Interview with professor Andrzej Garlicki
Warsaw, 14 .05. 2007
Interviewer: Stanisław Maliszewski
Before the war I lived with my parents on Chmielna Street that is in the center of Warsaw. But frankly speaking I don't remember much - practically nothing. In 1939 my father, who was a lawyer was drafted as lieutenant and after the September campaign found himself in the oflag (German camp for higher-rank POWs). At that time my mother and I moved to Żoliborz (northern part of Warsaw) to stay with my grandparents on the mother side and her three or four year younger sister. This was a big four room apartment which my grandfather bought before the war with two really large rooms. My grandfather was a judge. The first thing I do remember is when we moved to my grandparents' place.
That is to say you do remember the removal?
I do remember when we walked from Chmielna Street because there was no public transport. And I do remember that we crossed Krasińskich Square where under the arcades of the Supreme Court lay a dead horse which impressed me immensely. That is why I do remember it.
From then on we continued to live in Żoliborz and never came back to Chmielna Street. Thus all my childhood which I remember was related to Żoliborz. Our economic situation was difficult, but not drastically difficult. My mother found a job - earlier she worked as a clerk but frankly speaking she had no qualifications. However, thanks to some acquaintances she was employed as a clerk in the Warsaw Courts. My aunt was a qualified nurse and worked in a medical center located approximately in the area of the present Hala Żoliborska (shopping center) - now this area looks completely different but this medical center was on Stołeczna (which already existed but looked different) and Marymoncka Streets or more strictly on Słowacki Street. I do remember it well as I was spending time there when my mother went to work. My aunt used to take me there and I used to play in the thicket - in summer it was very nice.
My grandfather worked as a penal judge but only part-time. Courts for ordinary criminal offences did exist and that's where he was active. Of course, my grandmother did not work, because she never worked. Thus our financial situation was so-so but not too bad and I do not remember having suffered hunger or shortage of any kind during the whole German occupation excepting the Uprising.
This was an intelligentsia family whose financial status undoubtedly had lowered but not to the point of poverty or misery, the living conditions remained adequate. It suffices to say that all the time my grandparents had a servant employed since pre-war times. She must have been 30 - 40 years old although for a child everybody over 15 seems old. But she must have been of that age. She came from the area of Poznań and stayed with my grandparents throughout the German occupation. I do not know how she was paid, if she was paid at all - she was treated like a member of the family... Nevertheless this points to a certain standard of our family life.
This is where I spent all my childhood. Probably in 1940 - but I am not sure about it - I was sent to the kindergarten situated at the back of the "Tęcza" cinema. This kindergarten was built by WSM (Warsaw Housing Cooperative) mainly for children of the cooperative members. It was a one-storey barrack not too big but adequate: glazed, modern, nice surrounded by rather small play grounds. I very much liked that kindergarten. This is where my early friendships began with people such as the present playwright and writer Jarosław Abramow, Krzysztof Pomian, Krysia Baranowska, Andrzej Krzysztof Wróblewski with whom I continue to maintain friendly contacts and Marek Nowicki, film director and cameraman... This was not a big kindergarten and we were very happy there. The kindergarten was secular as WSM (Warsaw Housing Cooperative) was secular so there were no priests or religion teachers. It was a very modern kindergarten - I remember, for example, that rhythmic and dancing classes were conducted by Ms. Maria Biman - to be credited with introducing rhythmic in Poland who after the war broadcasted rhythmic classes on the Polish Radio. In any case the group of people who took care of us belonged to the typical Żoliborz intelligentsia. I do not remember any conflicts in this kindergarten or quarrels - sometimes perhaps squabbles just like kids, but the atmosphere was very friendly.
Later, probably in 1942, I was enrolled to the underground school - sounds proud - of Maria Ostaszewska which was located on Kniaźnin Street in the vicinity of Wilson Square. The school was in a villa which still exists and we were told not to mention the school to anybody as in theory the school was clandestine. But I think that for the lower grades it had a status of a kindergarten which was then permitted; in any case we were not very scared. I used to walk to school as from Słowacki Street one could take a shortcut through Lelewel Square - where the town-hall stands today - as then the area was not built-up. And I remember that probably in 1943 or 1944 I was met by a German patrol. Must have been gendarmerie as they had metal plaquette on their breast. I was carrying some copybooks but they behaved very friendly. They even offered sweets but I told them that that I don't accept anything from the Germans. They must have spoken Polish, otherwise we could not understand each other. In any case I remember how proudly and haughty I behaved.
