occupation

Sep

14

September 1944

Red Army Poles join the Warsaw Uprising

We knew for certain that there had been some Germans in a house on a slight rise about 400 metres away, perhaps closer. It was a difficult rifle shot but easily within range of their Maxim. I pointed the house out to him. He crouched behind the gun and started to fire long and, in that confined space, enormously noisy bursts. Whatever his other merits as a machine-gunner, conserving ammunition was not one of them.

Sep

7

September 1944

Free French mop up last German opposition

Prisoners testify that they have to account for every litre and one told us that they have plenty of fighters in Germany but they have no petrol for them. Most prisoners seem to have reconciled themselves to the fact that they have lost the war, but blame their officers for deserting them, and the FFI stabbing them in the back, but some of the young ones still think they will win, on what other grounds than Goebbels they base their assumption, I don’t know.

Aug

31

August 1944

Warsaw Uprising – women and children suffer

After an hour, we succeeded in digging out a middle-aged woman whose legs were smashed and twisted. Before she lost consciousness, she whispered through pale, blood-covered lips that about ten other people had been with her before the bombs fell. Now we began to notice a head, a leg, or an arm under the debris — a sign that we were coming to more bodies.

Aug

25

August 1944

‘Paris broken! Paris martyred! But Paris liberated!’

Paris! Paris outraged! Paris broken! Paris martyred! But Paris liberated! Liberated by itself, liberated by its people with the help of the French armies, with the support and the help of all France, of the France that fights, of the only France, of the real France, of the eternal France!

Aug

24

August 1944

Paris in turmoil as liberation approaches

Tomorrow morning will be the dawn of a new day for the capital. Tomorrow morning, Paris will be liberated, Paris will have finally rediscovered its true face. Four years of struggle, four years that have been, for many people, years of prison, years of pain, of torture and, for many more, a slow death in the Nazi concentration camps, murder; but that’s all over…

Aug

22

August 1944

The French rise up in Paris

This morning, a peasant said to me as he watched massive lorries full of ammunition thunder past his door: “I think the liberation of Paris will affect me even more than the liberation of my own village, because France will once again have a capital.

Aug

21

August 1944

Poles seek help as they battle on in Warsaw

The aeroplanes fly away, but it’s not long before they return. I check my watch with each attack. There is always at least forty-five minutes between each raid, the difference rarely more than a few minutes. That’s how long it takes them to fly to the aerodrome, reload with fuel and ammunition, and return. I memorise the numbers and letters on the fuselage of each aeroplane. They are always the same.

Aug

13

August 1944

Married with brass curtain rings in burning Warsaw

Thirteen was still lucky for me. That was the date of our wedding day – August 13. A field altar was set up on bales of paper in the store upstairs. The borrowed uniform was pushed and pulled onto me over the plaster dressing of my left arm. Finally, I was ready just as Lili arrived with an honor guard composed of six of her girls, holding a bouquet of rather wilted gladiolus in her hand. An attack on our positions had occurred that morning so none of my colleagues, not even the best man, Stas Nestrypke, could come to the ceremony.

Aug

2

August 1944

Warsaw insurrection becomes a popular Uprising

On a much larger scale it reminded me of what I had seen with Mateczka during the siege of Lwow at the beginning of my war, almost five years earlier. We were becoming a fortress. Deep trenches were dug; pavements were torn up; abandoned tramcars were manhandled into place, then overturned to provide the framework that could be filled with enough earth and rubble to stop a Tiger tank.

Aug

1

August 1944

The Polish Home Army breaks into the open

At the corner of Franciscan and Nowiniarska Streets, I saw a small hunchback holding a sub-machine gun and firing steadily at the German file of cars. The bullets bounded off the ghetto walls. When he saw me, he held out the machine gun and said, “Citizen, you fire a salvo. It is high time you had a go.”