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Testimony of Tadeusz Klemiński


Had your father been taken away to the forced labour to the Reich, hadn't he?
Yes. They took away my father on the very next day after our arrival to Grochów.
     We were helping the wife of my godfather to make some cigarettes, we filled such cigarette tubes with tobacco and she sold them in their shop. This shop was rarely open, but people came to her to buy things and she was selling them these cigarettes. The shop was officially closed but one could but things at the back, as one could say.
     After we came there were additional four people so one would need to get some extra food. We have had a garden before, there were potatoes, tomatoes. So myself and my mother (my sister and brother stayed on) went to Wawer. The Russians had not arrived yet. We have been stopped at the police-station at the Rembertów road, they told us we could not go there. My mother explained to them that we were going to fetch some food for the children. There was a field close by and the owner of this field lived not far away. The German told us to go there and pick up what we wanted. We went there with my mother and then we saw there was a guy standing there so we have asked him if he had a hoe. He answered: "Is it not enough you are digging out my potatoes and you even dare to ask for a hoe!".
But did he allow you to take anything?
He had nothing to say, because the policeman stood close by and ordered us to pick up what we wanted. We dug out some of these potatoes, I put some into the sack, so did my mother and then we went away. It wasn't far away to to go to Szembeka Square. We were in the Grochów until the Russian army had arrived. The nephew and the niece of my godfather were participating in the Uprising and my godfather's wife was terribly worried about them. No information about the Uprising had yet reached Grochów.
     Once when we were sitting in the cellar the missile hit the roof and this was a two-story house. The missile came through the table which was standing in the middle of the room of my godfather, then broke through the ceiling, went through the gate (because there was a second gate in other side) and hit it he second gate. But it didn't explode because if it did there would be nothing left of us. All of us would be killed because the cellar where we were sitting was just in this place, under this second gate. During the night when were sitting in the cellar the missile hit this small wooden church and the church caught fire. The tenants were carrying water from the well, they were afraid the other houses could catch a fire.
     I remember the moment when the Russians arrived. There was such q boy seventeen or eighteen year old, he run into the cellar and shouted: "Germańców niet? (Are there any Germans here?)", the people answered: "No" and gave him a handful of cigarettes. Everybody gave something to this Russian boy and later on the others run into the cellar after him, they ate something and run away. Two, three days right after the liberation we took our stuff with us and came back to our home. We came back to our basement.


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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