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Testimony of Konrad Zienkiewicz


     In August 1944 I was 13 year old and I lived with my mother and my five year older brother at Ojcowska street, house number (at that time) 89. The Germans captured Sadyba on September 2, attacking concentrically from Siekierki, Ursynów and Wilanów. (...) From the side of Wilanów attacking were Wehrmacht infantry units supported by tanks. Immediately after capturing of successive houses civilians were ordered to leave their apartments and, without being able to take anything from their belongings, forced to go towards Wilanów. Sometimes people were thrown out from their houses when shooting and fighting was still taking place there or around nearby houses. My brother and a neighbour (both young men) stayed in a hiding-place, cleverly arranged according to my mother's design under a pile of coke in the cellar.
     We however, my mother and I, had to go and so we have spent the rest of the day as well as the whole night at a casual house. My brother and the neighbour stayed in the hiding-place till the evening and then, without any trouble as well, have come to Wilanów. We met each other on the next day and went back home together. The house was somewhat destroyed by several 75 millimeter tank shells and partly plundered.
     Few people came back to their houses; I don't know why. Anyway, most of the houses, about 90% of them, were empty. German troops advanced quickly and only a small Wehrmacht unit stayed behind in a cooperative house at 1/3 Okrężna street. The commander of the unit issued to my mother a permit allowing us to stay in our own house. (...)
     Our "peaceful vegetation' ended abruptly on November 4. In the morning of that day a unit of German Feldgendarmerie showed up - they wore characteristic crescent-shaped tin badges on their chests. We were ordered to leave the house in 10 minute time. We could take as much of our belongings as we were able to carry on us. The Wehrmacht permit issued to my mother has now been ignored. Some most valuable things we have loaded on an old pram. We have been ordered to wait in the fields between Ojcowska and Morszyńska street, so basically in front of our house. Immediately after the houses were left by their inhabitants, the Germans started throwing in there fire-grenades. They kept moving so from house to house, systematically burning them and throwing out the inhabitants. From the whole of Sadyba around 30 to 50 persons have been gathered. Surrounded by the gendarmes we had to stand there and watch the fires. In our house everything what we had collected there was consumed by fire - valuable books and potatoes, our furniture and vegetables... Our house was on fire. Above its roof we saw fireworks - explosions of concealed ammunition. Across the burning-out cinders we were forced to go back to Wilanów.

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