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PRIVATE WAR Memoirs
OF A DOCTOR SOLDIER I am dedicating this work to Murka
Translation By Alexandra Barbara Gerrard
Copyright 1991. TX3 112 635 Eugene S. Lazowski 3550 N. Lake Shore Drive Chicago, IL 60657 pee
The War memoirs by Eugene Lazowski, my of post-War conversations | had in London's
childhood friend, remind Polish Home Army (AK)
We shared a common concern whether the story of the Polish resistance would be remembered in spite of propaganda of totalitarian country using the most
modern methods of communication, action and education. Formed during our exile in London, the Studium of Underground
Polish Noah's Ark, from flood of lies.
under the banner Our leaders God allowed to explode with full
of AK, from a flood of lies. are now gone. | belong to the group of AK soldiers whom live long enough to see the truth liberated and that truth force. My book shelves buckle under the weight of mem-
was to become
rescue from the
oirs published in Poland, historical monographs and documents about underground fighting in all the areas of Poland. The historians, usually young people, born and raised in Communist Poland, in their diligent pursuit of the
truth are uncovering the hidden past. They are laboriously portraying the facts, the names of people and their accomplishments. Some of their work is very impressive with tts vast collection of material and richness of sources.
It is remarkable
mainly for the incredible
Though personal memoirs are by their nature subjective and demand rigorous verification, no historian can reproduce nor capture the feelings of the people who actually lived these events. The atmosphere of these unforgettable times could only by conveyed to others through personal experience. From
more important than those of generals. Among former the "Private War" by Eugene Lazowski, a young doctor during these times, is of considerable
importance. When ing a history of an
he describes his life during the pre-War years he is writentire generation which grew up in Independent Poland.
Any one who lived during those years can see themselves in this story. When he writes about his War experiences, he exposes, probably unconsciously, the sources of the Polish Underground's strength. It was probably the best organized, most widely spread and the most effective force of this kind in all of occupied Europe. It was so because the will to fight did not come from the high command but from the bottom. It was from the average person in their uncountable small towns, villages, factories, offices and forests. Each person took advantage of the local situation and in their own sphere and imagination conducted their own "private war." They did so with such dedication that each felt they were an essential element in the victory over the Germans. Lazowski's memoirs are proof. Because of circumstances beyond his control he found himself a doctor in a small provincial hole - | do not mean to insult the habitants Rozwad6w in Rzeszo6w territory. Then
his friend Stanislaw
medicine as Cadets at Polish Army Medical School (SPS). Dr. Matulewicz discovered that one could change blood chemistry in such a way that the blood test read positive to epidemic typhus in healthy people. Dr. Lazowski found a practical use for the discovery and, in this manner, both doctors began their private immunological war which protected the local population
from deportation to Germany Germans and even from arrest.
is a page - turner.
Written in short simple sentenc-
sentence to the last. Reading | felt that | could see and hear my friends and peers from Mickiewicz High School. "Gieniek" and | were in the same class and the same Boy Scout unit. He was well liked. He befriended every one with his carefree,
others. The reader will discover for himself this carefree goodness extended not only toward people but toward animals as well. All of this | rediscovered in the "Private War
| had seen "Gieniek" in all circumstances: as a good companion in school days, immediately after the September defeat and right after the War, when he returned to Poland after a short stay in the West convinced him
that a doctor's duty lies in saving circumstances in his native country.
| met him again when he appeared in the West with his wife and daughter as a refugee without a penny in his pocket ready to start life from
dignity, bravery and determination. Lazowski's memoirs encompass the most tragic years of our lives but are written with the same cheerful smile with which he befriended his school peers. | think that this smile along with the honesty and simplicity of his style will win the book interested and sympathetic readers. Jan
memoirs the histories of nations rise." So wrote my great aunt Elzbieta Tabenska in the introduction to her memoirs, "From Prosperity to Slavery" published in Krakow in 1897. She had been imprisoned and exiled for her participation in the 1863 rebellion against Czarist Russia.
Almost a hundred years later, | am writing about a different "grain of my own part in Poland's defense during the German occupation. My
at the University of Warsaw as a cadet in the Polish Army Medical Cadet School (SPS), and they end when the Soviet Army enters the Stalowa Wola/Rozwad6w region. | have divided my book into three parts. Part one covers my medical studies through the September 1939 Campaign, parts two and three deal with service in the Polish underground Home Army (AK) during the German occupation. Here | describe the discovery of a weapon which did not harm or kill but which was nevertheless extremely effective in defending
the local population from the German
At this time | would like to thank the following people for their critique of these memoirs: Roman J.A. Jakubski (London)- my friend from the Polish
Nowak-Jezioranski (Washington D.C.) - friends from the Adam Mickiewicz High School in Warsaw, Wojciech Rostafinski (Rocky River, Ohio) - a friend from the Polish Home Army Veteran's Association, U.S. Headquarters and Victor Szyrynski (Ottawa,Canada)- a friend from High School, the Boy Scouts and the Medical
| would also like to research material. | am introduction. | also wish and. her husband Donald nglish. | am
thank Danuta Pawlik for translating the German very grateful to Jan Nowak-Jezioranski for his to thank my daughter Alexandra Gerrard (Olenka) and her son Mark for translating my work into to
establish chronological order. Without her daily encouragement and our daily discussions, this book would have been impossible. | must express my appreciation to Mr. Francis J. Muno Jr. for proofing
the text and
printing it in this computer
PART | MEDICINE
THE POLISH ARMY
MEDICAL CADET SCHOOL
Although | was not born in Warsaw, | consider myself a native of that city. | grew up there, finishing high school and graduating from the university, despite a Чурзу $ prediction that | would not reach maturity.
| told my
wife about the
gypsy, she said she was
Gypsy meant that | would never reach intellectual maturity. During my medical school years, in Warsaw, | wore a military uniform and lived in the Ujazdéw Castle territory, home of the Army Medical Cadet School (Szkola Podchorazych Sanitarnych - SPS) since 1922. Historically the Ujazdéw Castle territory had always been a military establishment. шп medieval times, it was the residence of the Polish Princes of the Mazowia regions,
the castle proper.
In the XVIIth
restoration, it became the residence of Cecylia Renata Habsburg, the wife of Polish King Wladyslaw IV. | entered the Medical Cadet School (SPS) in 1933. At that time, | changed not only my status (leaving civilian life behind for the military), but | also changed my name. When | was born, | was christened Eugene Slawomir according to my Mother's wishes. During my christening my Father, who, like me, hated the name Eugene, tried in vain to change the order of my names. As there is no St. Slawomir, the priest would not allow it. "He will be the first," my Father said. "| doubt it," replied the priest. He was probably right, because when the priest bent over me to administer his blessings | knocked off his glasses which then shattered on the ground. Future saints do not behave in such a manner. Eugene remained my first name. However, when | entered the Cadet School and was
| said Slawek
future military doctors,
issued our own rifles which we were trained to take apart and put together with our eyes closed. We soon discovered that rifles were not meant to be
shot but to be cleaned,
rods and oakum. We used tooth brushes and rags to get rid of all the dirt that forever found its way into the tiniest cracks and crevices. The endless routine of rifle cleaning became a source of poetry for us, especially after our drill sergeant told us to love our rifles like a woman. | am not going to quote our poems on this matter which are not really appropriate for mixed company. We
learned to obey
soldiers. Needless to say we became fed up. One day after a "Run! Drop! Run! Drop!" exercise, we offered our sergeant a cigarette and explained to him that he should not work us hard because one of our colleague name was Kasprzycki
the current minister's
but no relation).
The sergeant immediately understood and we heard "Run! Drop!" only when an officer was in the neighborhood. After what seemed an eternity, the basic training ended and we were ready to take the Military Oath. We took our oath under the 21st infantry regiment (Warsaw's Children) color guard. We did not have our own. The color guard arrived with the marching band. The officers of the Army Center and six platoons
of our school,
at attention in the center - first year cadets in front. We faced the color guard and took our oath. It was the most emotional moment of my life. became a Polish soldier.
on the town until midnight. uniforms
given our first pass
free to go out
We changed into our brand new tailor-made fit perfectly.
(The tailor had
tallest and the shortest man.) | celebrated at my parents home. My Mother made a dinner of all my favorite dishes - cultured milk with potatoes, veal cutlets and for dessert meringue cookies. After an evening's celebration, | went back to the barracks and fell into the routine of school life. The SPS was the officers’ school of the Polish Army and it trained its own medical and pharmaceutical corps. Through an arrangement with the University of Warsaw, all the medical and pharmaceutical studies took place at the University. The Army paid for the tuition and all related expenses. In return for every year of school
obliged to serve 3 years
in the Polish
Army. This was not a problem. To quote Napoleon, we all carried "a marshal's baton in our backpacks" and why shouldn't we become Generals, but there were many Colonels, and Captains who had M.D.s and even PhDs at the end of their names. Many paths were opened to us. We could work in military hospitals or we could do research in the Army's medical research
facilities. |, myself, dreamed of working in the Military Institute of Aviation Medicine and | prepared myself by learning to fly gliders during my summer vacation. It took six years to become a doctor and six years are a long time. Military training took place at camps during the first part of our summer vacations. During the academic year we wore our uniforms and obeyed military rules. We all lived in SPS. No one could get married until he reached the rank of Captain. Our civilian friends grew accustomed to со еадчез in uniforms and we fell into university life. We were very popular with the ladies, in particular with the young women who were in the school of dentistry. After all we were special, chosen not only for our intellect but
also for our physical prowess. In 1933 there were 600 applicants for only 33 places in medical program. My social circle was wider than that of other cadets, as | was one of the rew that had family and friends in Warsaw. | kept in touch with my old riends. SPS offered me all that | ever wanted. | wanted to be a Doctor, as my grandfather Edward had been, and | wanted to be in the Army.
required to take
part in the following
fencing, boxing, target shooting, swimming and skiing. My favorites were fencing, target shooting and riding. For most of my colleagues, riding
Personally, | loved
To this day
the smell of stables.
| feel that hitting another person
My least favorite was boxing.
in the face with or without
gloves is barbaric and hazardous to one's health. On the whole, we cadets did not have enough time to excel in any team sports although a few of us excelled individually. In the equestrian military championship of all Officers' Schools, one of our members, not a member of the regular cavalry, won all the events. He had grown up on a horsy estate where all things horsy were state of the art. His older brother was a member of the Polish equestrian Olympic team. Once or twice, we did win a few events in competition with other schools for officers. We held
the fencing championship for several years. cup,
our biggest team
Although we never received the
in soccer, when we beat a team of infantry cadets. The organizers were so sure that the infantry would win they engraved the cup in advance.
