Suddenly I heard a bang and saw blood flowing from my chin. Nurses wrapped my whole chin at once but the bandage immediately soaked through. Blood was flowing fiercely. Our sanitary post had been closed before. There were 20-25 wounded people accompanied by 2 or 3 our nurses.
I was advised to go to the Hoża 8 street and have a shrapnel taken out. I went there at night. Having gone to Aleje Jerozolimskie, I saw a queue of people. They let me go, as a wounded one. I got to the Hoża street with difficulty. In the morning they took the shrapnel out. The doctor Said, "You are lucky. One Or two centimeters decided. Otherwise you Gould not survive." I even kept this shrapnel as a memento but then I lost it. Due to that incident I lost contact with my father.
In few hours our whole squad was evacuated. The company came to the Wilczas treet. There I met my friends. The wound kept healing. Afterwards our duty was the guard one. Tadeusz Maciński, an elderly man, very respectable one, took care of us. He was an activist of the National Party, the Warsaw branch chairman. He did everything he could in order to save the remaining part of the military and political National Party group. He was conscious of the tragedy that was happening with us. The half part of "Grażyna" had gone to the river-bank of the Vistula district and al most All of them got killed there. Maciński had friends in the Home Army command. He made use of his impact to save the rest of the group who had been alive.
Having recovered, I went with a sack to take barley from the Ciepła street several times. We used to take it and divide between ourselves and the squad. I didn't take an active part in the action anymore. There was only service at the garrison. I didn't achieve anything astonishing during the Uprising. What I did was fulfill my bounden duty to be a soldier as far as possible.
edited by: Maciej Janaszek-Seydlitz
translated by: Monika Ałasa
born on August 22, 1923 in Warsaw
leading rifleman, The Home Army (AK) soldier a.k.a. "2422", "Jerzy II"
Battalion "Ruczaj", Company "Tadeusz Czarny", Platoon "Orlik"
Battalion "Harnaś", Company "Genowefa", Platoon 138
Copyright © 2016 Maciej Janaszek-Seydlitz. All rights reserved.