So you did not accept the sweets?
No, not from the Germans. Later I regretted it. I am telling you this not to show how brave I was but there must have been something peculiar about this patrol and this school that in fact I was not afraid and could afford to behave like this. Later, when I was in Kielce I was already scared.
I think that teaching in this school must have been on a high level because when I found myself in Kielce after the Uprising I jumped one grade - I had to pass an exam and than I jumped one grade as my level of knowledge was simply higher than that of the kids from the primary school in Kielce.
The beginning of the Uprising. I remember coming home from school - probably at 2 or 2:30 p.m. (my estimate now is that of a historian) and either my grandmother or Rózia (the servant) asked me to buy one or two kilos of potatoes from the stand on the opposite side of Słowacki Street. So I went to buy these potatoes but on the street next to the stand stood a tank which did not particularly surprise me. As a matter of fact we did not see tanks in Warsaw, but I found nothing special in it and so I crawled under the barrel and bought the potatoes. And when I was coming back the tank fired a shot from that barrel somewhere and there was a terrible noise and I fell down and the potatoes scattered over the street - but I remember having gathered the potatoes so I couldn't have been that much scared. Then nothing else happened nor did these Germans shoot any more. I carried the potatoes home. Soon after that shoots could be heard - this was when the Germans discovered the ammunition dump near my kindergarten in the boiler-room on Suzin Street.
In Żoliborz the Uprising broke out earliest...
It began just then - when the Germans discovered the ammunition dump and the insurgents started to shoot, to defend themselves. It was 3 p.m. thus two hours earlier. But the Germans must have known already hence the tank appeared in the street.
Besides, this first day of the Uprising has registered in my memory yet for another rather personal reason. In my grandparents' room stood a small approximately one and a half meter high cabinet, unfortunately locked, where all sorts of tidbits were kept. From time to time (once in a few months I presume) we used to get a parcel from the Portuguese Red Cross. My father in the oflag registered my grandfather's address with the German Red Cross which subsequently was passed to the Portuguese Red Cross which, as Portugal was a neutral country could and did send parcels to families of the POWs. This was possible thanks to the International Red Cross. These parcels were rather infrequent but very cleverly assembled and contained unobtainable goods such as coffee, tea, sardines... But also all sorts of tidbits - chocolate, figs and other delicacies.
Which you were most interested in ...
Yes, but they were handed out very reluctantly only one piece a time as my grandmother kept saying that they should be kept for harder times. And in a sense I was waiting for the hard times, I wanted them to come so I could come at these goodies. And these harder times did come notable by the fact that one of the very first tank shots in Żoliborz hit our apartment on Słowacki Street, just the cabinet smashing it to splinters. So it came to nothing - everything was shattered. That is how I realized that hard times must not always be pleasant. And I learned once for lifetime that one should not save too much goods for the future.
Fairly soon we left this apartment as it was on the third floor and the flying airplanes seemed dangerous. At that time Żoliborz was hardly bombed but the shooting and all that was very upsetting and we moved to the basement. Not to our basement but to that on Krechowiecka on the corner of Słowacki Street. There was a big teacher house built in a quadrangle with an inside yard closed from all sides which had two assets. Firstly, it housed a hospital where my aunt worked and also my mother helped out. This was the first and main asset - she did not have to go outside. There was a kind of trench dug between the two houses but all this was not too safe. Secondly, there was a well which we did not have on 32 Słowacki Street - therefore water was at hand.
Water was a major issue during the Uprising....
Yes, but there was also a dangerous side to it because the Germans knew about the well. And if our own house was not much bombed, the teacher house - probably because of the hospital and because of the well - was under fire from mine-throwers that is high-trajectory missiles which caused much damage. Yes, this is where the Germans really hit and people were killed at this well. There were always queues.
As the general atmosphere was very nervous, during the bombardment people came up with the idea that somebody is giving signals to the Germans to make them shoot. And they caught a couple who was hiding in the upper floors of the house where practically nobody lived any more as it was really dangerous. That is where the couple was found. Nobody knew them. Today I think that these could have been Jews who were afraid of Poles and were therefore hiding. They were accused - allegedly someone had seen them giving signals with a mirror, which, of course, could be more imagination than truth. And they were led somewhere and, as far as I know, shot. But not under the eyes of the people so I have not seen it. In any case, I am just talking about this psychosis. As I see it today they could not heave been Germans, as giving signals with a mirror to the mine-throwers wouldn't make any sense.
