10:00:04:00 What would you like to know first?



10:00:11:00 To understand the Warsaw Uprising you must first understand  what it means to live under occupation.

10:00:20:00 When the war started, I was 12 years old. I was only different from other girls in that I liked to play football.

10:00:36:00 After two weeks, the Germans had closed in on Warsaw and the street where I lived became the frontline…

10:00:45:00 the battle line.


10:00:56:00 BAPTISM OF FIRE

10:00:56:00 CHRZEST BOJOWY

10:01:02:00 There were Polish Army positions at our house,and the Germans were some 100 meters away from us.

10:01:09:00 A bomb fell on our neighbour’s house.

10:01:13:00 I saw a woman running out of the rubble carrying an infant. In those days, you still wrapped babies in so-called “pillows”.

10:01:24:00 I saw the Germans shooting at the baby and how this child fell apart.

10:01:34:00 They fired at this pillow with a machine gun.

10:01:40:00 I saw the feathers falling out and all the parts of this child torn to pieces.

10:01:51:00 This was the moment my childhood ended.

10:02:04:00 It was a kind of fracture in my life.

10:02:10:00 I wanted to grow up so that I could deal with these Germans!

10:02:15:00 But time is unyielding and will not go faster.

10:02:20:00 The Germans closed all schools above elementary level.

10:02:27:00 I made contact with a scout group in the resistance.

10:02:35:00 We were taught to sketch territory,and how to recognize German weapons.

10:02:48:00 I chose the pseudonym  ‘Atma’meaning ‘soul’…

10:02:53:00 but they didn’t think it suited me and named me “Pączek” (“doughnut”) instead.

10:03:01:00 We were already writing on walls,painting the ‘anchor’ symbol…               

10:03:12:00 but above all we were taught army drills,and how to use weapons.

10:03:22:00 We had a scout rule: first, you must study,and then you can fight.

10:03:37:00 Teachers came to us,despite the death penalty for teaching.

10:03:48:00 Our study group was led by a professor, she taught us history and the Polish language.

10:03:57:00 One day, just as our class had started  the Germans announced on a street megaphone: It’s forbidden to stand by the windows… as they will be executing people… hostages.

10:04:15:00 And so, from 9am until 1pm we heard gun fire… and through a window, which was ajar, saw them shooting.

10:04:28:00 Whilst being trapped like this for the first time I truly realized the horrific danger – That being Polish meant that you could lose your life at any moment.

10:04:47:00 That this teacher sitting next to me, would also be executed if she was caught teaching us.

10:04:56:00  This was so horrific, all these hours…When the executions endedand I walked outside…I though I would go insane.

10:05:13:00  I saw blood running down the gutter.

10:05:16:00 The bodies had been taken away

10:05:24:00 but the pavement and wall was covered in blood.

10:05:30:00 And blood was flowing.

10:05:35:00 I started to cry and ran to church.

10:05:40:00 I tried not to look at any passing Germans, because I thought I would attack them, bite them and scratch their eyes out!

10:05:50:00 I am unarmed but I cannot rein in my anger!

10:05:56:00 In church I began to pray, asking God to restore my sanity. But this awful bitter sadness stayed with me, knowing just how helpless an unarmed human being really is.

10:06:24:00 In some ways the Germans forced the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising, and how fiercely is was to be fought.

10:06:38:00 This was because their behavior during the occupation was so brutal.

10:06:47:00 To this day they have not borne any consequences

10:06:53:00 for what they did in Warsaw.

10:06:58:00 RESISTANCE

10:07:03:00 I entered a new resistance cell. Our task was to deliver notices to Germans whose behaviour was exceptionally brutal,

10:07:11:00 Telling them that unless they stopped their behavior,they would be sentenced to death and executed.

10:07:20:00 These warnings were also handed out to those who betrayed Jews for money.

10:07:27:00 The court issuing these verdicts was part of the Polish Underground State.

10:07:35:00 But we were not allowed to simply put the warning letter through the mailbox.

10:07:45:00 I had to go to the address…

10:07:49:00 knock on the door…

10:07:51:00 and hand the letter to the accused in person.

10:08:04:00 For me this moment of confronting them, knowing that I’m just an ordinary girl -

10:08:19:00  that they can just grab me by the collar and I won’t be able to protect myself…

10:08:24:00 This made me dream of being able to defend myself.