Our Cadet's Club was the hub of our social life.
the club was
the only place we
The cadet on duty took messages.
As our rooms did not receive
One of the most memorable was a
message to one of the younger students, "Miss you to stop at her house tomorrow afternoon."
Hania from Polna street asks One of his older and more
experienced colleagues commented: "Be careful - she bites." The SPS was very proud of the choir that rehearsed in the Club. They practiced for what seemed like an eternity. Since we had a limited amount of free time, | preferred to spend purposely sang out of tune.
it on sports.
In the photography section of the club, | became friends with Stasiek Matulewicz. Though very quiet, he seemed nice. He liked to fidget with things and his magic hands were always busy repairing our watches or cameras. | will write more about him later in these memoirs. Unlike other officer schools we did not have a plebe system,
older cadets tormented younger cadets. respect most of the time.
The older cadets
treated us with
FIRST EXAMS During the regular academic year, we attended lectures, did the required lab work and studied like crazy. The blooming of the horse chestnuts told us it was time to tighten our belts and cram for finals. At the
of our first school year,
had to pass
dreaded physics. Understanding physics was against my nature. Even as a boy, | always felt that subjects like physics and math required little or no intelligence. All one had to do was memorize a series of formulas and learn to use them in problems that were thought up for the sole purpose of torturing school kids -- you have a bathtub of a certain volume with two pipes of different diameters, one pours water into the tub and another empties it. Based on the sizes of the pipes calculate when the bathtub would filled or emptied. Only an idiot would fill and empty the bathtub at the same time. Through the years my attitude toward studying changed, but still | preferred the arts to the sciences. Eventually, in High School, | became a close friend of the intellectual elite of my class. Among them were: Zdzislaw Jezioranski, who is now known as Jan Nowak - the author of "Courier from Warsaw" and the long-time director of the Polish section of Radio Free Europe; Jan Kwiatkowski, the son of the Polish minister of commerce and vice-chairman of the Polish Government (he was killed during the first days of the War); George Lenczowski who became a professor of Economics at Berkeley and an expert in the Middle East and the oil industry; Victor Szyrynski who became a professor of psychiatry in Ottawa; Ryszard Matus-
zewski who grew up to be a well-known literary critic in Poland; Jan Kott who
scholar and Jurek
Perepeczko who grew the finest tobacco on his plantation in Zimbabwe. We,
latest books, movies, art exhibits and theater. We were addicted to reading "Literary News" in which one particular article caught my attention about which | will tell you soon. At one time in our creative writing class we were asked to describe Spring. One of our friends, whose strength was science, could not come up with anything more than "Spring is the period of the year between March 21 and June 21." Some one suggested that he copy the description of Spring from Wladyslaw Raymont's Nobel Prize winning novel "The
Peasants." Notonly did the teacher not recognize the piece but he criticized it severely. The whole paper was marked red with corrections and
carried a failing grade.
The kid's father was appalled and sent the corrected
paper to the newspapers. It became a joke in all of Warsaw. At the university, | was to take the physics exam with a professor who
firmly believed that physics was the basis of medicine and that quality care in Poland depended on its knowledge. He was very tough and demanding so | studied very hard. The night before the exam | had nightmares about various
and with a headache. Finally dawn came. My worst nightmares were realized when | was asked something, what | did not understand. The second question was: "What do you know about Newton's Law ?" | went completely blank. Suddenly | had a flash. In the latest “Literary News" there was an article
Einstein's theory that left quite an impression
"Do you want me to discuss Newton's theory traditionally or in light of Einstein?" | asked. He looked at me with obvious joy. "Did you
"Yes" | answered truthfully. "Do you realize the importance of his theory?" "Sure" | answered. The professor got so excited that he kept on talking and talking. Better he than I. When he finally finished he asked "Why didn't you answer my first
"Nerves" | answered. "| understand," he said. "Too bad that you got so nervous. | would have given you an ‘A,’ but it's a 'B.' | enjoyed giving you this exam." He dismissed me. | had no problem passing chemistry. The academic year was over and | was promoted to Corporal.
over, the ordinary
went on vacation. We went to our military summer camp. For five years, we were transformed from students to soldiers, seven weeks at a time! The day started at 5 a.m. with revelry and ended at 9 p.m. with him blowing taps. After a day of physical exercise we slept like babies, only to
be rudely awakened. "Damn him," were our first words of each day. During the first Summer we took courses designed for noncommissioned infantry and health officers. We carried "wounded" senior cadets from the "battlefield" on stretchers. Our only consolation was that we knew that next year the younger cadets were going to carry us. Subsequent summer camps were designed for tactical training, first as a battalion physician, then as a regiment physician, until one reached the divisional physician level. Unfortunately our commanders believed more
sweat during training meant less blood on the battlefield.
In the name of
Poland's glory, we sweated during attacks, non-attacks, and any other maneuver that had been dreamt up since Hannibal and Napoleon.
One year we got a new platoon commander who either wanted to show off or had ants in his pants. He ran us ragged. During endless drills he would make us "drop," or "crawl" or do it "double time." One time when he had us running he called "Halt," but no one "heard" him. Young and in great physical shape we ran on and on for a long time. He could not keep up with us. When we finally stopped and rested in the cool shade of a tree, our fearless leader caught up with us - exhausted and sweaty. He screamed "I said, HALT!" "lam sorry, Sir," one of us said, "but we did not hear you." He understood
fun of his physical
his superiors caught on to his slave-driving because soon after he was transferred somewhere else.
People in pre-War Warsaw knew how to have fun, especially during season. As cadets, we were invited to all of the most elegant balls. We dressed for those occasions in our gala uniforms. White gloves were mandatory.
For the cadets, the most important ball was our own. Colonel Dr. Ksawery Maszadro, the commandant of our School and his wife, hosted the
The traditional first dance,
of the University and the wife of the Commandant Commandant
led by the Rector
of the SPS Next were the
and the University
They were followed by other distinguished couples, professors, and
officers with their wives.
Despite the formality of this occasion
we had a marvelous time as the orchestra played dances not marches. On other occasions we had dances in the Cadet's Club, the cadet on duty had to make sure that none of the young ladies made the "mistake" of going
to one of the cadet's
one of our parties,
the defense minister whom sonally
our friend Jarema
. . were
"My Life as a Military Doctor"
or to see pictures
| have previously mentioned,
case of serious
Tadzio Rozniatowski's said
quarters to powder
Command because they had carriage races on Ujazdowka Avenue. Jerema who listened carefully to the story, declared that he would take care of it. Using the official
telephone lines, he called the officer on duty. Our friends who gathered around heard only one side of the conversation which went something like this: "Is this Officer on duty? Who? Captain Malinowski? Hello Captain, Kasprzycki here. Listen, your people de-
know young people and their wild ways. Listen Captain, | will personally. . . be obliged to you if you will send these men to SPS. | will settle the rest with the Commandant. Yeah, yeah, ain't that the truth, we were all young once. Thanks again. | will remember you. Bye!" In half an hour our comrades
by their miraculous
| do not know whether Malinowski tried to collect his favor from
but in any case Jerema
Our last ball before the War took place in the Opera House. The ball was said to have given birth to a ghost. The day after the ball during Aida one of our cadets walked out on the stage from among the folds of the curtains. He was rubbing his eyes. The overture had woken him up! ing.
Balls and other official affairs were not the only occasions for socializThere were numerous private parties. | remember particularly a party at
Mr. Twardo's house. Mr. Twardo was the governor of Warsaw district. | had known his daughter Ewa and his son Jedrek since childhood. | was told that one of the guests would be Wanda Pilsudska, Marshal Pilsudski's daughter who was Ewa's friend from High School. At that party | met Wanda and her friend, Murka Tolwinska. | have to admit that Wanda made a big impression on me. She was a beautiful brunette with olive skin, a very thick braid,
big black eyes
a very nice 19.
ure. | could not get out from under her spell. Was this love at first sight "Slow down cadet," | said to myself, "you're aiming too high." What was | to do? We talked and joked a little. She and her friend had two handsome companions. Wanda looked very comfortable in their company. They were Zygmund Wislouch and Boleslaw (Buba) Zabko-Potopwicz. | didn't dance with either Wanda or Murka. Murka was way too tall for me, and Wanda was - well - | just chose not to. To my relief, | later found out that the ladies, being in a playful mood, had decided to switch identities. Wanda Pilsudska pretended to be Murka and Murka, Wanda. You can imagine my relief when it turned out that Zygmund and Buba were Murka's cousins. | received charming apologies from the ladies. The evening ended with the competition for the best joke. First prize was shared by Murka (the real one) and Mr. Zabko-Potopowicz. | received
We all parted on civil terms.
This all happened on May
| knew | was in love, though my feelings
MOURNING On May 12, Marshall Jésef Pilsudski died. There were rumors about his illness but no one suspected how serious it was. Everybody, regardless of their political positions, mourned. In the
military the period of mourning was to last six weeks. All soldiers during that period wore black bands on their arms. For 48 hours, the body of Marshal Pilsudski laid in state surrounded by an honor guard.