The fact that they were hiding suggests they were rather Jews. Because relatively many Jews were hiding in Żoliborz as before the war the intelligentsia there was of leftist orientation, rarely nationalistic and often Poles living in this part of Warsaw were hiding Jews.
And most probably, this is what I think today, the owners of the apartment could have been cut off in the city center and these people didn't know where to go and were afraid to be given away. Just such a complex.
And what is the most important thing from the time of the Uprising that you as a child have stored in your memory?
The bombardment. But this was in September when the bombardment of Żoliborz had started. Because this was really terrifying. Air bombardments, but also these "cows" (launchers rocket missile) or "cupboards" (launchers rocket missile) as we used to call them - that is these coupled rockets which, before explosion produced this characteristic sound. This was an extremely powerful missile which destroyed every building it hit. And air bombardments.
I remember being the eye-witness, and that impressed me immensely, of some bombs - most certainly not "cupboards" as this would not surprise me, rather artillery fire which was also directed at Żoliborz - falling on the so called "szklany dom" (glass house) on Mickiewicz Street. This is down Krechowiecka Street, such a modern pre-war house that under my eyes was hit and folded together. Just like a house of cards. Because it was a modern house, not fitted... with rather thin walls, lots of glass - and all that collapsed. This view of the folding house I do remember.
But above all I was afraid of bombardments. This really was terrifying. I remember one such bombardment which was during the day - they bombed only in the daytime - the bombs were falling just near the Krechowiecka Street approximately in the area of the present theater, close to the eighth colony that is very near. And the explosion was horrifying and such a billow of dust. Nothing could be seen, only that dust, brick dust and it covered all the basement, filled it. And it looked like we were being hit. Therefore I remember to have been scared to death.
And how did you remember the insurgents themselves?
I do remember the insurgents as very nice boys who treated the stripling very decently. As a hobby I at that time collected misfires - not mine-thrower misfires because I was scared, but there was quite a lot of gun ammunition which they used. As the ammunition used by the insurgents was very often inadequately stored or came from drops, always something was bent or otherwise damaged so often it happened that the fire-pin stroke but the shell did not explode. This was troublesome because something got plugged and it had to be removed sometimes easily but sometimes with difficulty. But the shell was useless. So I was begging for these shells and they gladly gave them to me.
Our coexistence was very friendly. I did not feel any fear that there were shots, this didn't register with me, probably I was too stupid - I was such a boy so everything was fun to me. However, I do remember one thing that impressed me deeply. In August there was an attempt to break through from Żoliborz to Stare Miasto (Old Town).
Even two attempts, through Dworzec Gdański (Gdańsk Railway Station)...
Through Dworzec Gdański (Gdańsk Railway Station), yes. These troops were, so to say, not our troops, but they came from Kampinos (Forest south of Warsaw). They came some time around noon and stayed late practically till nightfall. These boys were excellently armed, but with no shooting experience because they were not used to street fighting - but very joyful and in general so brave, as I remember it. And later I saw them when they came back. Decimated, "tattered", dirty and totally despaired.
Because this was a horrible defeat. The biggest disaster in Żoliborz, just these two night attacks - the night of the 20th on 21st of August and then the following night....
Yes. And this is just what I remember. It could be that those whom I saw coming back were already after the second attack. Anyway, this was a total shock - a feeling of defeat.
I also do remember, that in time supplies became more and more short. The first problem was water, but with this well we somehow managed - but food was getting increasingly scarce. But despite everything Żolibiorz and perhaps Mokotów (southern part of Warsaw) were better off than the other quarters because it had arable land.
Not only. Also all lawns in Żoliborz - and there were lots of lawns in the backyards and on the streets - have been changed into arable land. Potatoes were grown preferably as they were the easiest to guard, but also tomatoes which one could snitch. I did it myself.
This was the advantage over the city center. Besides, sometime end-August (I do not remember the exact date any more) when fighting for the gas school called "Gazówka" located in Gdańska Street and held by the Germans the insurgents seized the nearby sugar works. I do not recall what sort of goods these works produced, but they had large amounts of molasses which is a half-product in the production of sugar. We didn't get any sugar but we had that molasses the consistency of which is close to honey, very sweet, delicious. And we seized whole cans of this molasses which is of high energetic value and thus made life easier.
