world war 2: warsaw uprising 1944

Lidia Markiewicz-Ziental. From Czerniakow to Mokotow. In: Andrzej M. Kobos, Kanaly w Powstaniu

Warszawskim. Zeszyty Historyczne, No. 109, Instytut Literacki, Paris, 1994.

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  zoskaLidia Markiewicz-Ziental 'Lidka' a paramedic with 'Giewont' company of 'Zoska' battalion. She fought in the Wola, Old Town, Czerniakow and Mokotow districts.

Translation: Seweryn Makosa.

* * *

Death is all around me, our closest ones are departing for ever, and I am still alive. Germans are attacking Okrag 21 stronger and stronger. Before the dawn of the 17th we go down to the basement. ‘Mirek’s'2 wound has not been dressed for a few days, the pus stinks, those heavily wounded are dying. ‘Romek’3 is showing a grenade 'sidolowka'
[ weapons ]
to some members of Berling’s army who were able to reach us here. He uncocks it unskillfully and it explodes. ‘Romek’ dies near me. The courier from ‘Parasol’ lies in the gateway. She is seriously injured to her head and eye. At the belt she carries her mascot – little bear. I dress her wound and, unconscious, together with ‘Mietek’4 and ‘Zych’5 we carry her down.

In the evening of the 18th ‘Mietek’ and ‘Zych’, with a group of others are leaving Okrag 2. They have to go to Mokotow as a guard for colonel ‘Radoslaw’. Shortly after, ‘Wacek’6 brings order; to move back towards Vistula. ‘Inka’7 stays at Okrag 2 with wounded ‘Kindzal’8 and ‘Mirek’. As we later learnt the Germans had hung ‘Inka’, ‘Mirek’ had probably been executed, what happened to ‘Kindzal’ no one knows.

According to the order we go to Zagorna Street. We stay there all night and the next day. We can see as the Czerniakow is burning. We are very hungry and separated from the rest of the squad. Somehow we receive the information that the Germans are already at Okrag 2. Every now and again a new group of soldiers, wounded and hungry, join us. In barrels we find stinky water full of worms. We strain it through the gauze, add a drop of iodine. We are so hungry and tired that we don’t even talk to each other. Only 'Wacek’ is left from my squad. What happened to the others I do not know.

Liaison girl from Mokotow joins us in the morning and brings some black bread. Each of us gets a piece but soon after we are even more hungry. We are supposed to reach Mokotow through the sewers. It is a very strenuous journey. Half-way through we pass a dam in the sewer with some disgusting liquid flowing down in streams. I am all soaked with a sticky, stinky greasy substance. With great effort, the healthier ones drag the wounded forward. They are loosing strength, some of them shout that they want to stay in the sewer. We cannot leave them. But we leave anything else we have, backpacks first, then blankets, camouflage jackets and spare shoes.

I remember a quite efficient organization of evacuation from Old Town. We were stronger, there were more healthy ones, more friends. Here, only wounded or hungry, we barely know each other. We begin not to care if we leave or stay here. Only for a minute to stand next to the wall of sewer and fall asleep! But the will of leaving this sticky hell is stronger than anything else. At down, after 8 hours, we reach Mokotow. At the manhole at Baluckiego ‘Zych’ and ‘Mietek’ who came there sooner with colonel ‘Radoslaw’ are waiting. They worried a lot about our fate, we had to arrive a few hours sooner. We do not know yet that we’ll stay for a very short time at Mokotow, only a few days. When Mokotow falls, the same way – by sewer we will force our way to City Center. We yet do not presage, what a dramatic surprise our future is preparing.

* * *

1 Big, four-story building on the corner of Okrag and Czerniakowska Streets, the headquarters of colonel ‘Radoslaw’ in Czerniakow, turned into a 'fortress'.

2 Unknown.

3 Unknown.

4 Tadeusz Stopczynski – ‘Mietek’.

5 Andrzej Borowiec – ‘Zych’.

6 Probably Waclaw Tarlowski – ‘Wacek’.

7 Anna Nelken – ‘Inka’, courier, decorated with Cross of Valour. Killed on
September 23rd.

8 Leszek Kidzinski – ‘Kindzal’, 2nd Lt., decorated with Cross of Valour. Died in the Czerniakow district on September 21st.
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