Class 5

Elementary School in Białka

My experiences during the German occupation

In 1939, the Germans defeated Poland and held the country captive. They started building various prisons and camps. They imprisoned and killed those who were most learned, so that no trace was left of them. The greatest and most eminent Poles were afraid to use their real names, and hid in the forests or grazed cows. Over a few years even more camps were set up. The Germans also built furnaces in which they could kill masses of people at a time. The largest camps were Majdanek, Oświęcim and Dachau. There were even more such camps, but these three were the most important, for it was there that the majority of people were killed.

The Germans sought terrible revenge not only on those who were guilty [of opposing them], but also on innocent children, many of them only two or so months old. They would grab a child by its legs and hurtle it to the ground, smashing it to pieces. There were some Ukrainians who wandered around the villages and towns, murdering and slaughtering with great cruelty. They took infants from their mothers and killed them, and deported the mothers for further torment or forced labor. Would a mother’s heart not bleed upon seeing her child abused with such terrible cruelty?

My daddy was taken for forced labor to Germany. A great sadness descended on our home, for mummy was very ill. A few weeks later we received information that daddy had died. The loss of our beloved daddy thrust our family into the deepest grief and mourning.

But, oh, how many children there were without fathers or mothers, without a roof over their heads. They roamed through the towns and cities, hungry and suffering. I witnessed all this and my heart nearly burst when I saw my brothers and sisters in such terrible poverty. The Germans forbade Polish children to learn history, geography and many other important subjects. All the children were taught in German. The Germans carried off the most valuable works of our famous painters, engineers and poets.

This all lasted five years. The Germans wanted to conquer the whole world, but they were unsuccessful. In 1944, German power collapsed. It was then that we regained our freedom, and with it we acquired greater access to the sea, which we had wanted so much, for it will help develop foreign trade and make Poland rich.