Berlin in May 1945

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  • Photo taken in:
    Berlin
    Year when photo was taken:
    1945
    Country name at time of photo:
    Germany
    Country name today:
    Germany

This photo was taken in Berlin in May 1945. It is the First Polish Army. The picture must have been taken by an army photographer. The commander of this division,  Col. Swietlik, is second from the left. His wife is next to him and her sister is fourth from the left. I am third from the right, without a cap. The officer on my right joined this division from Anders’ Army.

In 1944, when I was still in Konskowola, the Russian Army and Polish officers arrived. One of them asked what I was still doing there. He told me to go to Lublin to the army and say he sent me. I went to Lublin to look for someone from my family. I went to the Jewish Committee, but I didn't find out anything. I registered in case someone was looking for me. Nobody was. So I went to the army and registered under the name Szymanska. Two women took care of me. It must have been luck among all the misfortunes that I came across that woman who signed me up. I got clothing, I got food, I got an apartment. 

In Lublin I worked in the office of General Grosz. Mrs. Zabludowska was the head of that office and I was her helper. I wrote up orders on the typewriter. And once the order was to transfer somewhere a Col. Henryk Holder, son of Michal. Could it be the husband of my friend Lidka from Kolomyia? Could there be another person of the same name? I wrote to him without thinking much of the future, only because he was someone who knew me, remembered me… He came to visit, which was very kind of him. I told him all about myself and asked about his wife. Both she and his entire family died. So later I thought, 'What do I care which one it is?' Since I knew him from Lidka's stories and believed he was a decent man, we got together. 

Then he went to the front and I stayed in Lublin. He was in Warsaw the day after it was liberated [17th January 1945]. I still have a letter from him in which he says that Warsaw was all gone and that the Germans should be shot, beaten, murdered. And I went through that miserable city later, too. I went from Lublin to Berlin with the army as an ensign. I was demobilized in Katowice. In Katowice, in December 1945, we got married.

 

Interview details

Interviewee: Romana Holder
Warsaw, Poland

KEY PERSON

Romana Holder
Year of birth:
1917
City of birth:
Warsaw
Country name at time of birth:
Poland
Occupation
before WW II:
secretary
after WW II:
secretary, Housewife
Family names
  • Previous family name: 
    Broniewska
    Year of changing: 
    1912
    Reason for changing: 
    Hiding jewish identity
  • Previous family name: 
    Szymanska
    Year of changing: 
    1944
    Reason for changing: 
    hiding jewish
  • Previous family name: 
    Bachner
    Year of changing: 
    1945
    Reason for changing: 
    Marriage

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