This was then the replacement of the sweets you had lost on the 1st of August....
Yes. Anyway I remember that food was becoming increasingly scarce because households and stores were running out of provisions. Such things as flour for example - if flour runs out there is nothing you can do, if there is no grain there is no flour. Rice of course was not available at that time. So the situation was worse and worse actually almost hunger, perhaps not famine in the biological sense, but that piercing feeling of hunger. You keep thinking of it all the time.
On the 30th of September Żoliborz capitulated. How do you recall the moment when you left home, in that case this basement?
By that time we had already moved from the teachers' house to our old house because it was too dangerous there. And we lived in the basement of our old house.
At the very end of the fighting in Żoliborz?
Yes. I remember how about the 20th of September we were staying in the basement and the fire became stronger and stronger - and suddenly a German was standing somewhere upstairs but we could not see him. He started yelling and ordered us to come out. My family had an excellent command of German so we understood him without any problem. And we came out. Everybody took some belongings - I had a small haversack with my treasures. We were totally unprepared for such an evacuation and people were grabbing the weirdest things. Bear in mind that it was end-September, still quite warm so nobody was taking fur coats or other heavy coats.
It was thus different from the city center when people had time to prepare themselves for the exodus?
Yes. We had absolutely no time. And I remember that they led us quickly on Krechowiecka Street which is so wide - and I saw the storming German troops. Such a film cadre that registered deeply in my memory: they were jumping out from ground-floor apartments on Krechowiecka Street of this teachers' house, the ground-floor was high - and like on films these Germans armed with Schmeissers, in helmets jumping over fairly high balconies, very deftly. In our direction. Because our house was already evacuated but others were still resisting.
Later we were led on Słowacki and then through Suzin to Krasiński Street, in that direction. And I recall that as we were walking there we actually did not feel any fear. We were guarded by Germans, German troops and were not that much afraid. But we were somehow afraid of the insurgents who were shooting - we were most scared when they shot at these Germans who convoyed us because it could end in disaster.
So this was still before the capitulation of Żoliborz?
Before, yes. We were leaving while the fighting was still going on. I think that fighting was drawing to an end - because all that shooting was drawing to an end - when we more or less reached the seat of the Nuns of the Resurrection, a little further on, that is Krasiński Street close to the allotments.
In any case, I think there was also a change in the people who were leading us - from front units to more police-based units. And I remember that - today I know that they were from Kamiński's brigade - members of the Russian National Liberation Army (RONA) were there. At the time we called all of them "własowcy" ("vlasovists") without drawing distinctions; but there were no "własowcy" .
And I remember that one of the members of RONA asked my mother something; and she said something back to him. My grandparents, my aunt, and my mother all spoke well Russian because Grandpa was a tsarist judge; it was, if one can say so, his muttersprache (mother tongue), besides the Polish language. They spoke very well Russian, with an accent. So well so that the member of RONA started talking to my mom, and afterward he took a metal comb and gave it to her, and said: "This will be useful, when there are lice." And it really was useful. He gave it to her as a gift; he did not take any of our watches...
That is, he was not aggressive; he did not order you to take off your watches; and on top of that, he gave you a comb?
No, he was not. But he warned us that further on, they could be aggressive and that they rape women - which did not mean anything to me at the time, but I understood that they could be aggressive. No, he simply met someone who spoke very well in Russian, and he himself was Russian or Belarussian. And my family members spoke as if they were Russians - not as if it was their second language; in Mother's case, it was her childhood language...
Later they took us to Dworzec Zachodni (West Railway Station). I imagine that we went along today's Armia Krajowa (Home Army) route, more or less - we had to be somewhere in that area; I do not remember everything. But I do remember that we were walking all the time; we did not stop anywhere for the night; there was nothing along the way. They were giving out water...
And there they loaded us into some wagons. I do not remember the wagons, but I think they had to be freight wagons. And they took us to Pruszków, to that camp. I remember the halls; they were so huge, crowded, with a concrete floor and some straw thrown around. We found a little bit of space and we sat there.