May 15th, there was a funeral procession. The casket was moved to St. John's cathedral, where for another two days the body was viewed by thousands more. The funeral took place on May 17th. After Mass, members of the government placed the casket onto a caisson for the trip to Mokotowska ield. The route of the procession from the cathedral to Mokotowska Field was
To the measured
beat of drums,
moved slowly through the city. Behind the casket walked the immediate family, members of the government and foreign dignitaries who were followed
by members of different social and political organizations. A Polish Air Force and a Czechoslovakian bomber squadron flew The military parade was led by General Orlicz-Dreszer to a slow
In front were all the generals, including
was the color guard and representatives of all the military branches. Next came a platoon of the Rumanian Royal Army, (Marshall Pilsudski had been their honorary Commander). They were followed by units of the Warsaw Garrison with honored representatives of the SPS in front. On that day at Mokotowska Field, | was lucky enough to squeeze into
the crowd right next to the dais from which the Marshall used to view parades. The military was already in formation waiting to pay homage to their leader. The funeral procession arrived and | watched the placing of the casket
onto the dais.
Without a sound, General Orlicz-Dreszer saluted the casket three times
with his sword
signaled the end
of the parade.
All the military bands
then played the National Hymn. Then there was a 101 gun artillery salute, at which point the sky turned black and lighting, thunder and sheets of rain poured
with the final farewell.
The thunder storm
short-lived and a few minutes later the sun came up. The Caisson was placed on a flatbed railway car. With an honor guard composed of Generals, the train started its slow journey to Krak6w where the body of Marshall Pilsudski was laid to rest in the crypt at Wawel Castle, an honor he deserved. Pilsudski had won in 1920 the decisive battle and defending Poland's independence when she was attacked by the Bolshevik rmy. The Marshall's heart was placed at the foot of his mother's grave in
Vilnius' Rossie cemetery. After his death the University
HALF OF A DIPLOMA The second year of medical studies was difficult. We studied anatomy, histology, basic biochemistry, physiology, biology and parasitology. All of it meant endless hours of laboratory work, constant quizzes and comprehensive exams at the end of the year. These were fascinating subjects and we learned the complicated biochemical process of the human organism and its marvelous precise functions. But how long could a person read text books? We had to absorb
thousands of pages and a day is only 24 hours long. bodily requirements
What about all the
When it came to sleep, we were Jealous of our colleague Hirek Powiertowski. Nature had endowed him with good looks, intelligence, talent, charm and the ability to function on three hours of sleep a night. Consequently he had at least three more hours a day to study than the rest of us.
We were not surprised that this future professor of brain surgery was one of the best exam takers. Returning now to the original question: how long can an average intelligent, healthy young man pour over the books? All of nature conspires against him - Winter with it's snowy days, Spring with the smell of flowers and chestnuts in bloom just when one has to study the hardest and are around the opposite sex. No wonder then that the decision whether to study or not came to depend on luck. Every coin has two sides: "Heads" meant studying, "tails" meant going on a date. | modified the game further. "Heads" meant play, "tails" meant date, and if the coin stood on edge it meant studying. Then
the time for exams
At school we shared rooms. The older cadets lived two or three to a room. Our desks and shelves were littered with text books. One day | was visited by my former High School friend, Ryszard Matuszewski. He took one look at my
"You have to read all that?" "Мо," | said. "| have to read and memorize them," and | showed my thick anatomy textbook. He murmured something intelligent and changed the subject. Dr. Edward
our professor of anatomy.
(As a doctor and
colonel in the Polish Army he was active and was killed during Warsaw Uprising of 1944). He was the most popular professor in our school. His lectures were interesting and he could joke without degrading the subject. His jokes were famous, but | will not quote them here because after all this time | can't tell which were real and which apocryphal. Human Evolution was taught by Dr. W. He was obsessed with the era of 30 to 40 thousand years B.C. when Cro-Magnon man was slowl replacing Neanderthal man. His set theory was that during that 10,000 year period the Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons had to crossbreed. Certain genes of Neanderthal men low forehead, for example, had to prevail in modern men. He collected and studied thousands of photographs of people resem-
bling Neanderthal man, in order to prove this theory. One day walking on the street he actually met a "Neanderthal" man. The man was short, had huge shoulder blades, a very low forehead, was practically chinless and walked stooped - the real Homo Erectus Neanderthals. Dr. W. decided to interview the man. | imagine his conversation probably went like this: "Excuse me sir, my name is professor W." "What?" “vould like to talk to you and take your picture.....
"You are an unusual looking man..."(That put our Neanderthal on alert! but he listened further). "| have devoted all of my academic life to studying the evolution of man." "| do not know any Eve or Lucy," he answered.
look like a Neanderthal
"| do not know anyone by that name." "Who is he?" "He is a prehistoric man. He never finished the
sentence, his face got smashed
in by men's fist.
After the anatomy exam | passed the exam in Professor Konopacki's histology class (another casualty of the Warsaw Uprising).
ext was biochemistry. A very difficult exam given by Professor Ryszard Truszkowski. He was a thin man of average height who was inseparable from his pipe. A descendant of a Pole who emigrated to England after the 1830 or maybe the 1863 Uprising, decided to settle in his ancestral home. He completed his medical studies at University of Warsaw and became an associate professor at the University. Despite his accented Polish his lectures were very interesting. He expected perfection in his students and flunked quite a few of them. biochemistry exam consisted of two parts: theory and the laboratory.
theoretical exam was oral and | took it with two of my colleagues. Both of them flunked. | was lucky to pass with a "C." Next the laboratory exam.
The lab was a long dark room with old stained tables full of sinks, instruments, bottles, pipettes, etc, | was asked to analyze a certain liquid. | started up with the litmus paper to determine whether the substance was an
acid or base and continued with other tests. | thought | had a pretty clear
system of how to proceed. However something noticed our lab monitor in the corner of the lab.
just did not make sense. | The monitors occasionally
through some kind of obscure signal helped the students. This one did not. Time went by and even though we had no time limit, | began to get very nervous. Eventually, the monitor left. Only being calm could save me. My original system did so | started. Through the door | saw Professor Trusz-
kowski calmly smoking his pipe. | noticed soon that he was getting impatient. He looked at his watch and made a phone call. It was obvious that he
was ina hurry. | was not. | had all the time in the world. | figured that | was in some kind of time duel with the professor. While doing my analysis | watched him carefully. He started pacing and looking at his watch. He finally sat down and reached for some papers, signed them and left the room. | logically concluded
| immediately dumped my solution into the sink and left. | was right. After the War ! found out that Professor Truszkowski was an officer of British Intelligence Service. He served as a member of the "Special Operation Executive" (SOE) in which English and Polish Officers were trained in guerrilla warfare tactics, intelligence and sabotage. These highly trained Polish officers were parachuted into Poland and served in the Polish Underground Home Army (AK) as instructors or unit leaders. Professor Truszkowski, as British Brigadier General Truscoe was in
London in 1946.
officers to Poland
It was hard to believe but he recognized me as his former
going over our experiences during the War we discovered that
of his "James
some time under my care, It was a source of great pleasure to me to realize that | had outwitted (or is it ‘out-waited') this master of British intelligence during my biochemistry exam. Physiology was next, taught by Professor Franciszek Czubalski. In preparing for the lab portion, | took the advice of former students. One had
to be dressed immaculately. drawings
of the lab apparatus
Notes had to be very detailed including perfect which
Most importantly, the notebook had to be make in such a way that it opened, almost by itself, to the every page with these ‘artistic’ renderings of
the lab apparatus.
in preparing these
With the presence of a pretty blond female student in the group of students to be examined, the professor's humor always improved. | was lucky - there was a ‘blond beauty’ in my group. | had no problems passing. The last exam for the ‘half diploma" was in professor Stefan Kopec's class, who besides being an authority in the field of genetics was loved by his students. He had a good heart and was known to help financially the poorer students. before
Finally the school year was over.
friends gliders military Medical
had to go to another summer
We had three weeks of vacation camp.
spent that time with our
of both sexes on kayak or sailing trips. Some of us went to fly in Bezmiechéw. At the end of the summer camp | earned the next rank and soon afterwards we went back to start our third year of School.
THIRD YEAR Part of our training was
of Medical Education (C. W. San).
best medical supervision.
run by the Army
The hospital was staffed by some of the
specialists and the military medical students worked under their C. W. San. had an exceptionally good research library and
supplied all the medical cadets with text books. Military lectures often supplemented the academic program. Military psychology was one of them and it was taught by professor Tadeusz Kornilowicz. Others were on the physiology of effort and sports medicine. These were taught by Dr. Wladyslaw Dybowski. After two years of theoretical medicine we were very anxious to start practical medicine. (ls there such a thing as impractical medicine?) So, in our third year, for the first time we actually had patients. We learned how to conduct a physical: palpitation - touching and feeling what is under the skin, percussion - thumping and listening by stethoscope to patient's body. We practiced on each other until we were possessed a heart, a liver and lungs.
absolutely sure that each
Our assistant professor introduced us to a real, live patient. There were five of us in the group. The first student examined the patient carefully, then the next student, then finally it was my turn. | started my examination by finding with percussion borders of the heart on the left side of the chest. | found nothing! Then the bottom, nothing! | tried again and still nothing. Finally | gave up and said that | couldn't find the patients heart and that obviously | hadn't learned a thing during the practice exams. The next two students had no problem locating the borders of the heart. We moved on to the liver and again | was the only one who couldn't find it. | was extremely embarrassed. "Thank you" assistant said. He looked us over. My face turned red. “Honesty is the first responsibility of physician," he continued, "Only one of you was honest," the assistant pointed at me. "He was the only one who could not find the borders of heart and liver. He could not find them because they were not there. What we have here is a case of 10
‘situs inversus.' This patient's heart is on the right side of his body and his liver on the left."
RELAXATION Sports were my main relief from studying.
in the presence
the school's record. time.