10:08:40:00  I decided I should get myself a gun. So that, in case I had to, I could behave properly.

10:08:51:00 But during the time of resistance, a gun was priceless.

10:08:56:00 So I could only dream of one…

10:09:04:00 This was a need from the heart.

10:09:14:00 I was aware that we were dying defenseless -

10:09:19:00 they were killing us…

10:09:24:00 and we were supposed to accept that.

10:09:31:00 But in the Uprising we could fight face-to-face  and see who is better, faster, braver…

10:09:42:00 and who has fortune on their side.

10:09:45:00 W - HOUR

10:09:49:00 When W-Hour came…

10:09:53:00 it was a Tuesday, the 1st August.

10:09:58:00 For us it was a glorious day! To finally be able to fight back and not be lined up against a wall.

10:10:06:00 My father went to fight in the Uprising, and my brother too.

10:10:12:00 Father even gave me his Legionnaires’ Eagle - that I attached to my beret!

10:10:19:00 So I was dressed in style!

10:10:23:00 For me, the moment when the Uprising started,when everyone was so happy,I was happy too!

10:10:34:00 Of course I thought we would win! It was impossible to imagine that we would be left on our own.

10:10:41:00 Besides, I adored my brother he was two years older that me and I always wanted to be like him.

10:10:52:00 I was assigned to the editor of the “Information Bulletin”,

10:10:59:00 Aleksander Kamiński, pseudonym ‘Hubert’.

10:11:03:00 He was one of the most outstanding scout leaders.

10:11:09:00 He wrote the Polish wartime classic “Stones for the Rampart”.

10:11:15:00 For me, it should have been an honour to be assigned as a liaison to him,

10:11:21:00 but as I could only stand and watch as boys in other units ran to battle,  my heart was breaking!      

10:11:32:00 So, Kaminski sent me to a fighting unit.

10:11:37:00 They needed someone to deliver a message to General Antoni Chruściel,pseudonym ‘Monter’.

10:11:49:00 But unless the liaisons ran very fast they were shot

10:11:55:00 there was no other route to get through.

10:11:57:00 But I was good at football because I could outrun all my friends.

10:12:03:00 I said: “I know this area really well…if you let me, I will deliver the message”

10:12:10:00  Lieutenant ‘Steb’ assigned cover for me, a boy that would drag me off if I was shot.

10:12:21:00 This boy, named “Crow”, who later became my friend,

10:12:26:00 looked ahead and asked me: “Do you know how to shoot?”

10:12:31:00 I said yes.He gave me an old WW1 pistol

10:12:38:00 and said: “I’ll give you this pistol, but you’ll have to return it to me.”

10:12:44:00 I replied: “What if I don’t return and I die out there?”

10:12:48:00 He said: “Take it, you don’t know what’s ahead.”

10:12:53:00 I crossed myself and ran. Feeling the heat from machine gun fire at my heels as the Germans fired at me - but I was faster.

10:13:09:00 When you’re afraid you run very fast.

10:13:13:00 I succeeded, came back with a reply and requested a transfer to this unit.

10:13:22:00 But not as a liaison, as a fighter asking: “Please can I also have a gun?”

10:13:31:00 This is how I became a fighter-liaison in the First Platoon, the unit defending the Military Publishing House,under the command of General ‘Monter’.

10:13:46:00 Lieutenant Stefan Berent, pseudonym ‘Steb’had a daughter my age, and somehow instantly accepted me.

10:13:58:00 It was thanks to him that many of us survived.He was a brilliant officer, but above all, an amazing person. He understood our youth.

10:14:14:00 Lieutenant ‘Steb’ was a specialist in printing presses and coordinated the production of weapons. 

10:14:26:00 Weapons were assembled in this workshop until the end of the Uprising.

10:14:37:00 I fought like the boys and I looked like a boy.

10:14:43:00 Sometimes, in other units, they didn’t even know I was a girl.

10:14:49:00 I always dreamt of having a “Bergmann” submachine gun,

10:14:54:00 but unfortunately…

10:14:56:00 or even just a “Schmeisser” but…no.

10:15:01:00  The whole time I had a “Błyskawica” (Polish Sten Gun).

10:15:04:00  Still, I was lucky,some units didn’t even have that.

10:15:10:00 Nothing is more important to a soldier than their weapon.

