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Testimony of Jerzy Uldanowicz


     Moving along the route that was delineated by German posts, that is along Chłodna and Wolska Streets, we reached - along with a gradually growing line of people who were being banished - the Church of Saint Stanisław (Kościół świętego Stanisława) on Wolska Street, where there was one of the main gathering points for people who were being banished from the city. We stayed there for a few hours, among the crowd which filled the inside of the church and the churchyard. 
     Next, we were made to form a tighter line that was more closely monitored, and we were rushed down Bema Street into the area of West Station (Dworzec Zachodni), where we were commanded to enter uncovered freight wagons ("węglarki"), and soon thereafter the train moved, in order to quickly reach Pruszków, next to the railway maintenance and repair shops, where a transit camp had been created. Dusk fell. We were rushed into one of the halls, which was full of grease and water standing especially in the ditches that were between the railway tracks. With a dramatic lack of space, in considerable noise and cold, we spent the night on the damp concrete.
     The next day - October 8 - before noon we got our first meal since setting out from our homes (and our only meal during the 48-hour journey from our home to the transit camp that we went to after Pruszków). A carriage appeared with a cauldron full of soup, which was poured into containers that were stretched forward simultaneously by hundreds of hands. Only some people managed to get a bit of soup, which was nearly poured on the heads of people crowding around.
     In the afternoon, one of the most dramatic moments of my life took place - segregation. We were made to form a very long line, most often walking with family, and so in threes, fours, fives, we approached a group of Germans who were standing together, one of whom - in uniform - carried out instant assessments, "roughly" ("na oko"), with regard to each person, and then with the wave of a hand, directed each person to one of three clearly marked-off sections of the huge square.
     This small motion of the hand in fact decided about matters of life and death, since from one of the sections on the square, the banished people were taken to railway transports that would head to various rural territories in the General Government; while from the second and third sections, people were taken to places of forced labor or to concentration camps.      
     I will not undertake describing in detail the tragic scenes which played out during the segregation - those who went through it generally were already then aware of its goals. Every now and then, Germans separated - by force - parents from children, husbands from wives, the healthy from those who were clearly sick or weak members of the family. In most cases these were the last living moments of the banished people of Warsaw to see their loved ones.  
     As a result of this segregation, my grandma was transported to the village of Wyciąże, which was located near the current eastern border of the city of Cracow, where she stayed until the end of the occupation; while that afternoon mother and I, along with thousands of other people, were loaded into a train on a side-track; the train was made up of covered, closed freight wagons and supervised from the outside by armed soldiers. We counted: 80 people of both genders, along with all their belongings, were crammed into a relatively small wagon.

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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