Class 6a

My experiences from the war

The war began in 1939. I was six years old at the time. The radio broadcast about the approaching German planes. That news really frightened people. Food was collected and packed up as people got ready to flee.

An unbroken line of carts carrying possessions, taxi-cabs and people – on foot, on bicycles, however – had been coming past from the west for several days. The locals took water out for them to drink, but it was always too little. Some took bread or a cooked meal. They often came to our place to rest because we live by the street. We ourselves slept in the shelter in the little orchard.

One time 20 soldiers came. We made them dinner because they hadn’t eaten a cooked meal for a long time. Then my uncle came with my cousin and brought news from mom. Mom was in Warsaw, dad was in the army.

Once several men who didn’t know anything about their families stayed overnight with us. They were wearing military uniforms underneath civilian clothes. One of them knelt by the open window and prayed until tears ran down his cheeks. Others could neither speak nor eat out of grief. They bid us farewell early in the morning the next day. One of them hugged me tightly and kissed me even as he cried because he said I looked like his son.

The first bombings began the next day. We could see the smoke of the burning stables from our shelter. Soon, dad’s military unit came through Radzyń. Dad had changed so much that when we saw he was coming towards us we locked ourselves in the house and wouldn’t open the door because we were alone there. It was only when he called out that we recognized his voice and let him in. Dad’s legs were wounded. The next day he had to go and catch up with his unit, but he soon came back with mom.

The Germans came soon after. Everything changed from that moment on. The arrests began. In 1942 it was the post office’s turn, where dad worked. He left Radzyń, unable to work under such constant stress, but he soon died. Mom, my aunt and six of us children were left behind.

My eldest sister and my aunt were killed when the Germans fled and the Soviet army took Radzyń. Once again everyone lived in constant fear for their lives because the Germans wanted to reduce everything to rubble. We escaped into the countryside, but we came back a week later.