10:15:15:00 THE RISING

10:15:22:00 We were joined by different battalions “Zośka”, “Parasol”, “Odwet”…

10:15:31:00 “Monter” assigned a sapper unit to us.We were expecting a group of boys, and instead came six beautiful girls!

10:15:42:00 The first of them to die was their commander.On the second day of the Uprising,

10:15:49:00 we were advancing in a frontal attack on the main post office where the Germans had a clear field of fire on us.

10:16:01:00 When the command was given to attack, our unit hesitated and stopped.

10:16:14:00 Then she, Officer and Commander of the sapper unit, took out a ‘7’, a small gun

10:16:28:00 and shouted: “Boys, after me!” as she ran out first…

10:16:38:00 We were convinced that the more we gave of ourselves, the greater our chance of victory.

10:16:47:00 As a human you know it’s dangerous,but you believe you will manage.

10:16:52:00 When one is so young it’s impossible to imagine that anything bad could ever happen to you.

10:16:59:00 Above all, you think this is something that you must do

10:17:04:00 and not allow yourself to be killed.

10:17:07:00 To fight - you need the awareness that someone is hunting you.

10:17:16:00 That someone is trying to kill you.Then all your senses – sight, hearing, physical agility -

10:17:26:00 everything is so focused that your survival instinct dictates your entire behavior.

10:17:32:00 What is incredibly important is to be in a unit with a good atmosphere.

10:17:42:00 Because, you see – it’s like this…

10:17:44:00 A soldier is brave when he is not alone.

10:17:50:00 When he knows that his friends, his group will never abandon him.

10:17:58:00 If he was wounded or lost, They would do everything to save him.

10:18:09:00 This is a quality needed in every army.

10:18:15:00 But you see, we were also friends in our hearts.

10:18:24:00 At any other age, this is impossible. It only exists in teenagers…

10:18:30:00 when an idea is more valuable than life itself.

10:18:36:00 And we were ready to give absolutely everything - for freedom.

10:18:43:00 We wanted to be free!

10:18:45:00 We experienced such brutal treatment by the Germans,at the very time we were leaving our childhood behind…

10:18:55:00 when you look for ideals and develop your own identity.

10:19:02:00 So, we were friends in life and in death.

10:19:09:00 And in battle, well, like in any other battle there are many difficult situations

10:19:20:00  but one characteristic of the Warsaw Uprising is that during the most fierce and difficult fighting,

10:19:35:00 at times, we could still laugh so much we were in stitches!

10:19:54:00 HANDS OF GOD

10:19:57:00 Our unit did not have a set battle position. At any moment, day or night, whenever the battle line broke,or reinforcements were needed, we were sent out.

10:20:16:00 We attacked Holy Cross Church from the sacristy.

10:20:22:00 As a fast runner I managed to run across the line of fire

10:20:34:00 but when I jumped up to the window I couldn’t pull myself up

10:20:41:00 because I am very short

10:20:45:00 and I was weighed down with weapons and all the things a soldier needs to fight.

10:20:58:00  At that moment, despite the heavy German gunfire, a priest reached out from the window, and pulled me inside.

10:21:10:00 This was one of the most beautiful moments I remember.The priest was crying and called out: “Children! Our children!”

10:21:22:00 To this day, I never said thank you.The first thing I said to him was:

10:21:27:00 “Where are the Germans and where are ours?”

10:21:33:00 To report to Major “Wola” on the progress of the fight,

10:21:44:00 I had to step into the raging battle inside the church.

10:21:52:00 I remember being most surprised by how the air was shaking.

10:22:00:00 The sun was shining through the windows and the noise was so horribly loud the air was filled with sunlit particles all trembling in the echo…

10:22:19:00 This was like a vision to me.

10:22:27:00 It was for this action that I was awarded the Cross of Valour.

10:22:33:00 But whilst I was in the church,my friend, “Crow”, was hit. The boy who gave me the pistol.

10:22:42:00 Shrapnel from a German grenade hit his submachine gun magazine.His own ammunition tore up his stomach.

10:22:58:00  He suffered terribly.

10:23:01:00  By the time I returned, he was already at the hospital, dying.

10:23:07:00  I ran to the hospital.He suffered terribly and cried out to me:“Help me! I must live… Save me!”

10:23:17:00  I ran to the doctor and she said to me:“There is nothing more we can do.”

10:23:22:00 “Stay with your friend, but not for too long,you are needed back in battle, boy.”

