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Testimony of Idalia Olszewska-Klemińska


The uprising had already ended, and as a result, the efforts to cross the Vistula also ended.
When everything had calmed down, Mom and I decided to return. On foot - it was around 10 kilometers - through fields, through some potato fields... Bullets were flying by, they were shooting, so we laid down in the furrows, in those potato fields, and when everything quieted down, we got up again, and moved on again... Mother never left my side. People even said: "Ma'am, go on your own. Leave her with us. Ma'am, you'll check what's happening there, and then you'll return for her." But my mother did not want to leave me.
You were always together?
Always. And we returned home. The apartment building was empty. That is - it was not empty because some Russians were already based there...
So, soldiers were based in the apartment building?
Yes, but not in our apartment because it was rather small, but on the second floor in a large apartment. But there was nothing in our apartment anymore. There was absolutely nothing there - not a single spoon, not a single plate... Everything had been taken. Everything - not a single quilt, not a single pillow, nothing, absolutely nothing. During the whole war I did not suffer from hunger because Mom or good people always helped somehow; only then did we feel that we were horribly hungry, that we did not have anything to eat. I remember that I would walk around the kitchen, searching in the cupboard, in the drawers, to see if there were any crumbs of bread. But later, people started arriving again...
Did any sort of memento survive in the apartment?
We found photographs of our parents at their wedding, trampled on the floor. A few photographs. Besides that, nothing.
And those photographs exist to this day?
Yes, just as trampled as they were back then.
     Those soldiers were stationing there; it is a pity to even describe how they behaved. Like wild. There was a bathroom there, but they did not relieve themselves there - although it is true that there probably was no water because it was all destroyed - they simply relieved themselves in the rooms. It was something monstrous. I was simply scared of those people. They drank all the time; they were so noisy. And we were alone...
How did they behave in relation to the locals? Were there any serious incidents?
There was one serious incident. The son of the Volksdeutsche (ethnic German) found out from someone where we were, where we lived, and he came to our place. He came, as frightened as an animal. And I remember that Mother gave him something to eat. And then they came by - and they took him away... And they shot him. That kid.
Someone informed on him earlier, right?
That is what I suspect, because how else would it be known that he had come to our place? He had the feeling, that since we were living at his father's place... that maybe we would help him somehow. Mother's conscience would not allow her to say, "Get out of here." It is good that they did not do anything bad to us for it. For that German. Because they said that he was a German...
And your Mom also had encounters with soldiers from Berling's Army?
Yes. Later, there were no Russian soldiers in that house, only Polish soldiers were there. And among those Polish soldiers, there was a group from the Home Army. They were dressed differently. They did not carry weapons on them. They did not have weapons. I think I remember correctly: they were in these gray uniforms. But generally, they were different people. And they helped us a little - that is Mom and me. Some wood; after all, there was no fuel... We did not have anything. And winter was already approaching. After all, it was already late autumn. We had to arrange something for ourselves. And they helped us a bit. I also remember how badly they were treated by those Russians. But one day, they were no longer there. I do not know what happened to them...
     It was a difficult winter. We had nothing in the apartment - but good people were among us, good people who brought us things if they had enough - plates or spoons, quilts or feather beds. Mom would sew something for them in return... And in this way, we got ourselves some extra clothes, some things - thanks to Mom's work. But I remember that people also fed me. In fact, that family with the four children, I remember they prepared soup, and it was extremely tasty...
     I remember that they prepared some barley soup with oil. Now I cannot even imagine eating such a thing, but at the time it was so delicious... There simply were no ingredients. We did not have anywhere to get them from. Only later, after some time, when there were bazaars, but that was not immediate.


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