And then I decided to look through my treasures. So, I opened my haversack and I began to take out all of those cartridges, duds, which I had collected. Those people almost lynched me. Now I understand their reaction because it is true that if the Germans had come in and found these cartridges, there was a big chance that they would shoot us all - because it would not work to explain that some stupid little shit had collected them. And not only did they take the cartridges away from me; it was also important to get rid of them entirely. So they threw them into some sewer.
You caused a lot of trouble.
Yes. They yelled at me... I was rather unpopular there.
Other fragments of my memories from Pruszków are: firstly - they gave us bread, which we had not seen in a rather long time, and this bread was good; it was bread that was handed out not by the Germans but by the Central Welfare Council; they would deliver it from carts... They also gave us something hot to eat, but I do not remember what it was - maybe it was soup, or tea, or something else. In any case, I remember that we ate our fill. And even until today, I remember that the bread was so crispy; it had a crispy crust; it was fresh - of course it did not come with any spreads, but it was very good.
They kept us there for one or two more days, and then they led us to the railway platforms, where a selection took place. It was very superficial - they pulled out all the people who they thought suited work in Germany: young men - who were not numerous because they generally left with Home Army units - and young women without children. I, as a child, was very valuable - my mom saved us without any problems. But my aunt, who was single, and was around 40 or 50 years old at the time... She was athletic; before the war she would boat, yes, so she was very well-suited for the physical labor, and they took her to the second group. And I remember that then Grandma or Grandpa - using some jewelry that they had - bought her from the Germans. Because those Germans were rather depraved.
Then they loaded us into wagons - uncovered wagons, which I remember very well because a small rain was falling; it was drizzling; it was cold. The trains moved. They drove us to Jędrzejów. It took a long time, because of course, German trains had right of way...
In Jędrzejów the train stopped and they ordered us to get out - and they said, "Go on your way." And no one was guarding us anymore, and peasant wagons were already standing around - today, as a historian I know that the Germans had ordered these wagons to arrive; but maybe some of them came voluntarily.
Aid was organized also by the Central Welfare Council...
Yes. They provided horse carts which would take us to town. The railway station in Jędrzejów lies at a distance from the town and we got on a cart that took us to an unknown family where we found shelter. There we spent a few days and witnesses an air raid on Jędrzejów. It happened that at night we heard the wailing of a siren, there was alarm and we heard airplanes and then one or two bombs fell - perhaps accidental, perhaps Jędrzejów was not the real target.
Firstly, we jumped from the frying-pan into the fire, and secondly we turned out to be experts as we ordered the whole family to quickly escape to the fields. And because somewhere a bomb hit a house and killed everybody we received high appreciation from our hosts.
But there was nothing to do for us because Jędrzejów is a small a small town and the aid from the Central Welfare Council was insufficient. Somehow my family established contact with my aunt on my father's side, his sister who turned out to be staying in Kielce. So we moved to Kielce to Silniczna Street on a small rived called Silniczna, to a typical slums house where we stayed till the liberation. I went to school there just jumping to grades... I think to the fifth grade.
And in this school there were many kids from Warsaw, your age?
I don't think so, not then. And besides I was very independent, so I differed much from the locals. But later, I would go to school rather rarely, that is - I would go to the school, but my main activity was providing for my family since all possibilities for earning money had come to an end. Because - Grandpa, as a judge, he was not useful for anything in Kielce. Grandma was not useful for anything because she had never worked. Mom had no chance of finding a means of earning money in Kielce. My aunt would go places, give medical shots to people; that is how she earned a little bit of money. And I became the main person who provided for the family. I got a job selling postcards for the post office and I was a door-to-door salesman - I would go from house to house and sell soap. That soap, they would buy it from me out of mercy because I looked like a poor child who was not eating enough - I do not suppose that they needed the soap very much. But I also tried not to exploit their mercy, and so I did not go back to the same address more often than once per month; I had many of these addresses. I mainly sold those postcards and cigarettes that were made at home using a specific kind of machine (which was rather common before the war). And I earned very good money.
When I think about this today, I realize that I have never had such a feeling of wealth as I did back then. Because at that time, my needs, my dreams were limited to stopping by a bakery as I was heading home - it was on the way - and buying myself one or two cookies and eating them. And then I felt completely fulfilled, and I would give the rest of the money to my parents with pleasure. Much later, when I was making good money my dreams remained rather excessive - lets say... a better car, better holidays.