10:23:35:00 His death was very hard for me.He was a very dear friend.I could not feel happy about the medal.And I think there were other deserving girls.

10:23:53:00 I managed to run through the gunfire but that was not my doing.

10:24:00:00 That was just how it had to be.

10:24:03:00 That is how it is in war.

10:24:05:00 One soldier lives and the other dies, even though he was in a much safer place.

10:24:21:00 We had some amazing liaison girls.

10:24:26:00 They would go unarmed,to deliver messages, as there were not enough weapons for them to have their own.

10:24:34:00 Sometimes they went through such dangerous places…When they got caught they could not even shoot themselves.

10:24:42:00 As the Germans first raped girls, and then murdered them.

10:24:57:00 The most brave were the first-aid girls,

10:25:02:00 when I speak of them I get goose bumps.They had to run out, unarmed, into raging battle. 

10:25:13:00 The badly wounded needed instant help.They had to drag, run… under fire                                

10:25:22:00 I will never forgive the Germans

10:25:27:00 for shooting at those girls.

10:25:29:00 Our girls even looked after their wounded! They believed that if a German was more seriously wounded than a Polish soldier, if the German soldier’s injuries were life threatening, they would help him first.

10:25:46:00 Because of the scout rule drilled into us: A wounded enemy is no longer the enemy - just another human being.

10:25:57:00 Still, the Germans shot at those girls… like sitting ducks when they ran out with Red Cross flags.

10:26:04:00 And when they - the Germans – dragged off their wounded we never fired. Never.

10:26:13:00 We were, to a large degree, raised in the scout movement.

10:26:18:00 On principles taught to us by our fathers, who fought in the Polish Legions.

10:26:25:00 A certain kind of disposition towards a wounded enemy.

10:26:36:00 When we took them captive we never executed them.

10:26:41:00 They were our prisoners of war.Even though we were hungry we shared… I mean, towards the end of the Uprising,

10:26:49:00 you first ate horses, then dogs… cats.

10:26:55:00 That is another tragedy one never speaks about as war has such atrocious rules.

10:27:13:00 But they… they were brutal. 



10:27:40:00 So during the Uprising we knew we would not be able to capitulate. They would murder us all.So we knew, once we started,there was no turning back.

10:27:57:00 And battle?  It was absolute.

10:28:09:00 The Germans could be in one room,and we in the other. Germans would run down the stairs, we would be running up.

10:28:23:00 This was a battle for every house.

10:28:33:00 Hand-to-hand combat means it’s your life or mine. There is no return.

10:28:45:00 I understand that the Germans were furious with us, we shot well and inflicted many casualties.

10:28:51:00 We had a rule: “One bullet, one German” because we were short of ammunition and had to use it sparingly.When shooting you had to be sure that the shot would count.

10:29:09:00 When you fire at a distance and see the enemy fall - there is joy.

10:29:16:00 There is no empathy for the enemy at that moment.

10:29:20:00 But once he is close enough to be almost face to face,

10:29:24:00 it is very difficult to take the decision to kill him.

10:29:31:00 It comes down to eye contact.

10:29:34:00 Until you look into the eyes of another human being there is no hesitation.

10:29:39:00 But the moment you see his eyes…

10:29:43:00 Something awakens in you that is only possible with closeness.

10:29:53:00 Unless he is not looking at you and you are in such a rage, maybe over the death of your best friend,

10:30:05:00 (sigh) then, this rage is so dominant

10:30:12:00 that even the eyes of another human being will not stop you.

10:30:21:00 Usually, this ends with the death of the last person to regain the ability to fire 

10:30:31:00 or both sides retreat, which is what usually happens.

10:31:02:00 ALLIES

10:31:13:00 This was also the question of our country’s future.

10:31:21:00 We were aware that once the Bolsheviks… the Russians enter…there will be another occupation, only this time, a hidden one.

10:31:33:00 We did not know we had already been sold out in 1943.

10:31:39:00 That Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill had already divided Europe between them.

10:31:46:00 We did not know this.

10:31:50:00 And we thought,even if that could be so,the Allies had a responsibility towards us, as we were also Allies!

10:32:02:00 For us, the most surprising thing was that the Allies did not insist that the Russians allowed Allied planes to use their airfields.

10:32:14:00 We did not want people to die trying to parachute in,but we wanted the Allies to drop us weapons.