My performance was
At one training session in
of the director of physical education,
| hit the bull's eye every
never so lucky and
ished third or fourth. | spent a lot of time fencing. The instructors were excellent. SPS produced its share of champions. Once during practice | put my epee through my friend's, Tadzio (Tadeusz) Mockallo, mask. It was a terrible moment.
with a classic arret: step aside
positioning the epee high to enable the opposition to "fall" on the blade. It actually happened - | felt my epee sink into Tadzio's mask. Tadzio just stood there with my epee sticking out of his mask. "Oh my God," | thought, "I've killed him and he is going to fall any second." He just stood there for what seemed like a life time. Then he slowly removed his mask. The epee still attached to it. The tip had broken and left a very sharp edge. It could have ended tragically, but the epee went through the space between his ear and the edge of the mask. THE COLOR
On November 17, 1935, SPS received its own color guard. It was a given to us by the University of Warsaw's Medical Department. The dedication and consecration ceremony took place during a special Mass celebrated by Bishop Gawlina, chaplain of the Polish Army, at an altar in the open field. After Mass we paraded, for the first time, with our own color guard in front. The day ended with an official dinner. We sat at long tables with all the dignitaries. We listened to speeches and toasts. One of the speakers was
the chief of Military Medicine,
well. During his speech, however, he said something that bothered me. In passing he said that health service could become a health weapon. Was | hearing right? Our principal function was to save lives, not to kill. Bullets, renades,
kill, but not medicine.
eneral thinking of biological warfare? Are we to kill the enemy by creating epidemics? Fortunately it turned out that | misunderstood the General. He had become so emotional about his beloved school receiving its own color guard that he made it sound like we had received it after a great military victory. Killing was the furthest thing from his mind.
FRIEND Tadzio Radlow and | were the same age. In high school we often had shared gym class. Tadzio was very agile. He could swing on ropes and than leap to the ladder on the gym wall. | was not going to be upstaged, so | 11
tried the same trick. My spectacular fall caused the gym teacher to ban any further circus tricks. Nevertheless Tadzio and | became very close friends. He was very quiet and pleasant. He did not talk much about himself, | respected that. His intelligence and general knowledge were much higher than mine. In time we established a master (he) and student (me) relationship.
well suited to intellectual
discussions. It was dark with old furniture and books on the shelves, there were tables everywhere you looked. It was a house of theosophists. The encyclopedia defines theosophists as those look for truth in the special insights of the divine nature. | never
was a mystic and | do not know theosophical secrets. | can only describe Tadzio through what | learned about him during our friendship. He was a
true genius. Besides a few European languages, he taught himself Yiddish, Hebrew and Chinese. He became interested in magic and the beliefs of the ancient
so he taught
himself to read
teacher never quizzed him because he knew that Tadzio's math knowledge was way beyond high school math. After graduation from high school Tadzio entered the Polytechnic. He complained about the low level of
mathematics there and said he was bored with most of his classes. asked me why | chose medicine. “To heal the sick." | answered. "Did
it ever occur to you that medicine
is a way
He took entrance
ence, the mechanism that lies behind thinking and creativity?" he said. | understood the change in his thinking. He had made a transition from metaphysics to real knowledge. Tadzio dropped
out of the Polytechnic.
SPS and became my junior cadet. He believed that after finishing his medical studies he would be able to do research in one of the military facilities. Tadzio became fascinated with toxicology. The manager of the chemistry laboratory
Tadzio's talent and
him to remain
lab as long as he wanted. Tadzio conducted his own experiments. Rumors stated that he was injecting frogs with chloroform and was bringing them back to life. On the 21st of November 1936 he injected himself with chloroform. He was beyond saving. Dying he called for his mother and tried to tell us "Give me..." but none of the doctors and chemists present could understand him. He died in my arms. | remember now another discussion we had in high school. Tadzio was telling me of some problem in higher mathematics. | don't remember now and | am sure | couldn't possibly have understood what he was talking about.
| do remember
an error in Einstein theory,"
said, "| wrote him and he wrote back to tell me | was right and to thank те." Tadzio showed me the letter which started "Sehr Geehrter Professor." So the greatest mind in the world addressed a letter to a sixteen year old Polish boy.
God created the world, mountains and seas and when he was in an exceptionally good mood, he created snow and skis. Is there anything more beautiful than crocuses pushing their heads upon in ski trails during a warm sunny Spring day? 12
During Christmas break in 1935, | decided to go skiing in the Czarnohora mountains breaking my Tatra mountains tradition. After
spending Christmas Eve with my parents | took the train from Warsaw to Lwo6éw, from Lwéw to Worochta and from Worochta to Kostrzyca where |
was staying. The last stretch of the journey was in a train that was more adapted to transporting logs than people. On the first day my companions and | decided to go to Pop Iwan Mountain which is the second highest mountain in Czarnochora chain. We planned on a three day trip, putting on our skis we went. The plan was simple. We were to take two days climbing the mountain with stay overnight at the shelter half-way up, and on the third day ski down to Kostrzyca. | was especially looking forward to
the return trip because it was my name's day and had girlfriend. We were on our way down when the snow
turned into a full fledged blizzard. impossible to continue.
plans to meet my started. It quickly
It became obvious that it would be
forced to stay overnight
in the shelter.
The next day weather got even worse and we were forced to stay another day and night. On the third morning | was sure that the storm was over. My friends disagreed. | wanted to continue down the mountain. They wanted to wait until the weather cleared. | was stubborn, after all | had a hot date waiting for me. Against all the rules, | went on by myself. The weather seemed to me to be ideal. Part of the route went along the ridge that marked the Polish-Czechoslovakian border. The border rocks were marked with numbers and directional signs. Then, it started to snow again. The wind picked up and before long | was in the middle of another snow storm. | could barely continue. The wind was so strong that it felt like the skis were being ripped off my feet. | could see nothing in front of me, | knew that it was extremely dangerous for me to remain on the mountain overnight, so | kept on going from marked rock to marked rock. Finally the wind got so strong that | was forced to get below the ridge, away from the marked rocks. In order to keep westward | had kept my left ski higher than my right. With zero visibility | plowed on, step by step
the left ski higher.
| felt ice
forming on my eyebrows. | had to rest. | found shelter from the wind behind the rock. | closed my eyes. | started imagining warmth. | saw a rainbow and heard the humming of bees. | heard a whisper | realized suddenly that | was close to death. | shook off the euphoria and forced myself to continue on. | ate the last of my dried prunes and sugar cubes. Eventually the wind stopped and it became very still. The danger was over. The snow was powdery and beautiful. | looked up and saw the sun. Something was wrong the sun was in the North. Where in the world was | ? | walked up to the ridge and found the numbered rock. "I've already
| realized that despite
ski above my right | had made a 180 degree turn and walked East instead of West and had circled the mountain. The rest of the trip was beautiful and easy, the weather perfect. | skied down the mountain. In the evening | reached the forest. The sun went
| kept on skiing.
footsteps and the voices of men. In front of me | saw four muffled people. They came closer and | could see their long beards and filthy clothes. Bandits, | thought. | stopped and moved my gun for easier access. They came closer and yelled at me, "go back .... the wolves!" "What is going on?" | wondered; a Polish soldier is not afraid of wolves. | recited a child's poem, "1 will kill and butcher the whole bunch of them." 13
"The bandits’ turned out to be lumberjacks and the wolves had their campsite.
all the time
my flashlight and pistol | would have nothing to fear. It became dark. The last segment of the trail went along a stream, | couldn't hear a thing over it's sound. “Maybe the wolves are coming upon me?" | thought. Snow fell from a tree branch. | was certain it was wolves. | turned my flashlight on - no wolves. | turned it off again. | wanted to keep the battery from going dead. There was still quite a bit of distance between me and shelter. It grew darker and colder. Would | have enough time to drop my glove and pull my gun before the wolves were on me? Probably not. | could be eaten alive. | began to panic. Every noise meant that the wolves were closer. Everywhere | looked something was moving. | was scared stiff. Finally, | reached the shelter. | was Safe and alive. The shelter was lit, warm and full of noisy people. | walked in and the room fell silent. | was quite a sight. Bundled up, full of snow with icicles on my face, | looked like a monster. My girlfriend waved
to me and | could see that she was having a wonderful time. like a broken
Our professor of sport medicine,
there and he asked, "Where are the other guys?" "They'll
be here tomorrow,"
Suddenly | felt
"You do not separate in the mountains," he snapped. "| know." He shrugged his shoulders and he was the first one to help me take off my backpack to undress. He ordered some hot tea for me. During supper | told him about the wolves. "Fear has big eyes." he said. By morning the snow stopped. Colonel Dybowski and | went for a walk along the stream and along side of my ski tracks, we found unmistakably
The Medic Club was the center of our social life. All medical students including SPS cadets organized dances and artistic programs. We foxtroted,
All our shows
sensational "Henry's Choir," was named after its creator Henry Grabowski. The author of the most yrics was Romek Jakubowski. The choir had two star performers, Stas Rézycki - tenor and Stas Pieczora - bass baritone and they performed
at every show.
After the War
with the Rosa Operatic Company in London and with the B.B.C. The Medic Club shows were very popular in Warsaw, especially the annual Xmas and "Medical Herring" shows. Perhaps some people were shocked by the "Medical Herring's" motto - "Animal post vinum letum, post coitum triste est." But not everyone knew Latin. Medic's Club was a support group for medical students. All the shows and dances were fund raisers for the building of Medics Home. The cadets were always active participants. Enough money was raised and the building went up. | remember the grand opening of Medic's House on Oczki street like it was yesterday.
