Biographies

Search

23 results

Krystyna Budnicka

My name is Krystyna Budnicka, my true family name is Kuczer, Hena Kuczer. I first used my Polish name when Mr. Budnicki, a Pole, who had been looking after me, handed me over to some nuns who ran an orphanage as we were leaving a burning Warsaw after the Uprising [Warsaw Uprising] [1] in October 1944. When the nuns asked my name I didn't hesitate for long. Krystyna Budnicka, I said. And it stuck.
See text in interview

henryk prajs

At that time the Warsaw Uprising was taking place, and its commanders counted on Soviet support. The uprising ended on 2nd October with Polish defeat. The Soviet army resumed its offensive only in January 1945.
See text in interview
My friend in the army was Eliezer Geller [1918-1943, a Gordonia (a Zionist organization) activist, soldier of the Warsaw ZOB (see below), he fought in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and later went into hiding; he was probably killed in Auschwitz]. He came from Opoczno in the Mazovia region. He was my age. We often times went to the synagogue together, spoke with each other.

He was a very intelligent boy, very handsome, a blond. He was a left-wing Zionist, like me. I don't know what his profession was, but I think he'd finish a gymnasium, completed more than seven years of school. They didn't take him to the non-commissioned officer school, though, I don't know why, maybe he just didn't want to go. He was in the second squadron and I was in the forth, so I never saw him from September [1939] on. He was later in Warsaw, I don't know by what miracle he ended up there. I was certain all the time he died in the Warsaw Uprising [23].
See text in interview

Apolonia Starzec

The [Warsaw] Uprising [39] separated us because by chance I found myself in Praga... I didn't stay long in my first apartment because there arose some nasty suspicions [that the interviewee was Jewish], I had to keep changing my address. When the uprising broke out, I was living in Mariensztat [Warsaw neighborhood, near the Old Town]. Shortly before [the start of the uprising on 1st August 1944] I wanted to take my sister to my place, I was already a member of the AL [40], had more friends and contacts. I knew the uprising would break out any day now, the preparations had been under way, so in the morning, at dawn, I hurried to [the apartment at] Brzeska to take my sister to Warsaw. It was 1st of August. Ircia was already living with her husband. She didn't want to hear about leaving without him, he didn't want to move either. I decided to go back to Warsaw, all I had on myself was a summer dress. But the bridges had already been closed. I stayed with them. On Brzeska, with the thirteen of them. And there I spent the whole period [during the uprising and afterwards] until liberation.
See text in interview

henryk lewandowski

And so I made it to the Warsaw uprising, it broke out on 1st August, I felt an absolutely free man by then. My whole involvement in the uprising was that on the second day of it the commander of my outpost sent a messenger on Sucha Street, presently Krzewickiego Street, with a report. That guy was from a different part of the city, he didn't know where Sucha Street was, plus two people were needed for the assignment, so that in case one got shot, the other would deliver the message. We reached our goal, Sucha Street, but there were no headquarters there. My comrade told me to destroy the document and we went back to Krzyckiego Street.

On 8th August the RONA [Russkaya Osvoboditelnaya Narodnaya Armiya, Russian National Liberation Army, a Waffen-SS division consisting of Red Army deserters, commanded by SS-General Major Mieczyslaw Kaminski] came. They stormed, taking over all the buildings on Krzyckiego Street, drove the people out on the street and set fire to the houses. They herded everyone on Raszynska Street and then to the so-called Zieleniak square [a groceries market], at the end of Grojecka Street.

Some terrible, tragic events took place at the Zieleniak: the RONA soldiers hung around and pulled the young women out of the crowd, there were many rapes; somehow we made it through the night and the next morning some high ranking officer appeared, it turned out to be Kaminski himself. A group of men went up to him to complain about the behavior of his subordinates. Apparently, it was effective, because their conduct was later quite acceptable. [Editor's note: Actually the scale of RONA's ongoing atrocities against civilians shocked the German commanders; the unit was withdrawn from the battle and its commander, Kaminski, court-martialed and shot - for the looting, not for the murders and rapes.
See text in interview
He was a member of the Home Army and Zegota. It was thanks to the Home Army and Zegota that we later had a permanent hideout, on Krzyckiego Street; I lived there, with some breaks, until the Warsaw uprising [41].
See text in interview