10:32:21:00 This could only have been done in the first phase of the Uprising,when we held three-quarters of the city.

10:32:38:00 Mostly, we felt bitter towards the Allies for the lack of ammunition

10:32:43:00 for the guns we managed to take from the Germans.

10:33:20:00 It was the beginning of a very difficult time.

10:33:24:00 German bombing raids destroyed large parts of the city centre.

10:33:31:00 They completely demolished the main post office building, the area where we had our quarters.

10:33:53:00 Eugeniusz “Brok” Lokajski died in this way.Our units were close. He was in ‘Koszta’ company, defending General Staff Headquarters.Our units often fought together.

10:34:10:00 I saw the very best of him.He was an unusual soldier.

10:34:16:00 And he died like this.They bombed the building where he developed his photographs,

10:34:28:00 and he died there.

10:34:43:00 The Germans were so well equipped and so well coordinated… After each bombardment they attacked with such force…

10:35:03:00 We had to retreat or they would encircle us.  

10:35:13:00 For me, the most awful moment was leaving the civilians behind.

10:35:21:00 The Germans would drag them out and shoot them.

10:35:24:00 This was the most horrible.

10:35:34:00 To this day, I can’t forget how we had to leave them, defenceless.  

10:35:56:00 Following Adam Borkiewicz’s conclusion: that 180,000 civilians died in the Warsaw Uprising,and around 18,000 Home Army soldiers,

10:36:11:00 it means ten times as many civilians died.

10:36:14:00 The civilians also endured much worse conditions than us.

10:36:20:00 After all, in battle, a soldier can still laugh and lives through many important moments that will be remembered for life as beautiful.


10:36:56:00 After our retreat along a wrecked barricade to Chmielna Street 

10:37:07:00 our unit was divided up and sent to different parts of the city. Some boys went to the main post office, some to defend Nowy Swiat Street.

10:37:22:00 I was assigned guard duty on this barricade.

10:37:30:00 By then there was a wounded boy lying out on the street.He was not from our unit.

10:37:38:00 His stomach wound was so large that his intestines had poured out onto the street.

10:37:47:00 Taking over the barricade guard duty I was also responsible for this seriously wounded boy.

10:37:54:00 A chłopak od „Roga”,  dalej stal na służbie i ja miałam się zameldować do niego ze ja go luzuje. 

10:38:01:00 So I told the guard I was to replace that before he left, he had to help me.

10:38:08:00 He agreed, but said: “How? There is no access.”

10:38:16:00 I said: “That’s easy, gather some belts from the other boys….”

10:38:27:00 I tied the belts in a line and attached them to my leg.

10:38:32:00 I took a spare one in my hand.

10:38:36:00 I took a stick to gather the intestines off the street

10:38:42:00 and I tried to put them back into his abdomen.

10:38:46:00 The Germans must have had great binoculars; For every movement of the stick, they fired a round!

10:39:02:00 At one point, a series of shots went off and there was a lot of dust. I looped the spare belt around the boy’s legs.

10:39:15:00 The boys on the barricade dragged me back and I dragged this boy…

10:39:20:00 We managed to drag him off…

10:39:24:00 He did not have any identity documents.He had nothing.

10:39:28:00 He wore a white shirt, some German military trousers,

10:39:34:00 a belt, that was also torn.

10:39:39:00 I held him in my arms.

10:39:41:00 He was still breathing.

10:39:44:00 He looked into my eyes.

10:39:47:00 He was the most beautiful boy I have ever seen. He had very blue eyes, with beautiful long lashes.

10:39:58:00 A beautiful face.

10:40:03:00 He was beautifully built.I held him as he was dying.

10:40:07:00 Tears were running down his face.

10:40:10:00 Our nurses were trying to do something about his intestines,but he was already dying.

10:40:20:00 A nurse put a mirror to his lips, he was still breathing.

10:40:28:00 The next time she put the mirror up he was no longer alive.

10:40:36:00 I burst into tears then.

10:40:41:00 To this day, I pray for this boy.

10:40:55:00 WHITE FLAGS

10:40:59:00 Now, please imagine,in the morning we had prepared;built dug-outs,put sandbags in the windows…

10:41:08:00 We knew that heavy fighting was coming and that the course of the battle would depend on how well we prepared for it.

10:41:20:00 Our whole line was reinforced.

