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Testimony of Wiktoria Adamus


     I was born in December 1937 in Warsaw on 11 Królewska Street - I was given the names Wiktoria Bogumiła, but I was called simply Boba or Bobusia. I was seven years old during the Warsaw Uprising.
     One day I heard a banging on the gate - the Germans were demanding to come in - the housekeeper opened the gate. The Germans assured everyone that the shelter was not covered in spilled gas, and they wanted to pack us all back in there, but no one wanted to go in there, so they drove us out onto the street called Krakowskie Przedmieście, closer to the Church of the Nuns of the Visitation (kościół Wizytek). A crowd already stood there - I do not know how many people, but the crowd probably filled up all of Krakowskie Przedmieście, from the Church of the Nuns of the Visitation to the Church of the Holy Cross (kościoł Świętego Krzyża). I still remember tanks from the end where the Church of the Nuns of the Visitation stands and from the opposite end. The tank on the side of the Church of the Nuns of the Visitation was set on fire by participants of the uprising. This created great confusion. The Germans were disoriented. Mother grabbed me and my nine-year-old brother Zenek by the hand and started running away. We turned onto Królewska Street. The Germans started shooting at us from Number 1 on that street, from the fourth floor, but we managed to run into the ruins. Then - I do not even know when - a rather large group of people joined us, around 20-30 people. We headed in the direction of what is presently called Victory Plaza (Plac Zwycięstwa) and then to Saskiego Garden. There Ukrainian gangs were operating, serving the Germans. Grenades were thrown at us, we were shot at, we were crawling. Finally, more importantly, they reached our group and started yelling, who has a watch, a ring - they looted everything; they were taking even gold teeth; they knocked them out of the mouths of people. Tired and dirty, we reached Hala Mirowska. There, the Ukrainians who were working for the Germans ordered us to abandon all our belongings, bags, etc. They pulled my mother out of the ranks - she was declared a hostage. I do not remember the date. I ran up to my mother, and crying, I cuddled up to her clothes, but some Ukrainian immediately pointed his gun at me and he was just about to shoot, when I was pulled into the crowd. Someone covered my mouth so that I would not scream. In anger, he shot over us and ordered us to run forward. We ran with all of our might, all of us - small and large. Then there was dust, smoke, one house falling - one, two. Dust, eyes watering from the smoke, suffocation. Hungry, thirsty, almost on all fours, we were crawling under a wall, in order to reach the archway of any building. Along the way, a soldier in a German uniform beckoned to me that I should come up to them - it would be necessary to cross the street - hesitation ensued. Would I reach them... But he showed me a slice of bread - my neighbor, Mrs. Czugalińska, ordered me to go, saying: "Go, we are all hungry. He will give you a slice of bread, and that is good." I walked or rather crawled - I received a can of food and a quarter of a loaf of bread. This constituted a meal for ten people. This happened in Wola (a neighborhood in Warsaw), but I do not remember the place or the street name. During the night, we slept in the archway, but sometimes my brother and I went out to see the bullets flying. One night, my brother was sleeping fitfully, and in the early morning hours, sometime around 4am, he grabbed my arm as he said in a raised tone: "It makes no difference where we die, but better outside than in this stinking archway." I went with him, against my will, and the other three people went too. Mrs. Czugalińska said: "The damn puppies are squirming around." After that, I remember darkness... I woke up in a first aid location. I was on one table and on another table there was a man who was having a bullet removed from his back. As we were walking out of the archway, the entire house, which had mines in it, collapsed, and the people who were at the edge of the archway were propelled by the momentum of the crash, but the rest remained under the rubble. At night, a woman gave birth to a child. I know that the child was saved, but the mother was not. 

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