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Testimony of Jerzy Zenon Zenowicz


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ARCHIVES OF THE "SZARE SZEREGI" ASSOCIATION ("GRAY TROOPS," an underground Polish Scouting movement)

Jerzy Zenon Zenowicz
Born on May 15, 1929 in Warsaw
Son of Piotr and Anna (maiden name Rutkowska)
Address during the occupation: 104 Chmielna Street

     [...] I left the Warsaw Uprising together with my parents on October 1 1944. We have been ordered to walk towards the Warsaw West railway station, from where we have been transported in a cargo train to Ursus, then again forced to walk till Pruszków. From Pruszków we have been taken by train to Breslau-Bürgwaide, and finally to Breslau-Nikolaito (Wrocław-Mikołajów), to the "Lichman Hofman Werke A.G." railway works. 
     In Germany I worked in the transport sector, distributing coffe and soup in kettles to other Poles engaged in various operations in the works. Once, on October 16, 1944, I went to the main railway station in Wrocław to exchange my "Cracow money" (i.e. currency used in the General Gouvernement) to German marks. When leaving the exchange office I was approached by a German civilian, who asked for my "Ausweis" (identification paper). As I had only my Warsaw school ID on me, I have been arrested. I have been led to the imprisonment cell of the Bahnschutz Polizei (railway police), while during the night I have been hand-cuffed and taken to a big prison of the Kriminal Polizei der Stadt Breslau (criminal police of the city of Wrocław). There, having gone through many various troubles, I ended up in a cell number 212, two and half meters under the earth level.
     I was suspected of having run away from a labor place in Germany; there was no way to convince the police that I was just exchanging the money, that my parents were here - my mother in the camp and father in a TB patients' hospital in Breslau-Odertor.
     There were six people in the cell: two Japanese men (imprisoned for having sexual relations with German women), two French (the same cause), one Pole (imrisoned for escaping from Germany), one Russian (theft of food) and I. Thanks to the Russian offensive I was released from the prison on January 17, 1945 and sent to the camp, from where, together with my parents, we have been evacuated to the interior of Germany. 
     On our way we have survived several carpet-bombings executed each time by 900-1200 American and British four-motor airplanes. We have been moved subsequently to Ostreich, Malnitz, the 371st Arbeits Komando (labour commando) in the disctrict of Kronach (my number was 105835) and from there back to Malnitz, where we have been lilberated by British troops on May 4, 1945.

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  The project is implemented by the Museum of Warsaw in cooperation with the State Archives of City of Warsaw, and the Niedersachsische Gedenkstatten Foundation