10:41:27:00 All units secured their positions.

10:41:33:00 At dawn, we saw two civilian men come out from the other side of the street.They hung up a white flag, signalling that our units were no longer there.

10:41:47:00 During our retreat, the Germans had not followed us all the way and so had not yet taken the positions opposite us.

10:42:02:00 Our unit commander asked the civilian men not to put up the white flag as it would enable a faster German advance.

10:42:17:00 Nevertheless, the men put up the flag

10:42:23:00 At that moment, two old women walked outside and took down the flag.

10:42:35:00 They turned towards us and greeted us, waving the flag.

10:42:44:00 All of us began to cry like children,

10:42:48:00 for we knew, if the Germans saw that,they would murder all the civilians in that building.

10:42:54:00 Nobody would get out of there alive.

10:42:59:00 This is one of my most beautiful, and horrific memories, of the civilians.

10:43:20:00 Once the Germans began their advance,we fought for three days over that house.

10:43:29:00 This battle is rarely mentioned but it was one of the most difficult, and for us, a very unusual battle because there,the Germans got a terrible beating.

10:43:47:00 The Germans started attacking us in waves…They ran through the broken barricade.Running straight into our barricade on Chmielna Street.

10:44:00:00 We threw grenades at them.

10:44:03:00 It was such carnage.

10:44:05:00 Once in a while the Germans would hang a white flag,to request a ceasefire,

10:44:12:00 and send out our civilians to collect their dead and wounded…

10:44:18:00 Then start all over again.

10:44:30:00 ‘Latona‘ was a café… At the exact moment that I ran inside a German ran in as well

10:44:41:00 he was holding a primed grenade.

10:44:44:00 I aimed at him.Certain I was about to shoot, he screamed : “Jesus Maria!”

10:44:51:00 My submachine gun jammed and I could not fire!

10:44:54:00 He threw the grenade at me and backed out.

10:45:00:00 The grenade fell by my shoe!

10:45:04:00 I was completely paralyzed.Not only in fear that I will be torn apart,but also that the explosion would hit the boys.

10:45:17:00 The grenade hit my boot…

10:45:23:00 and rolled up against the wall…

10:45:27:00 and I escaped!

10:45:52:00 THE FALL

10:45:59:00 Of course there was romance… boys will be boys!The girls were impressive: beautiful, smart and very brave.

10:46:13:00 Besides, everyone that age looks for love.

10:46:20:00 But generally there was no time for that,everything was happening so fast…We were preoccupied with battle.

10:46:40:00 Also, I had not matured enough to fall in love with anyone yet.

10:46:47:00 Only later did one think of how wonderful some of them were.

10:46:58:00 Once the boys heard I was to be awarded the Cross of Valour,they brought me this uniform.

10:47:15:00 Witold Kruczek brought me this shirt, Wlodzimierz Leo this pilot’s cap.

10:47:22:00 That is when this film was made where Major Bernard Romanowski “Wola” kissed me on the cheek.

10:47:33:00 Memories return from that time…

10:47:37:00 Mostly of the people then.

10:47:41:00 Major “Wola” was an exceptionally brave leader.

10:47:44:00 So very much depended on him;To keep our losses minimal and for our success in battle.

10:47:58:00 This is Major Bernard “Wola” Romanowski.This is Colonel Franciszek Edward “Radwan” Pfeiffer.This is me.

10:48:03:00 Major “Wola” and Colonel “Radwan” were in charge of this whole area.

10:48:10:00 By then, it was all rubble but we held on,to stop any German advance.

10:48:17:00 I needed to establish fire contact with the Germans.That means, I had to shoot so they would reveal their positions when they returned fire.

10:48:29:00 We all tried to convince our commanders to advance and push the Germans back,

10:48:36:00 but we no longer had the strength.

10:48:39:00 Only this film remains as proof that we did try.

10:48:47:00 This was a very difficult time.The end of the Uprising. really, the end of our battles…

10:48:54:00 We no longer had the strength to regain our lost ground.Everything was focused on holding on to what we had.

10:49:13:00 63 days the Warsaw Uprising lasted…It was supposed to be won in three.

10:49:42:00 There is nothing worse for a soldier than capitulation.

10:49:48:00 Because of the feeling of futility in the sacrifices a soldier bears.

10:50:00:00 For in victory, one says: Shame, but that was the price that had to be paid.

