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My name Danuta Kieżun, nee Magreczyńska. I was born in Lodz on December 9, 1922. When I was a year old, my parents moved to Bydgoszcz. I lived in Bydgoszcz until the outbreak of the war.

I had a wonderful childhood. My father was a pharmacist. The middle house. We lived in our own house with a beautiful garden, which my parents bought when they arrived in Bydgoszcz. It was a hobby of my father, who did all the garden works himself, he was simply in love with nature, in the garden, in the flowers. My childhood has indeed passed in a carefree atmosphere. Whenever I have unpleasant events in my life, I am sad if I have any stress, I return to my childhood memories and it helps me a lot.

Since Bydgoszcz was located very close to the German border, the first impetus of the war fell on this part of Poland. I remember the only air raid in Bydgoszcz – it was probably the second day of the war. We lived near the Main Railway Station. Of course, there was an alarm. Then there was a psychosis that the Germans would throw bombs and some gas. With my mother and grandmother, who was with us, we threw ourselves to seal the window. My father was at work at the pharmacy. Imagine that the first three planes, the opts, flew over our garden. My mom and I were in the window and we saw them very carefully because they were flying low. Characteristic black crosses on the wings. After a while, the explosions at the Main Station. One of our tenants, a railroadman, a railroadman, was killed in this raid. So it was the first experience. I must admit that then, as a young person, I was rather interested in it than awakening fear.

In 1940 we moved to Warsaw. Warsaw was destroyed, but we lived somewhere on Filtrowa, there was no special damage. Initially, I did not give up, because apart from my cousin, who was my age, it was an unknown environment. I had no friends except my cousin, my aunt. My uncle was in the army and was already in England at that time.  Nevertheless, in relation to what we saw in Bydgoszcz, [there was] a certain freedom – [life] was different. However, there was this street trade, the shops were rather empty, it was difficult to get something, there were cards. On the other hand, various markets were created, for example at Filtrowa Street in Narutowicz Square. The villagers from the area brought meat, milk, dairy, all products, vegetables, Who had the money, could somehow supply food.

....Warsaw Uprising ....I, Wanda Bagniewska (with whom I have a photo) and Heniuta. We were linear nurses, that is, we went with our patrols to the positions and there, if necessary, we treated our colleagues. In addition, there was a doctor’s hospital in Kilińskiego, which was already involved in more serious matters or further treatment. We were the first shot on the line of fire, that's what you could call it. Our barricade was the street Ślepa. If we got there, she was pretty damaged. We put on a sanitary point there, all of which was covered with sandbags, so that the bullets did not get to him.
Basically, the residents of this house and this area have fled. There's only a few residents left. We made friends with them. But one day, as if we had come to the outpost on the street, with the horror of us saying that at night or in the morning before we got there, there was a bombardment of stucco. The house where the locals were hiding was bombed. Many have been killed. The photo that I have taken against the background of the ruins of this house shows our real sadness at the loss of people with whom we have already made it like to live, make friends, help each other. It is an authentic sadness at the loss of these people.

.... We were all together, life had to go on. We had responsibilities. I must say that our generation was raised in duty and not only in such times. The school also gave us a sense of duty. So you had to get back together. On our barricade, at least when I was, when I was walking, we didn't have, so to speak, a lot to do as a nurse. Of course, it was necessary to watch it, because the Germans were just around. Literally right there. There was a gate going across, destroyed, it was ruined.Imagine that a piano survived. Because before the war I went to the conservatory, I started playing. I started playing “A Revolutionary Etude.” Of course, after a few tacks, the Germans started shooting. But for me, the fact that at this moment, in this place, in front of the Germans I could play the “Revolutionary” of Chopin, who was forbidden during the occupation (Chopin’s music was forbidden, you could be arrested, shot), it was beautiful.

As I say, the Blind was very damaged, but you had to keep the station there because the Germans did not invade. Life in Kiliński was on the other hand. We had a lot of German prisoners, which we were treating normally. If one of them was injured or had to wear a dressing, there was absolutely no problem. They were grateful, they sensed that we didn't want to shoot them. They helped us a lot. For example, if there were some need for de-degree, of course they had an order, it was obvious that they were not reluctating. Maybe they were just grateful in some way. Maybe they looked at them a little bit [on the eyes]. Not every German soldier was a criminal.

There was also the wonderful doc who “Morwa”. In the basement in Kilińskiego 3 had its operating point. He operated in unheard of conditions as regards disinfectants and [other things]. I admire him what miracles he did there. We all loved him, he was so madly involved. Between these three houses on Kilińskiego 1/3/5 they beat [transitions]. There were separated backyards, so it was one area, you could walk there freely. Of course, there were constant raids, these permanent raids of stucco. They were always at certain hours, they started somewhere at nine o’clock, they ended somewhere at four o’clock. It is known that three stuccos were arriving and bombarded. They fell wild because they were completely unpunished. There was also a shelling on the side of the Gdańsko Railway Station. It was a heavy artillery. The missiles sometimes came to our area.

..... Yes, to Pruszków. There, I think we were waiting two days in the factory hall and took us out. I think in cattle cars we were driving from a week.The first camp was at Fallingbostel, Stalag XI B. It was a camp of soldiers from 1939, so that there were Poles there. The camp is completely unprepared to receive such a number of new prisoners of war. Of course, we were subject to the Geneva Convention. We women were normally prisoners of war. For the first time as prisoners of war. I'll tell you about this case. You could send the mail, but on special darts. Of course, the prints weren't enough, so there was a draw. Imagine I've drawn a second-hand guy. I had a package, including Wanda and Heniuta – there were five of us. I have drawn one. At first happy, and then, “God the saint, but where should I write? - Where is it? Warsaw no longer exists.” I was reminded of [place] where my sister was at Tarnow. I sent there and it turned out that my parents met there. It's also the whole story.

After two or three weeks, they transported us again, carrying a few days in cattle wagons, to Bergen-Belsen. It was our POW camp, but at a concentration camp. We saw the gallows in the concentration camp, we heard the dogs barking. From there, Soviet prisoners came to us, who bought cologne from us for food. When we left Warsaw, however, we women were still women. You could take everything from abandoned apartments – warm coats, warm things, but also things like cosmetics. We were women, among other things, we had perfumes. This was bought by Soviet prisoners for food because they had access to potatoes. I wondered why they had these perfumes. Turns out they were drinking it. Because it caused trouble, we had to be separated from the men.

...... At one point, we can see that there were canes about fifty meters away and characters in military uniforms are rising. Of course, we didn’t know what uniforms they were. They are approaching us on motorcycles, so we are raising our white sheets to be sure and shouting:Wir sind Polen! Wir sind Polen!– we are Polish! Imagine that this was the first chat of ours, the Poles from the Maczek division. From the local population they learned that there is a camp here, supposedly with the Polish women. Of course, they didn’t know exactly where. Without asking their commander without receiving permission, they decided to check who it was. There were only seven or many... Two soldiers came to us and they said, “Here, compatriots!” You can imagine our joy, our astonishment. It's indescribable at all. We were the first Polish women. Of course, “Where are the Germans?” We knew that they were hiding in their cantin, that they had no intention of defending the camp. We immediately said where the canteen is, of course they immediately went there, the whole small unit. This is how the liberation of the camp began. I must say that when they crossed the camp gate, we were not in the camp, we were constantly out of the camp.


Source & Copyright:


(Translation of excerpts of the original Polish text)

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