PREVENTION It was
close to finals in microbiology
always been interested in microbiological theory which probably helped
my entrance exams to SPS. For the entrance exam we were to write an essay titled, "What event or book most influenced your life." | am sure that because of the 1933 political situation most entrants wrote about Marshall
Pilsudski. | was one of his admirers but | chose to write about Jack London. With youthful flair | wrote about man's battle against nature. London's heroes North.
risked their lives in order to conquer the severe, frozen nature of the | thought physicians risk their lives in a battle with the threat of
epidemics. | began to contemplate the importance of preventive medicine. Doctors cure very ill patients and save lives. That's very noble, but wouldn't be better to prevent thousands of people from getting ill? Vaccinating people against contagious diseases, teaching hygiene at home and at work, in towns and villages, is as important. | thought so then and | think so now as a grizzled 80-year old physician. After passing my microbiology and pharmacology exams that year | advanced to the rank of sergeant cadet. That was something. Corporal, sergeant, lieutenant, captain and general are very important steps in military advancement. Everything else is just something in between. IGLOO After one of his lectures on sport medicine Col. Dr. Dybowski suggested that | consider participating in a research project for the Border Guar
(K.O.P). The experiment concerned the ability to camp in the middle of Winter. | became a “Guinea Pig," however, with enough intelligence to read the instruments and take notes. Dr. Dybowski asked Cadet Zbigniew Jedrzejowski to be my partner. he experiment took place in the Five Ponds Valley in the Tatra Mountains and lasted two weeks. The equipment was delivered to the
shelter where Dr. Dybowski resided. Zbigniew and | slept in an igloo - just like Eskimos. The beds were blanket covered snow platforms. The walls were
out of snow
ice after we
using the candles and the primus stove for cooking. We were to measure and record the temperature and humidity in and out of the igloo and with the help of a katathermometer
to calculate the differential of lost heat.
to Tatra mountains
had to record everything that contributed to variances of the interior heat, like lighting and cooking. We reported to the Colonel on the daily basis. He collected the data and made calculations and graphs. Occasionally after our reporting he invited us to stay for dinner at the lodge. He was good company and had a great sense of humor. Colonels are not as bad as their reputations. | felt very comfortable among the skiers that stayed in the lodge. Who chose
the daily temperatures
averages -20 degrees Centigrade. The lodge's innkeeper was a woman. She was pretty and merry but she also knew how to keep her guests under control. In the lodge Col. Dybowski asked us to dispense with his military title and call him simply Doctor or Professor Dybowski. Being well-trained soldiers we had a very hard time complying. When we made a mistake he would correct us, "Just Professor please." 15
Despite the extremely cold weather | enjoyed my stay in the Five Valley that Winter. | was proud to participate in what at the time
thought was important military research. Since it was not a secret mission the results were reported to K.O.P. but they were never published. Now | realize that our research had little bearing on the actual War. | only remember that in the igloo were warm and comfortable. From the heat of our bodies and our activities the walls of igloo turned into solid ice which isolated us from the outside elements. The interior temperature in the igloo stayed at a constant two degrees Centigrade. | am fairly certain that | am not revealing any military secrets. After all the tourists, natives and even Eskimos knew about it, but these obvious facts had to be scientifically proven.
From this same period | also remember a dog. He was a Great Pyrenees named Baca. Baca considered himself to be the lodge's guardian. We became friends because | managed to feed him on the side. Baca was chained during the day but ran loose at night. He did not carry a wine cask on his collar and did not rescue lost tourists but he did bark when anyone approached. He became very interested in our igloo. | do not know whether
it was because of boredom or desire to play but as soon as he was released from the chain he came to us. He always came just as we were falling asleep and woke us by scratching on the walls demanding to let him in. He also like to urinate on the igloo and we, of course, were the ones accused of the crime.
YEAR fourth year meant
lots of studying,
We has a lot of quizzes and had to pass general pathology. During the pathology exam we had to diagnose a disease based on a histological study
of cells under the microscope.
of laborious pouring over dreds of prepared slides. diseased ones. The cells combination of color and
for this exam
the microscope and viewing hundreds and hunHealthy tissue cells absorb different dyes than of diseased tissue also change shape. The shape of the cells determine the diagnosis. The
pictures under the microscope are colorful and have fantastic shapes, like an abstract painting or hieroglyphics. | spent endless hours in our pathological
museum in a room lined with shelves full of Jars filled with specimens of human brains, tumors and embryos - (one of them with two heads) - learning
to read these
When | got tired | would stare out of the dirty window into Usually, the janitor sat under this window. He liked the students ferred as doctors and the students liked him because (God bless the exams he would cue the students as to what was under the
the sky. who rehim) during microscope.
But normally he was bored and so was I, and one day, maybe because of the dirty window, we started talking about dust. | do not quite remember our
conversations but | remember the janitor's philosophy. "It is best" he said "not to touch the dust because once you touch it you immediately notice it." That year, beside studying, | spent lot of time doing community service at the Medical Club and practicing fencing. During that period a well known bacteriologist and specialist in blood grouping Dr. Ludwig Hirszfeld introduced the Medical Club to the importance of blood transfusions in treating 16
many diseases. As a result the Medical Club formed the very first Blood bank in Poland. During the same year the older students and Members of Medical Circle were involved in teaching school children the importance of
and first aid.
part of this group
and spent a lot of time
teaching Red Cross courses in Warsaw's schools. Our military superiors looked favorably on the Cadet's involvement in community work. A military hysician was expected to be involved in the well being of the civilian popuation.
for the local population.
military training the Army
a free clinic
PARADES A Parade - according to the dictionary - is a collection of troops assembled for review. The first parade | ever saw was on Saski Square (as
it was called then in Warsaw), May 1923. soldiers and noisier the sound of the boots
The evenness of the rows of on the pavement were supposed
in unison yet ran away
to indicate the better trained troops. so.
We all know, however, that it is not
battles. Our heroic Polish light cavalry regiment, victorious in Samosierra (1808) discredited themselves during the parade in Vienna before Napoleon. SPS participated in many parades both important ones like the 3rd of May,
Polish independence day or on the 11th of November (since 1918) and less important ones like on our school anniversary or, for example, before the Rumanian King. We averaged 5 parades per year which means that each cadet during his 5 year tenure paraded at least 25 times. We also paraded a
lot for practice. Probably because of our University connection, our school was always the first to march in every parade. It was the way the military
its respect for education.
The honor of marching first was not always advantageous.
start to play only when
approached the viewing stand and the first sound of drums come in harmony with our steps. It was awkward to adjust beat. As a result, it provided an opportunity for revenge by the cavalry. But first | have to explain our relationship with officer schools:
of the combat
cavalry officer schools.
except the cavalry.
the first military column
did not always our step to the some officer of cadets of other artillery and
We had a wonderful relationship with all of them
in the cavalry were
basically cordial and
friendly, but some of them carried their share of petty arrogance toward us cadets. With all due respect for the cavalry we kept our eyes on the disdainful ones. If one of them showed up at one of our parties well, that was a pity. We never had any open fights or anything overt. We were actually so pleased to have him as a guest that each of us invited him to have a drink. Dance
drink after drink and
it the Calvary
ets weaker. Quite often the fellow, encouraged by one of our female riends, would fall madly in love and it was up us to offer this officer-to-be our sympathy by offering him a drink to help him get over it. If on the other hand the cavalry man would show up with his own girl, it would be our duty to take her away from him. Occasionally it lead to a duel. We had among us "masters of the saber." However it was not a bloody meeting to draw the first or last blood.
The saber was
on the table and
along we lined up vodka shots. We drew who would take the first drink and than the "duelists" would alternate shots until one fell down. In comparison 17
to other officer's schools we were at a disadvantage. officer status
or three years
They obtained their
had to wait until we
finished medical studies, about six years. In other words someone who graduated from High School could become an officer long before we did, there was always the danger that a former young cavalry cadet would have chance for revenge. And so it happened. One of them became a squadron officer of the General Staff of the Polish Army. He planned his reve nge on our school. During the parade the leaders of all the cadet schools ro horses. The horses that our school used belonged to the General Staff and this was how our friend planned his revenge. He assigned us horses that were not parade trained. The stands were full. All the officials were pres-
ent. The Army was on the march with our school in the lead. As our riders approached the stands the entire band, the drums, trumpets and all started о play. Our horses cowered. The conspirator did not know that our leader
ol. Dr. Maszadro was a
first rate horseman and next to him rode our riding
coach, assigned to us from the Calvary, and our own Cadet Lewicki, an excellent horseman. They immediately subdued their horses and very few
noticed anything untoward. The investigation revealed the culprit. Supposedly he was punished. Despite the pranks, if any one of us obtained an assignment to the cavalry after graduation, they were warmly welcomed. Though we basically did not like to parade, each one of us with the flags and bands, ended up in a trance, lost his individuality and became part of the marching unit. No one admitted, at any time, that a parade was one of the great event's of one's life yet in retrospect it was. | would like to conclude my recollections of parades book: "My Life as Military Doctor."
"The best parade that | remember, was not in front of president and a general but in front of St. Jadwiga’ High School for Girls. We were returning from Mokotowski Field via Ujazdowski Boulevard and we were. giving Warsaw's public on the sidewalks something to look at. We marched all the way to Three Cross Square. At one point we found ourselves in front of the school filled with screaming teenage girls. Automatically we fell into parade formation turning our heads to the right (each one of us looking for a pretty face, there were more than a few). That was the Parade."
