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Testimony of Wacława Połomska


     On February 2, the camp in Grupa was shelled by the artillery. Even this accident happened: one of the shells landed in our barrack and badly wounded five people. Among other things it tore off the foot of Ms. Jabłonka's son. During this time, we took shelter in bunkers, where we stayed for a few days. Nearby, the front rumbled. But the Germans appeared again, and around February 10 they rushed us in the direction of Świecie. In the early evening, the line of people stopped in a village nearby a forest. At night, in the area of this village, a frightening shooting exploded. The glass flew out of the windows. At one point, a very young Russian soldier - almost a child - came into the home where we were staying, and after him came a second soldier who was older than him. Even though we heard shooting all around us, I felt that liberation had come, that German control had ended. The Russian soldiers asked if there were German soldiers in the house and they became interested in a man who was with us. He was an Italian prisoner named Ben Rocco, who had mixed into the crowd of people and walked with us. The Russian soldiers wanted to take him, but we somehow explained to them that he was not a German but an Italian prisoner. So, he was left in peace. 
     In the morning, the Russians ordered us to leave the village and head in the direction of Bydgoszcz. In the forest by the village and on the road there were many corpses of German soldiers. Passing by the corpses, we made our way in the direction of Świecie, together with the others. 
     Before Bydgoszcz, we stopped in some village for the night. Our host, who had been a farm-hand for Germans and who now occupied their household, treated us very warmly. The host killed a pig and allowed us to eat our fill. But the good mood was disturbed by an unfortunate accident, which happened to a young boy, the brother of the host. While playing with the fuse of a grenade, he caused an explosion. A finger was torn off from the boy's hand. Then I ran onto the road and stopped Polish soldiers, who quickly took the boy to the hospital in Bydgoszcz.  
     We reached Bydgoszcz without obstacles. Only my legs hurt because I walked the whole way from Grupa in clogs. In Bydgoszcz, on the bridge, an army patrol was checking everyone's documents. Ben was walking with us. I do not know why, but at this point, Ben decided not to approach the patrol and he separated from us. We have not met him since.
     From Bydgoszcz we reached Grodzisk via freight train. We stopped in Milanówek and stayed with relatives. There we found out that my uncle Władysław Mucek's house on Kawcza Street had been saved. So we headed in its direction. From Warsaw West Station, on foot through a terribly ruined Warsaw and across the bridge on the Vistula by Karowa Street, we reached Grochów at the end of February or at the beginning of March. 
     After many months of wandering and awful experiences, we returned to Warsaw. Our house did not exist anymore, but Warsaw was free, the city that is my home.

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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