21 June 1946

Adela Petruczynik
Class 6
Wisznice, Włodawa district, Lublin voivodeship

Memories of the German occupation

In 1939, the German invasion of our area made a great impression on us. These Germans were very harsh towards civilian population, and punished the slightest of offences in a very severe manner. There were some incidents where people made mistakes, mostly due to their carelessness, often connected with guns – the Germans shot people if they found any guns anywhere.

It surely left an impression and sowed fear, but after the great storm there was calm again. In 1940 the Germans moved away from us to France and our situation got better. All that was left was the police who maintained order, and the situation got better, we had more freedom. The economic situation improved, there were more jobs in the construction industry. My daddy worked and made money as a bricklayer, and we were doing well.

On 8 September our situation worsened, because daddy was ordered to do official work by the Germans and his pay was lowered. Daddy worked for the Germans for almost three years and three months, and his salary was getting lower and the supplies at home were running out. From year to year it got worse and worse, because the clothes and the shoes were getting used up and there was no money to spare for new ones. Our supplies eventually ran out. The clothes were destroyed, [so] that we had nothing to wear, so we had to look for a way to deal with that. For this purpose, we started breeding angora rabbits, which were very useful, thanks to their fluffy fur. Shoes were far worse, because we had no way to buy leather shoes, so we had to wear clogs.

In 1943 the situation got even worse, because the Germans took my daddy to Biała [Podlaska] to work there, but God had mercy on us and they let him go, and our lives got better.

We also experienced terrible and disturbing moments in July 1944, when the Germans were retreating from our Polish land under the pressure of Soviet and Polish troops. It so happened that just in our area, near our home, the Germans decided to set up two cannons and fired at the Soviet army. The effects of the shots were disastrous, because all the windows shattered. The Soviet artillery saw the German cannons and returned fire, and as a result we ended up on the front line. The battle lasted four hours. Luckily, Soviet shells rarely hit near and did no harm to us. At nightfall, the battle was over. At night, the Germans left. In the morning, Soviet troops entered our territory.