COMPETITION It was
time for a very important
a preliminary to the
Army championship. My opponent was a lieutenant in the artillery. The judge was an excellent fencer, a member of Polish Olympic team. After two encounters | was leading by two points. During the third encounter
risked a hard
cut to the head
responded with a hard cut to his side. He did not have time to repel my attack and | hit him in the elbow so hard that he dropped his saber, his arm hang down limp. | picked up his saber and handed it to him. | could see that he had a hard time moving his arm. | stood in the ready position and waited. The judge asked the lieutenant if he could continue. "Yes," he 18
answered. The judge gave the signal to start. | didn't make a move, | couldn't in good conscience fight an injured man. | stood with my saber pointed
lieutenant with obvious
difficulty raised his weapon.
arm shook from the effort. He approached me and tapped me on the shoulder. The judge awarded him a point. 1 point still in my favor. | could not comprehend what was happening. | could with the greatest ease knock the saber out of his hand and strike him wherever | wished. | did not know whether he was extremely brave or whether he had cunningly figured out that he was deafing with a noble but naive individual and had decided to take advantage of the situation. At the time though, | thought only of one thing: this man is injured and | cannot fight an injured man. | heard the calm voice of the judge say "two to two." He gave the signal for the next bout which once again did not happen because | stood my ground, my weapon pointing to the ground. The lieutenant repeated his action. "three to two" in favor of the lieutenant. | was consumed with rage against the judge, the lieutenant and the world. " | will strike him so hard the he won't know what hit him." | composed myself. Perhaps the judge would realize what was happening and redeem my honor. It may have been that the judge admired the will of my opponent
his injuries kept on fighting.
war, it was a sporting event.
lieutenant was declared the winner. My Father was in the audience.
an idiot, you
My honor did not allow me to strike an injured with the same
results and the
His only comment to me was "You're
can only act the gentleman
in the company
gentleman." | was eliminated, the lieutenant recuperated and eventually won third place. There are several notions and definitions of honor. Slogans "God and the Motherland" or "Honor and the Motherland" interchanged in military
on the historical and
man of honor is a man who is noble, righteous, without sin, with dignity and
respect for others - someone
will do no harm
or the weak. Cadets were required to follow the Officers's Code of Honor. During lectures on the subject we learned the Code existed only when dealing with other men of honor. We also were taught to react when confronted with dishonorable men. An officer must use whatever weapon he has at hand. At that moment | simply shrugged my shoulders. The instructor, who was not a physician, noticed my reaction and asked if | had anything to say оп the subject. | said that as a medical student and future physician | didn't quite understand what it was all about. When honor is involved, the people on both sides must be men of honor. Men of honor will do nothing dishonorable. A dishonorable person is either crazy, drunk or ill. Therefore there is no honorable
reason to kill him.
a primitive and
nevertheless | said it. The room became silent. The instructor did not respond and shortly afterwards he changed the subject. | forgot the incident
After the War,
| ran into one of my
Apparently right after the incident the instructor requested a special hearing of the school board to demanded that | be expelled. The board threw the case out. A clear indication of intelligence and the code-of-honor among officer-physicians.
During Winter break in 1937, right after Christmas, my friends and |
went gain to the Czrnochora Mountains. There were four of us, each an excellent skier and experienced tourist. The last part of this trip was the
descent from a Mountain called Breskul.
As we skied down we passed huge
overhanging snow banks, picturesque but extremely dangerous. We cautiously continued our descent. Carefully, one after another, we slowly
zigzagged our way down. behind.
There were two guys in front of me and one
got about two-thirds
of the way
was just about to ski around a rock when - it all happened in a fraction of the second - | noticed that the guy in front of me changed directions and strangely slid down. In reality he wasn't skiing, the snow was moving under
| can still see it - his hands
balance as he disappeared in a cloud of snow. lued myself to the wall beneath
a rock shelf.
- flapping to keep
Instinctively | jumped and
like an incredible earthquake. From the top of the mountain of snow, earth and rocks slid down. Everything bounced off was hiding under. Barely holding on, | felt like | was behind waterfall, only water wasn't falling, but the mountain was.
noise! Was it ever Suddenly it did. were my companions? snow | was surrounded
huge amounts the rock shelf | the wall of giant The avalanche!
going to stop? The silence that followed was unbearable. Where | crawled from under the rock. Instead of white by rocks, dirty snow, big slabs of bare ground and
below me naked trees. | could see no one. Slowly the shock began to wear off. Where were my friends? | looked around and saw on my left a man emerging from the forest. He was not wearing skis. As he came closer, | recognized him. As we were skiing down he waited at the edge of woods for us to get a little bit ahead. He saw everything. He saw the first skier slashing at the hanging snow bank and sliding down with it. He saw the subsequent waves of snow sliding down one after the other. Like giant stairs, step after step they came to the edge of the cliff. He saw the cliff broke off. He didn't see me jump under the rock. He thought that all of us went down with the avalanche. We threw ourselves into a frenzy, trying to locate our friends. Perhaps
still alive under the snow.
called their names.
tried frantically to find something. We called out again and again. Silence. Nothing. God knows where those skiers came to rest. A couple of other skiers came by. They also had seen what happened. One of them decided to go down to the lodge and summon help. | asked him to wire my parents that | was OK. He took my address and left. It was getting dark and we saw a whole row of lights coming toward us. Everyone from the lodge, grabbing any tools they could find, came to help. They were led by the lodge
Everyone spread out and searched the snow inch by inch. Soon other help arrived, including the Red Cross rescue team. Someone built a fire, and soon we had tea and food. Toward morning, the border guard patrol arrived to help. It was full daylight when the lodge keeper came to us and ordered us to go down
ing the search.
to the lodge and
plenty of others
After a week of searching, the bodies of our
The thought that at the time they were still alive under snow when
until | heard
a radio report that the
bodies had been crushed and they had died instantly.
| returned to Warsaw on the radio.
| learned that my parents had heard about
with death, was it yet another warning?
grateful for my telegram.
If so it was not the first time.
years earlier | had an accident during the glider training course. ing up high. | turned my rudder, it stuck. | fell into a tail spin.
| was | was
fighting the rudder when suddenly | noticed that the earth's surface was above me, not under me. With all my strength | jerked the steering line on
the outside of the glider and landed on the opposite slope of the hill. The glider and | were in one piece, but the people on the other side of the slope who saw the glider tail spin were sure that | had crushed.
My fight instructor saw the whole thing from the other side of the Right after the fall he inspected the glider and asked me about what
It was mechanical -- the sat down. | noticed that pulled my legs under me After that incident ence,
that the accident
not the result of pilot error.
steering column had jammed. When he finished, | my calf muscles were shaking uncontrollably. | and no one noticed. | lost the desire to fly. After my avalanche experi-
| put myself
er? Why? "Who is destined to hang will not drown." | concluded that the two accidents proved that | was a lucky person. | was, and am still, always
My then current girlfriend and | were not getting along.
that | was One
Did she feel
not what she expected? Was | too critical of her? Who knows? day, after a visit to my parents, | boarded a tram on the corner of
Filtrowa and Raszynska streets. The tram number was 25. On the tram stood Murka. | was in shock. That evening at Mr. and Mrs. Twardo rushed back to me, | forgot about sports, the avalanche and everything else. "Good morning." "Good morning." (she had those goreous dark eyes!) “What are you doing in this part of town?" | asked. "I live here." "Where?" “Number 2 Korzeniowska Street." "So close! Why have we never met?" "Must have been fate." "Fate has caused us to meet again." It turned out that we were destined to meet. She told me that she was now a student of Natural Sciences at the university. We talked and talked as we were old friends. After that meeting we continued to meet. We felt compelled to see each other more and more. We were very comfortable in each other's company and we agreed on everything. We thought the same way. | began to feel very happy. | do not remember when we started using our first names. Very soon we felt we were made for each other. One
former girl friend with a male
were walking, hand in hand, laughing. They didn't notice me. | knew it was a good omen. | was ready to kiss her companion for giving me my freedom.
INCIDENTS AT THE UNIVERSITY This was a period when the "Jewish problem" began at the university.
in the form
of the Nazi
Poland. The movement, in its Polish edition, unlike in Germany, was economically and not racially oriented. The main issue was the dis roportionate number of Jews and Poles in the white collar professions. 10% of the Polish population was of Jewish descent, but 40% of lawyers and over 50% of Doctors were Jewish. The right wing students demanded that the number
of Jews in the professions should reflect their number in the general population. Their demands became emphatic. The harassment of Jewish students
began by trying to force them to sit on the left in the classroom, separating
from the rest of the class.
to their defense
harassed. Deliberately most of the students ignored these demands. Students in uniform, began to sit scattered on both sides of the classrooms. Fist fights became quite common. | did not witness this kind of situation in
medical school. Maybe the presence of so many uniforms had something to o with it. During that period the cancellation of classes at the University was not
uncommon. There were times that our superiors at SPS assigned extracurricular military training classes, which prevented us from attending the
University. ! was worried about Murka, with her looks she could easily be taken for a Jew. | knew that she purposefully sat on the left side of the lecture
hall. Fortunately no one attacked her. She was a witness to many beatings and she told me about an incident when one of her Jewish friends was pulled, by her hair, down the stairs in physics classroom. At one meeting at the Medical Circle, there was a heated discussion of
was | think, the Vice-President of the club. He asked to speak. He managed to calm down the audience and he declared that he had to resign from his position because, as he said: "lam not Aryan." The room fell silent. Nobody expected him to be a Jew. "| am Tartar." he said. Later | found out that he is a direct descendant of Genghis-Khan, which was confirmed when his descendants were given the title of Prince by Polish King Zygmund 1. ITALY Andrzej Bobola was scheduled to be canonized in Rome in the Spring of 1938. Both my parents were very religious and wanted to make the pi grimage to Rome. We discussed the possibility of the trip. My Mother, who had a weak heart, decided not to go, fearing for her health. Seeing how much my Father wanted to visit Rome and on the way to visit Vienna, | suggested that instead of my Mother we should take Murka with us. Murka wanted
but there was
of her parents
presented t е situation to her parents. | argued that since my n't go, her ticket would be wasted, and since my Father was would be well chaperoned. Murka's parents were finally won being a military Cadet, | obtained a leave of absence from my
Mother couldgoing, Murka over. Next, superiors. My 22
Father was thrilled. He had been in Siberia, where his parents were deported for their participation in the Polish insurrection against Russia (1863). He
had traveled through Russia but had never visited the West. Murka and | went about taking care of the formalities. When it came to buying the tickets. She looked at me with her beautiful black eyes: " Buy tickets? You said that your Mother ticket was already bought and that it would go waste." "Don't you remember what | said?" (I never lie.) "My Mother really wanted to go, the ticket would be wasted even if it was never bought" .... She
on the nose
As | planned our stay in Vienna | remembered Helga. | had met the previous year when the Medical Club was hosting foreign students. | es-
corted her to a couple of dances. She, in turn, invited me to see her if | ever happened to come to Austria. | wrote her telling her about our trip. She
agreed to meet us at the train station. The train station in Vienna was decorated in red and white flags with black swastikas. Helga met us. She was wearing a swastika on the lapel of er coat. " What is the meaning of all this?" | asked. " We are delighted! Hitler himself is coming to Vienna." It was only a month since the Austrian annexation to Germany. | had expected flags of mourning. But no, not Austria - "One People, One Reich One Fuhrer..." Not only the train station, but the whole of Vienna was decorated with German flags with swastikas. Public buildings, private homes... swastikas and swastikas. It looked like it was some kind of freak show. We were uncomfortable with it but in our naivete we did not think it as a dangerous situation. (All the men and women in Vienna wore swastika pins on their lapels.) Helga, despite the swastika, turned out to be a friendly and good guide to Vienna.
