Stanisława Koprowicz born on 17 November 1908
Warsaw, aleja Niepodległości 118A, flat 6
1 August 1944, 5.00 p.m. That day I went to the garden allotment in Pole Mokotowskie. Suddenly, I heard a horrible shooting from the direction of Ochota. Assuming it was an armed robbery, which were often seen in Warsaw at the time, I didn’t realize it was the outbreak of the Uprising. I picked a few potatoes and began to run in the direction of Rakowiecka Street. I reached the street corner and noticed that a smoke bomb had been dropped on Rakowiecka Street. I entered the Jesuit Church where I was told that the Uprising had started. There were 14 persons from garden allotments there. We spent the whole night in the boiler room. The priests were with us.
2 August 1944, 9.00 a.m. A horrible explosion and the noise of doors being battered down could be heard coming from Boboli Street. A priest, Kosibowicz, ran upstairs. He returned, accompanied by three villains. They searched us and said: "you can stay here, we will do you no harm". The priest Kosibowicz attempted to comfort us: "As long as I am with you, I will protect you".
Eleven o’clock and again, the same band of Krauts throwing grenades into the church. They rushed in like mad dogs, took the priest Kosibowicz and made us go to the boiler room. Then they began to call us out individually. He [this "he" appears out of the blue in the Polish text] cast a vicious glance and beckoned with his finger. The priests first, then men and finally women. There was also one nine year-old boy.
I can’t remember when my turn came. The Germans robbed us of our watches, our rings and everything which they considered to be of any value. When the German called me out, I saw a woman standing in the corridor. I thought I was supposed to stand there too. But he ran up to me and pushed me so hard that I fell down. He ordered me to go through that door. I got inside and saw people crowded into a tiny basement with a grated window. When the last woman came in and closed the door, they started throwing grenades. Horrible moans and calls for help ensued. Unfortunately, nobody came to the rescue.
As far as I am concerned, I was not destined to die from a German bullet. I was standing next to a wardrobe. There was also some sort of parcel, a sewing machine and a blanket. I was clear-headed as to put the blanket over my head. I only felt my left leg get hot. I moved it and it seemed fine, but later I discovered there were six pieces of shrapnel in it. At this moment a priest rushed out, and a man after him. I joined them, but in the doorway of our "tomb", I heard shouts of a German soldier and I got back to the basement, climbing over the dead bodies and hiding in the wardrobe. Fortunately, the basement door remained intact, protecting the wardrobe. I sat down and covered myself with a waterproof coat, pretending to be dead. But I was waiting to die, convinced that the soldier would start hurling grenades at me the moment he got in. But the German ran, enraged, after the man [who had tried to escape with the priest]. This man was killed in the middle of the basement into which he jumped in order to hide. The priest hid in the coke room. The German now turned against me, but, as he probably lacked the nerve to climb over the dead bodies, he threw grenades from the corridor. It quietened down a bit. Another priest started to run, and I after him, but he quickly disappeared out of sight and I failed to see where he went. Seeking shelter, I entered a woodshed. But I quickly realized that the Germans would set it on fire and I would burn. So I left it and walked down the corridor into the boiler room. There was a door to the coke room. I went through the door. Both priests were there. The Germans returned. They first threw grenades into the rooms and the church and then came down into the basement to finish off those who were still alive. After a while the criminals left.
A man came carrying his twenty year-old son on his back. Having his tibia shot through, the son could not walk. There were six of us there. On the following day soldiers appeared again, setting dead bodies ablaze. A woman was crying for help, but we were afraid to move not to betray our hiding place to those bastards.
We stayed there until 5 August, deprived of water, food and dressings, waiting for the Germans to find us at any moment, bringing a horrible death. Later, when they set fire to the church, we started suffocating from the smoke. But we were waiting for someone to come to our rescue, hoping to see the world and the sun that we had not seen for five days. We thought that the whole of Warsaw was being murdered the way we were.
But there were people from the garden allotments who were still alive. On the night of Thursday to Friday the priest Bieńkosz got out into Fałata Street and contacted female liaison officers. They came, but they got to the upper church and failed to find us. It was not until Saturday at 11.30 a.m. that they finally reached us. We thought they were German spies, but they said they had been sent by the priest Bieńkosz and took us. Our wounds were then cleaned and dressed and we got something to eat.
On Sunday I saw this criminal who threw grenades at us. I thought he was going to do the same again, but people calmed me down. On Wednesday I got back home which was a short distance from the church. I was escorted by the ladies who waved white scarves as a sign of having permission to walk. Everything was all right at home because it was one of the Polish districts. I stayed at home until the surrender of Mokotów on 27 September 1944. I was then taken to Pruszków and to Germany as a forced laborer. I returned in June after Germany’s surrender.