Class VI

My memories of the German crimes

In the early morning hours of 1 September 1939, the first German bombers attacked. Bombs began to fall on our cities and villages. There were quite a lot of fires. [The Germans] even fired when they saw cattle grazing in the fields. This happened in the first days of the war, before the German army came. And when the German army appeared, [there was] a great roar of cannons, [the sound] of machine guns and all kinds of weapons in German hands. Our soldiers bravely resisted, there were even times when they captured the enemy tanks, but it was still futile, because we did not have a bigger air force.

Now [I will describe] the way the enemy treated the Polish soldiers. They beat, tortured and starved them as much as they could. This happened in 1939. German occupation lasted for six years. The occupier imposed a large quota. If this [quota] was not fulfilled by the farmers, the gendarmes would come and take them to the camps to be beaten and tortured. Our parents couldn’t do it, because nobody could meet this quota. [The Germans] raided us, took the last cows and drove our homeland to collapse. They later imposed a quota on people. They assigned each village [a limit of] several dozen people [and obliged them] to leave for the Reich. The Poles did not want to go, so [round-ups] began. [The Germans] came at night and took [people] from their beds. When that happened in the first and second village, a guard was set up in the third. The partisans began to form and later the Germans started to come during the day because they were afraid to come at night. The moles who sold out the Poles were not [people] of other [nationalities]; they were Poles, but degenerate ones. They did well, because they got what they wanted, and we walked barefoot, naked and hungry. [However] the time soon came for such degenerates.

The terrible murders began: people were burned alive, hanged and shot. If such a mole discovered partisans in some village, he [immediately] reported to the Nazis. [Then] several cars [of the Germans] came and surrounded the village and [as a result] they transported all the men to Auschwitz for torture. We were sick with fear when the first partisans came to our apartment for quarters in 1942. We had enough fear, but not because of the partisans, but because of the Nazi minion, that he might reveal us to the Nazis, because then we would all be burned. Thank God that it did not reach the Nazis. And we, the little children, [pretended] we didn’t see or hear anything whenever anyone asked. Later, the partisans came to us every other night [or] every night. Dad had to drive them and lead them [from the village], show them the roads. Our uncle was also a commander of the Peasant Battalions. He died with a weapon in his hands. Teachers were also caught, schools were closed, and education was stopped. The headmaster, the late Łata, was murdered by the Nazis. There were millions of such innocent victims. This was what happened during the Nazi occupation.

And finally the time came for the Nazis. On 16 January 1945, the Soviet army arrived in the afternoon. [Suddenly] the Nazi army also appeared. A terrible battle was fought, the Nazis were surrounded. The Soviet troops began to shoot from cannons and machine guns on all sides, there was a terrible booming. We had nowhere to hide, we sat in our house, and the walls fell on our heads. We didn’t hear anything else, just the whistle of bullets, the cracking of Soviet artillery shells and terrible drone of Nazi tanks near our walls. We were half killed by a terrible bang. This lasted nearly two hours, when [finally] the time came for the Nazis. They abandoned their [illegible] and tanks in our fields. That is how the enemy was banished from Poland.