The best money came my way when somebody gave me, I do not recall precisely, a set of postcards with the Polish Eagle kept since pre-war times. And was I preying on this these patriotic feelings... because I immediately raised the price, I think ten times, and was selling them near the post-office building. Once the Germans chased me away, a kind of patrol, they gave me a good thrashing, but mainly for disturbing the public order as the Germans did not like the street trade.
And so we survived in Kielce till 1945, till January when we again had to escape to the basement. Because we already knew that if fighting comes it is safer not to stay upstairs. Fighting, shooting - all that was very short, a few hours, half a day. The Red Army entered. The Germans escaped....
And how do you recall the entrance of the Russian soldiers?
Well, of course. I do remember this very well because, after all, we treated them as soldiers-liberators from the Germans. Most of all we were afraid of the Germans because, after all, the Germans were murdering people and everybody saw it. I remember still during the occupation having seen when Germans were executing a group of people... I just knew who the Germans were whereas the Russians did not evoke fear.
These front troops behaved decently. Although I suffered a loss because they immediately took away by bike. Why the Russian soldier would take away my bike I did not know - this was a child's bike. Nevertheless he did take it away. But there were no conflicts. We were engaged rather in plundering what the Germans had left behind. I remember that there were some damaged tanks and climbed into these tanks and pulled out the tank missiles and out of them got the powder. This was pretty dangerous but somehow nobody got hurt. On top of that we found some missiles with trotyl - trotyl was a very valuable trophy as it proved an excellent fuel for heating, like coal. If only all that did not get clogged it did not explode but burned just like powder would not explode. So this trotyl in pieces was very welcome by housewives.
Soon after the Russians had entered my aunt went to Warsaw to see what was left. I do not remember her coming back, she somehow let us know we should move. And sometime in March, February - March we returned to Żoliborz, to our apartment on Słowacki Street which was already partly occupied and we managed to retrieve only two rooms....
Some other tenants had moved in?
Yes. Only in Żoliborz these other tenants - they were a nasty issue because in Marymont (northern part of Warsaw) and around the Feliński Street there was an accumulation of barracks, lodging for the unemployed the poor and the misfits - we used to call them "barrackers". In Marymont there were also typical country cottages (one or two are still standing there today). During the Uprising all that was burnt down because it was made of wood and the people had no chance to find lodging. If in the city center families which moved into empty apartments most often lived before in the vicinity, such burgher families, in Żoliborz these wild tenants were to large extent these misfits, just those "barrackers". Hence troubles aroused immediately. As for ourselves we were relatively lucky with our tenants and it was not too bad.
And later, when my father came back from the oflag all the family had been given an apartment in WSM. I suspect that my father was a member of WSM before the war. In 1945 or 1946 we moved to the apartment in WSM, in the fifth colony.
And how did the wartime experience affect your psyche? Were you afterwards afraid of the sound of airplanes, explosions - you mentioned the bombardment in Żoliborz - did you suffer from nightmares?
No. This may evidence my poor sensibility but no, I don't remember anything of that sort.
A significant element of this exodus and all that were the first months, the summer of 1945 - because this was the time of exhumation in Warsaw. And one had to live and endure this horrible stench of decomposing corpses...
And one could see it -after all these corpses were lying everywhere. I recall that this did not arouse any horror in me - I was accustomed to it. Only that horrifying stench - not to the stench. But later I never had any nightmares or fears, nor was I afraid of thunderstorm...
And do you bear any resentment against the Germans, fear of them?
Let me put it this way - The first time I went to the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) I think it was 1957. I remember that the train arrived at the station - it was in Lipsk, it was a covered station - and it was empty, very early in the morning. I was standing by the window in the corridor and I saw that a patrol was walking with a dog, one of those with the shields, with everything. I was sleepy, and I became so terrified that I jumped onto the other side of that train, and I started to run away. But I quickly realized that it was a peaceful patrol.
Germans in uniforms, who I would see later in Lipsk or in the German Democratic Republic, would elicit in me a kind of reaction, to put it mildly, of animosity - because officials of the German Democratic Republic walked around in exactly the same uniforms...
However, relationships with Germans, after the war - it is difficult to say because I did not have contact with Germans until almost the end of the "50's. After all, we lived in a closed-off country until 1956. I remember that in 1955, when some Germans came for a festival, I did not feel any resistance in relationship to them - but they were young people, my peers...
No, I had no such traumatic experience.