Beside Vienna ad Rome, we also visited Venice, Padua and Milan. In each city we took guided tours. In Venice we met a lot of people suffering from arthritis caused by the humidity. At Doges Palace, we were shown a huge old painting of a Polish king. There was nothing Polish on the painting and the guide did not know which king it was. | found out later that it was a painting
of Polish King
(Henri de Valois
King of France. . We had another Polish surprise in St. Mark's square. We were approached by a young blue-eyed blond man. He was very happy to hear Polish being spoken because ". . . here you can't have a decent conversation in any human language with anybody." He introduced himself - Jan Swirk. We
him to have
during a sermon in his rural church in Poland, the priest mentioned
He asked the priest about
priest told him
marvels of the Holy City. The story fascinated him and he decided to see it for himself. He asked how far it was from his village. "Not far if you have money," the priest replied. Mr. Swirk sold his cow. We met him on his way
to Rome. He stopped in Venice at the suggestion of the priest. My Father invited him to visit us in Warsaw and Mr. Swirk in turn asked my Father to
come and spend Summer in his village not far from Lublin. In parting we asked him how he managed to communicate with the Italians. He said he puts
together and says,
- Hitler - Pilsudski."
Italians laugh at that and invite him into restaurants. hungry and the beer here is not too bad," he said.
"lI eat when
From Venice we went on to Padua and visited the site where the first
dissection of the human body (in the middle ages) took place. A great triumph of science. We stopped to see Milan and then continued on to Rome. We could not believe our eyes. The whole city was decorated in Italian and German
flags with swastikas for Hitler's visit. We felt like we were in the middle of a soap opera, wherever we go Hitler goes. Before the canonization
and the Vatican. more
All along we had wonderful weather.
| liked the warmth
days to see Rome
Each day | gained and
She also impressed me with her intelligence while dis-
cussing the history and
art of the places
| realized that there was
more to Murka than met the eye. She was a very serious person with a wonderful sense of humor. | also notice my Father's genuine affection for this traveling companion. | was
with the many
particular | was amazed at the amount of cats. Since the time of the Roman Empire they could be seen in the ruins, gardens and parks, the cat population had grown. All were short haired, gray and wild. Murka, my Father and | were
our food scraps
and fed the cats who
turn were very affectionate. Besides cats, Rome had its share of homeless ogs. . One day, when we were tired, we stopped in a cafe, a small place with about three or four tables. The low shelves with cookies and candy.
door was open. By the wall there were We were drinking espresso when a
dog barged in, lifted a leg and marked the shelf. No one seemed to notice, but we made sure that we never ate anything from the lower shelves of coffee shops. On a different occasion we went to fairy large restaurant. We walked in talking and laughing and were immediately snushed. We quietly sat down at a corner table. From the radio we heard a tenor singing some aria. When he was
done the whole
a critic and
several men began to discuss and then to demonstrate how the aria should have been sung. Any moment we expected a full fledged riot. When the tenor on the radio started another aria, the restaurant became silent once again. That's Italians for you! Everything in Italy seemed very inexpensive to us. The exchange rate was very favorable. We felt very rich. Once we were approached by an antique jewelry vendor on the street. He suggested | buy a cameo. | do not remember exactly how many lira he wanted but | remember the ratio. When he said 500 lira, | said 5 (I had no intention of buying the cameo). His reaction was incredible. He turned into a mad-man waving his arms, yelling (I am sure obscenities) at me. We laughed and walked away. A few minutes jater he caught up with us and with a great big smile he offered to take 10 ira. | remembered that my Mother asked us to bring her and her friend rosaries. In St. Peters square there were numerous shops with religious articles. Murka and |! walked into one of the stores. The rosaries were beautiful, red, green and rich blue. The prices were marked 100, 200, 500 lira, at the most. The salesman sat us down and showed us rosaries on velvet trays. Murka advised me to buy this one and that one. We picked several. When it came time to pay well these beads turned out to be genuine rubies emeralds and sapphires. The prices marked 100 lira represented 100,000 lira. The salesman carefully counted all the rosaries we were 24
shown while we said our embarrassed good-byes. In St. Peter's square we watched the workers setting up stands for Hitler's official welcome. There were vendors with souvenirs for the occasion. We saw beautiful colorful silk scarves with designs depicting Italian, Japanese and (Hitler's) German flags. We bought some of these scarfs and a few
rosaries for my Mother. St Peter's basilica was built on the site of the tortured death of its patron. On Easter Sunday, 1938 the basilica was the place where another martyr, Pole Andrzej Babola, was canonized. He died during the Chmielnicki Rebellion (1648-1650). Among the crowds of worshipers that afternoon were about 6000 pilgrims from Poland. As the members of an official pilgrimage we had reserved seats in the basilica, which turned out to be excellent. The mass began with a procession headed by monks of high standing from different disciplines. We saw color guards, men in official
colorful uniforms, all the dignitaries of the church - monsignors, bishops, archbishops and cardinals dressed in purple, reds and gold. To the sound of fanfares, the Pope was carried in on his throne. We all dropped to our knees in the presence of Christ's Ambassador to Earth. That is, those of us from Poland. The Italians greeted the Pope with whistles, hand clapping and cheers which was shocking - two different responses, ours of reverence and
theirs of joy. Later that night the basilica was bathed in lights and looked magnificent. There were thousand of lights flickering. We had to take a picture. (I had gain some distance in order to get that perfect picture). We pushed our way up to the stands built for Hitler's welcome. | had the whole view in
focus and.... something cracked.....something swayed....and | woke up ina Hospital bed with Murka holding my hand. My Father was next to the bed with a very worried look in his eyes. | had no idea how | came to be there. npparently
| fell off.
In the morning
for you to St. Andrzej
out of the
That June, | completed my clinical studies, all the required laboratory courses and | passed my end of the year exam in pathology. It was time for a vacation. | invited Murka to go with me on a kayak trip to Augustowskie Lakes. | knew the area well - a ride to Suwalki, then to Biale and Wigry lakes via Czarna Hancza by boat. I'd made that trip before with friends. She agreed providing that someone else accompany us. Disappointed | agreed. On the trip, Murka sat in the front of my kayak and was a strong paddler. | discovered that she was also a good swimmer. cooked
| regarded myself an excellent field cook. My specialties were groats with bacon, potatoes baked in ashes and sweet rice cooked with
sugar and prunes. However Murka's fried fish tasted better than mine. One very dark night we had an unusual adventure. We set up camp on the edge of the lake. | hid the kayak in the bushes behind our tent. | was awaken by a noise behind the tent. It sounded like someone was trying to sneak off with our kayak. With a flashlight in my left hand and my pistol in my right | slowly crawled out of the tent. In the beam of my flashlight | saw the culprit - a small squirrel inside the kayak. She was not scared of me 25
She actually hissed, sworing at me for the interruption. Murka quickly learned the basics of camping and nature preservation. We carefully obliterated all sign of our camping; the garbage was buried and the fire put out, covered with earth so there was no sign of it left. Scouting taught me to respect and coexist with nature. The quiet life of nature was to be enjoyed. The rustle of tree leaves, the humming of water, the croaking of frogs and bird songs were all part of that quietude. he weather was wonderful, no rain. Evenings by the campfire were very romantic.
to the conclusion that Murka
companion and would be so for the rest of my life. Ah! | forgot our companion on this trip turned out to be a little stuffed dog that is still with us. It is 57-years old now.
SHOCK The kayak trip over, we came back to Warsaw and Murka continued on to visit her parents in Nisko. | was on the way to my yearly military camp.
On the way
to the camp,
my train stopped
at the railroad junction
Rozwadow, a town not too far from Nisko. | managed to telephone Murka and told her we would be passing through Nisko. | stood with my friends in the open door of the moving train and next to the rails stood Murka with her mother and sister. She threw like a javelin a long stem of honeysuckle, right on target. | caught the flower in the air. At the camp | kept the flower by my
Murka's parents lived in Nisko along the San river because the settlement in Stalowa Wola was not yet finished. Her father Ludwik Tolwinski was the chief engineer in charge of building the steel mill and housing devel-
Steel Mills and
part of a govern-
ment industrial project of which Poland was very proud. The name Stalowa Wola had been coined during a conversation at the dinner table in Murka's parents
Murka's Father and his older brother, Waclaw were born in Vilnius.
Eventually the family
to St. Petersburg
in order for their sons to
complete their education. Both brothers became graduate engineers. Waclaw taught at the Polytechnic, Ludwik signed a contract to build a transSiberia railroad. He came back to St.Petersburg right before the Bolshevik Revolution where Murka was born. Not all of them survived the revolution and typhus epidemic. Murka's brother died from disease and starvation. Murka's family returned to Poland in 1922. The trip from St. Petersburg in a overcrowded train took two months. At the Polish border, 5-year old Murka for the first time tasted chocolate and an orange given to her by a Polish soldier.
She tried to eat the orange
like an apple.