10:50:09:00 But for a soldier,to capitulate is an awful experience.

10:50:17:00 The realisation it was all…

10:50:27:00 senseless.

10:50:36:00 When we capitulated,we had to give up our weapons and go into captivity.

10:50:48:00 The Germans were simply astonished…

10:50:52:00 To me, it was very satisfying when I saw their gaping eyes as they watched a soldier like me surrendering my weapon.

10:51:06:00 These well-trained, grown men had fought battles against little squirts like us!

10:51:15:00 And they had died fighting us.

10:51:18:00 Even though, compared to them, we were so poorly equipped.

10:51:23:00 Their army’s losses were almost equal to ours.

10:51:34:00 On my backpack I had a toy monkey,

10:51:37:00 which the boys had given me as a mascot.

10:51:44:00 And so we went…

10:51:49:00 I was a prisoner of war.

10:51:53:00 I was in a couple of camps.

10:52:01:00 BROTHERS IN ARMS

10:52:09:00 They were like brothers. The saying “Brothers in Arms”…

10:52:14:00 You must live through it to understand what it really means.

10:52:21:00 It is remarkable just how loyal boys can be.

10:52:26:00 To this day, each one of them, now old, limping, poor-sighted with muddled minds…

10:52:34:00 Yet, when we meet, we instantly feel like we are back in that time.

10:52:40:00 The same jokes begin,,,

10:52:43:00 The same memories…

10:52:46:00 These experiences are so huge,they are impossible to forget.

10:52:57:00 My friends that died were only at the beginning of life.They did not yet know its full flavor, its value.

10:53:04:00 They were only 18,19, 20 years old.

10:53:13:00 My brother died.

10:53:24:00 I want the Warsaw Insurgents Cemetery in Wola to be better known. All the fallen boys that were buried there, nameless. It did not have to be like that.

10:53:37:00 The Germans took their lives, but the Communists…They hid this cemetery.They put up inaccurate symbols, scared people away.

10:53:49:00 Many soldiers died after the Uprising.

10:53:54:00 They were arrested for being soldiers of the Home Army.

10:53:59:00 From the most famous battalions,like “Zoska”, “Parasol”…

10:54:04:00 Almost everybody did time.

10:54:07:00 Since 1947 I‘ve been returning to this cemetery, for our Commander gave us an order:

10:54:18:00 find all the fallen soldiers without a marked grave.

10:54:25:00 There are graves there that people should know about.

10:54:37:00 About the price the civilian population paid for the Warsaw Uprising.

10:54:53:00 And I want to say, that it was the civilians that were the brave ones. It was thanks to them we lasted 63 days.

10:55:05:00 Had they wanted, we would have been forced to capitulate after three days.

10:55:11:00 They stayed with us until the very last day. And when we walked into captivity,

10:55:19:00 as we were walking…

10:55:23:00 They stood along the rubble,men and women, bidding us farewell.

10:55:30:00 They were crying.

10:55:40:00 A woman ran up to me,she kissed and embraced me, gave me a scarf and on my brow she made the sign of the cross.

10:55:54:00 Maybe it was because of the horrors during the occupation, and the terrible suffering of the civilians, that these two months of freedom were so beautiful despite all the horrific…

10:56:10:00 The murders the Germans committed. The massacres they committed.

10:56:20:00 Therefore, for me, heroism is to be afraid afraid like the civilian population was,

10:56:30:00 and still hold out until the end.

10:56:31:00 To be completely defenceless and still support us, calling us “our children!”

10:56:39:00 This was wonderful.

10:56:42:00 This was Warsaw.

10:56:51:00 70 years after the Warsaw Uprising, after decades of struggle to restore the names of the fallen at the Warsaw Insurgents Cemetery, The President of Poland, Bronisław Komorowski, declared Wanda Traczyk Stawska’s final mission accomplished.

10:57:05:00 - Is there anything you would have done differently?

10:57:09:00 I don’t think so.

10:57:15:00 Maybe I would have caused less trouble for the boys,

10:57:19:00 because they had quite a difficult time with me.

10:57:23:20 END CREDITS


© 2024 Journeyman Pictures
Journeyman Pictures Ltd. 4-6 High Street, Thames Ditton, Surrey, KT7 0RY, United Kingdom
Email: info@journeyman.tv

This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. For more info see our Cookies Policy