Class 7

My wartime experiences

I was still small when the Germans overwhelmed Poland in 1939 and started to persecute, murder and deport people for various kinds of hard labor. Searches and roundups started in my home village, but people defended themselves however they could. The Germans caught the older boys for hard labor in Małaszewicze and took others deep into Germany.

The Germans started to withdraw in 1944. I remember trucks and tanks with huge guns coming through Liszna in March of that year. People were starting to whisper that it wouldn’t be long until we were free of the cruel invader. And that is what happened for we heard the thunder of the Soviet guns in July. I saw the Germans getting ready to flee, taking our neighbor’s horses and gathering our menfolk to help take them further west. My dad took our horse and hid him among the crops that had already ripened. I took hay out to our pony during the day.

Once, I almost paid with my life for taking that hay out. A shell came down some 20 paces from me. I dove into a ditch and only the earth thrown up by the shell flew over me. After taking the hay to our pony, I couldn’t get back home because the shooting was too heavy, so I had to lie in the dirt for a while.

There were no Germans left when it all quietened down, so I left the field and went home. I went to my friend’s house on the way, and I heard groaning from a nearby shelter. I looked – our neighbor was lying dead in the shelter and his daughter, fatally wounded, was begging for water in a weak and agonized voice. After a moment the poor girl passed away. The neighbors pulled the unfortunate people from their shelter and buried them at the cemetery the next day. The sight of those dead people made a horrible impression on me!

Ever since then I pray to God every day to keep those terrible wars away from us.