Alina Fiszgrund

Eventually she ran out of money and, shortly before the Warsaw Uprising [4], she moved to Lowicz [town 50 km west of Warsaw].
See text in interview

Mieczyslaw Weinryb

At the beginning of the 1950s I met Izabela, my wife. She worked with the trade union, she was a bookkeeper. Her father, Waclaw Tluchowski, left home to fight in the Warsaw Uprising [27] and never returned. He even has a monument in Powazkowski Cemetery [the most famous Catholic cemetery in Warsaw; many famous people are buried there].
See text in interview

Mieczyslaw Najman

We were in Praga [right-bank part of Warsaw]. General Berling [30] ran around, saying, 'We'll go into action, we'll help them.' And half an hour later he was gone. They didn't permit him to cross the river. We ask where he is. 'Gone to Moscow for training.' To a military academy.

We already knew where he had been sent, we were aware. [Editor's note: General Berling arbitrarily decided to make an attempt to cross the Vistula to help the uprising, for which he was dismissed as commander of the 1st Army and sent to the Military Academy in Moscow]. We marched into [left-bank] Warsaw, and it's just smoldering ruins.
See text in interview
We got to Warsaw. They [the Home Army] [28] staged the uprising [29] to forestall the Russians, to show that they captured the city. So the Russians stood back and showed... [Editor's note: stopped their advance]. The Germans murdered the uprising soldiers, and the uprising was all for nothing, we had to storm Warsaw.

Always politics, was it necessary for these 200,000 people to die? [Editor's note: 200,000 is the number of the Warsaw uprising's civilian casualties]. They did [gained] nothing, and the civilians were murdered and taken prisoner.
See text in interview

Jozef Hen

On 1st August 1944 I was performing with my theater troupe in Zhytomyr. There was a lieutenant there, Michal Friedman [Centropa has also conducted an interview with Mr. Friedman] who told me about the Warsaw Uprising [48].
See text in interview

Alfred Borowicz

A female voice. I asked about the guy, I think his name was Tadeusz Zakrzewski. Dead. Sent to Auschwitz and killed. I suppose he was an AK mole, that's why he said I wasn't a Jew.

Then it turned out my room had been locked and sealed. Naturally I went to my AK contact and told him about it, he says, no problem, you'll get another apartment, but then they reconsidered, said the uprising would break out shortly, so it wouldn't make sense. If you can go anywhere, go out of Warsaw and wait, the partisans will be going to help Warsaw, you'll join them. And that's what I did; I went to Milanowek.

And indeed, the partisans eventually came, a unit led by Captain Lanca, and I joined them with Janek Kott who had fled Warsaw where the uprising was already under way. He was in the AL [19] but he joined an AK unit. We never reached Warsaw. Then Janek Kott went down with some infectious disease. I think it was typhoid fever. And our captain said, 'He returns to Civvy Street.' He told me to take him out. I took him to Milanowek. We moved ahead, part of our unit eventually disbanded, part happened upon some Russians in German service near Zgierz and were wasted.

Then the uprising collapsed and the Germans took people to camps. Riding the commuter train from Podkowa [residential area 5 km west of Milanowek] to my parents in Milanowek, I boarded a car full of POWs guarded by soldiers and, when I entered the platform, I saw in the middle father Jan Gustkowicz, my schoolmate. We spoke some, and in Grudow [station between Podkowa and Milanowek], when the train started, I managed to push him out of the train and jump out myself. Despite the guard's shouts, the train didn't stop. We stayed with Dziunia [Oberlederowa, aunt of the interviewee's sister's husband] in Grudow, one stop before Milanowek. Gustkowicz later found himself a parish priest at the Gdansk harbor, but in the meantime he spent some time in Wieliczka.
See text in interview
I'm telling you about those basements because that was a task I had been charged with by the AK for the Warsaw Uprising [17], to make sure passageways were made between basements, and I was in charge of that.
See text in interview
  • loading ...