Testimony of Roman Rechnio
HISTORICAL MUSEUM OF THE CAPITAL CITY OF WARSAW
Born on August 2, 1929 in Warsaw
Address during the occupation: 113 Solec Street, apt. 24
[...] bad news came, Powiśle has fallen, the Germans captured the Powiśle power station, the insurgents retreated to Śródmieście and in the morning of September 4, 1944 we have been expelled from homes and were not allowed to take anything. We, the Powiśle residents, were forced to Pruszków to the transit camp. This was a terrible moment, we passed by many graves on squares (200 thousand people died in the Warsaw uprising) and city in flames on our way. In Pruszków the local RGO (Main Civilians' Protection Office) had been distributing food and medicine in the camp, the one at Railway Stock Repair Works (Zakłady Naprawcze Taboru Kolejowego). Horrible scenes took place there, people were looking for their relatives, there were cries and groans of the wounded. The day after that we were segregated by the Germans, my older sister had been taken to the forced labor in Germany and I together with the old and sick parents had been dragged to the freight car and taken by train to the nearby (54 kilometers) town of Sochaczew. There I got to Nowa Wieś in the Rybno district nearby Sochaczew. There "liberation" had found me on 18th of January 1945 and the Polish troops had crossed the frontline. The day after together with my parents we went back to Warsaw. Unfortunately our house had been burnt and we had to look for a shelter in the ruins. And so with difficulty we lived in a tiny kitchen of a ruined building at 46 Sienna Street apt. 7. I, in order to survive and take care of elderly parents, had to earn my living as 14 years old boy.
I had been selling newspapers in ruined Warsaw, at the corner of Marszałkowska and Aleje Jerozolimskie (now there is a signpost and the subway station "Centrum"), I was a screaming boy hired by private horse and truck carriers encouraging people to transport. The horse-carriage transports to the Praga district had been organized first through a pontoon bridge and then by a wooden, so called "high-water" bridge build by the sappers, because all the bridges had been blown up by the Germans.
I yelled: "to Praga, to Targowa, another two ladies and off we go" and to the cars: "to Radom, in the direction of Radom" and in that way I earned money from the carriers.
I also sold newspapers. Easter was coming in the ruined Warsaw. Before the very Easter I was selling the newspapers and yelling: "last newspaper for the Easter, editorial office closed, the editor got drunk and didn't by any paper therefore today we newspapers lack".