Class 7
Zwierzyniec, 12 June 1946

Experiences from the period of German occupation

Poland was going through a terrible time from 1939 to 1945. This was the period of enslavement. The Germans enslaved our whole country and tormented us mercilessly. Plenty of people were arrested and put them in prisons and camps with barbed wire fences, where lots of them died after being starved and brutally beaten. The Germans burned villages, publicly executed some of their inhabitants and took the rest to the camps. We witnessed such scenes in Sochy.

My most memorable experience was when the Germans arrested my brother. It happened on 8 December 1943. We went to bed after Sunday dinner, at 10.00 p.m. All of a sudden, we heard a vigorous knock on the door. The door opened and some gendarmes came in. They were heavily armed. They had their guns at the ready. A dozen of them came inside and immediately jumped to my brother’s bed. They told him to get dressed. Then they proceeded to search the house. Clothes, bedding – everything was turned into a mess.

When the search reached my bed, they gave the order to wake me up. I woke up, looked up with a surprise and couldn’t believe my eyes! A gendarme was standing over my bed and holding a revolver. I got very scared! At first, I didn’t understand what was going on, but a few minutes later I understood everything. I saw that everyone was crying. After the search, my brother was put in handcuffs. Everyone in the house started crying and lamenting terribly because we knew whose hands he was getting into. The gendarmes didn’t pay any attention to our pleading and crying and angrily ordered my brother to move forward. The moment when he was leaving was the worst. To cause us more pain, they didn’t even let us say goodbye.

Having spent seven months in prison, my brother returned, but he got injured while escaping from prison. We welcomed him very joyfully. We were glad that he returned happily from the hands of those butchers.