The greatest accomplishment of Murka's Uncle Waclaw was the building of the great dam on the Dnieper River called Dnieprostroy. Stalowa Wola was the major accomplishment of Murka's Father. During camp, | received a wire. It was from Murka informing me of the sudden death of her Father. She was very close to him and his death was
a great shock to her.
| longed to be with her and | managed to obtain a short leave from camp. All three of them, Murka, her Mother and her sister Barbara were in deep mourning. Her Mother and Barbara were in a complete state of shock. 26
Murka held her own and took charge of the family. The widow's friends took Murka's mother under their wing. She was left with a pension and obtained license to operate the tobacco exchange in the region. The income was enough to support the family and to finish the education of the girls. At the end of the Summer | met with Murka in Warsaw. We saw each other every day and our relationship grew. The weather that Fall was beautiful and we took advantage of it by taking several kayak trips on the Vistula River. | asked her about her father's opinion of me. "He liked you. He said that you were a presentable and good man but with a tendency toward self-depreciation.” | though about it for a long time. | think he was rignt.
ZAOLZIE | was
in my final year student
at the medical
culminated in the qualifying exams for medical degree candidacy. All of our military obligations, including officer exams were From our last SPS camp one photograph of a parade survived. In of three riders, there | am with lance and banner! On my left, the noncommissioned officer and on my right Tadzio Mockallo. After
behind us. the middle hands of a our last
we received the rank of sergeant senior cadet. In the meantime the news from the rest of the world became ominous. Hitler, whose presence in Austria and Vienna had been very annoying to us,
became a dominant force in European politics. He annexed Czechoslovakia Swastika flags flying in Hradczan! The Germans were now threatening us from the South and from across the Polish - German border. In October of 1938 the Polish Army moved to regain Zaolzie. Was it
to secure the southern
historians do not consider this a
wise move. At the time, however, it was like a flicker of sun among the clouds for us young soldiers. Polish history has glorified the bravery of soldiers and leaders in heroic
battles, but all of these victories have lead to political disasters and divisions of Poland. The only exception was the War of 1920 which under the
leadership of Pilsudski ended in a genuine victory. There Poland regained what was taken away, including Zaolozie. In 1919 our country fought for independence
on five different
retention of Lwéw, Germany for both Poznan and Slask territories and with Czechoslovakia which attacked us from the South annexing Zaolzie and creating a sixth front. ews of our retaking Zaolzie brought back memories of my scouting years. Seven years before on Weltawa river in the shadows of Hradczan castle, we scouts had built a huge camp fire. Thousands of Polish Boy Scouts listened to a talk given by the Commander in Chief of the Polish Scout Association, Scoutmaster Dr. Grazynski. (He was also the governor of Slask.) He was recalling that on the shores of this river, in this exact place, Polish King (992-1025) Boleslaw Chrobry's Army had set up camp. After that, about 300 Polish scouts went on a hiking trip through Zaolzie. My troop was among them. | still have my scouting diary with the stamp "from the 2nd to 12th day in the month of July 1931, during the return trip from
in hiking camp.
From the Morawska
Ostrawa to Bucze - Scouting troops carried to the Polish towns and villages 27
regards from motherland. Stay safe! (signed) Marjan Lowinski ." Three hundred Scouts covered the entire Zaolzie territory. No village or town went
They were all Polish. With these memories | considered myself ideally suited to be participating in a military action in Zaolzie. | requested for transfer “because | know Zaolzie. After all | had walked its length and breath." My wish was not granted.
Soon after that action Poland issued beautifully designed postage stamps with caption "The return of Zaolzie to the Motherland." ENGAGEMENT Murka was still in mourning and | felt obligated to be in mourning with her. The only entertainment we allowed ourselves was an occasional trip to the movies or theater. We met often because we always had things to tell each other. We discussed religion, politics, arts and everyday affairs. Our friends and
used to the idea that we
the 8th of December we were engaged. The engagement party took place in Stalowa Wola. This was the first time | met the young engineers who were working with Murka's father. | was scrutinized by all them. They wanted to be sure that Murka (| am sure some of them had a crush on her) had chosen a suitable man. Also among the guests were Jésef Rakowski and Helenka, a housekeeper
's family house.
The more time | spent with Murka's mother the more | liked her. | was even tolerated by Murka's 14 year old sister, Basia. | had also won the approval of two Siamese cats, Jasia and Kuba. Jasia used to sit on my lap and purr when | scratched her behind the ears; Kuba was less trusting. | felt
that | belonged
to the family.
FINAL EXAMINATIONS In order to get a medical jects divided into 7 groups. | ad 12 left in 3 groups: V, VI particular order for taking the their assigned order. In group
degree we had to take 23 exams in 26 subalready completed 11 exams in 4 groups. | and VII. Within these groups there was no exams, but you had to complete all groups in
had to pass exams
pediatrics, neurology, psychiatry and urology. included
In group VI, surgery which
ophthalmology. In Group VII, forensic medicine and general hygiene. By early Spring | passed three exams including pediatrics. One can classify people in different ways, some are tall some are short. Some are night owls some are early risers. | belonged to the later category. | got up at 5 am and even with an afternoon break of 5 hours, | studied about 10 hours a day. When the weather was nice | would meet Murka at noon at the marina where | kept my kayak and sail, and we would go sailing. Some people do not like kayaks and are of the opinion that kayaking was like seeing the world through a frog's eyes. For us it meant water,
on the water,
dinner and then spend
four to five hours studying,
and | would begin again in the morning. pale, tired and
then a few
While all the other students looked
Unfortunately, my system backfired. One day | was scheduled to take my internal medicine exam at 11 o'clock. After the exam with Professor G., | had planned to go to the marina. Since my keel had broken a couple of days before, | stopped at the repair shop to pick it up on the way to the exam. There were three large pieces wood. | tied them all together and left
in the corner of the professor's
came, took one look and asked what this was. “The keel to my sail," | answered. He looked
nervous students. | could feel that he resented a young suntanned student in uniform whose priority seemed to be a kayak. "What can you tell me about pneumonia," he asked. | answered. | thought | had answered very well. it was a subject that | had
paid particular attention to.
symptoms, pathological changes, a prognosis and a treatment plan. | spoke fluently, almost reciting the book. He was looking at me and doodling with his pencil.
| did not know
what to answer.
or less paraphras-
ing what | said before. "The pathological changes cause" .......... “means that" ....... "| heard that already, what else?" What in the world did he want? | said something but without any confidence. "What else?" | could not answer. After long silence he said: " Well, | see you are in a hurry. Come back in a month." There is no justice in this world. | was raving mad. | went to the
keel under my
ON VISTULA Murka and | continued to meet at the marina. We liked to kayak on the Vistula during thunder storms. Maybe it was some kind of instinctive trial; could we cope with life? Not every one approved of our thunder storm escapades, feeling that going out on the river during storms was not a sign of bravery but of stupidity. One of them was the manager of the marina where | kept my kayak. He warned me that if we did not stop sailing during the storms, | would have to find a different marina. | ignored his warning. One
rather far up river, it really got
bad. We had to take down the sail and mast and paddle vigorously to avoid being swamped by waves. Through the sheets of rain we spotted a sailboat in the process of turning over. The waves kept rolling over the capsized hull. Its keel looked like a shark's fin I'd seen in a movie. Most of the crew was in the water and one of them was frantically holding on to the keel. He looked like a flattened frog. We had to help. The force of the wind increased. "Paddle toward them!" | yelled to Murka, and we paddled with all our strength. | noticed that the sailboat's crew was in a state of panic and no one was making any effort to right the boat. 29
"Attention, everyone alee!"
They heard me and listened. ordered the "frog" to point the end
Everyone was moved into place. of mast into the wind.
' Hey ye! rock the boat" | yelled, "Hey one! Hey two! Hey three!," the
boat was turning "Hey yel,"
upward. | yelled.
a critical moment.
The sail and mast were now on the surface and ail that was left to do was to rock the boat until the wind caught the sail and pull it upright. | was counting on the crew to recognize this moment and to keep the boat from the wind blowing it over to its other side. | worried that someone would get hit in the head by the boom or mast or get tangled up in the lines. | yelled, "Hey ye! Look out for the lines!" Everything happened as it was supposed to. The wind picked up the sail, lifted the boat which started to sail off with the mast up and sails flapping.
it into the boat and the
“frog” took command!
Danger passed, the storm subsided. The "frog" waved to me. "Ahoy, and thanks!" he yelled. | recognized the "frog." It was the Club's manager. | wonder if he ever recognized me?
It was time to retake my internal medicine exam. This time | felt very sure of myself. The professor looked at me and asked, "What can you tell me about pneumonia?" | answered.
He said, "What else?" ! answered again. He did not like it.
"You are to report to the Internal Medicine Department in (Ujazdowski Hospital for a month of practicum. After that come back here."
! was furious. | was still suntanned. He probably still remembered my keel. Did he think that having a suntan and kayaking during examination period was a breach of the school code?
It was not only the loss of the month that bothered me. It was the embarrassment of being behind my friends. The first ones to pass all the
exams were Wiesiek Lasinski and Witold Zabron. (Wiesiek, who was my roommate during the last year of school, completed his PhD medical work under the worst possible circumstances, in a German prison camp. His subject was the configuration of lines on the human palm. He used his fellow prisoners’ palms as the basis for his research). During the’ month at the hospital | passed the rest of the exams in group V. | could not take exams in group VI until | passed internal medicine. After the assigned period | came back to the Professor to take my exam again. The Professor looked at me with a smile and without a single word
signed the form was
After that | passed t the exams in group
ready for group
V and VI with flying colors.
...» WAR! Germany attacked us simultaneously from the North, South and West at dawn on the first of September 1939. This was the beginning of a trage-
dy that no one had foreseen. When news of the attack arrived | was Day. Everyone was in a very somber mood.
on duty as the Officer-of-theWAR! Special telephones that
had been dead for years suddenly came to life. There was a lot of activity all around me. The ranking officers arrived and we all waited for orders from
the higher ups.
n the city the following messages appeared on the walls: Notice from the President Recent Aggression against
| declare in the name of God and History this night our eternal enemy has begun an act of aggression against the Polish State. As
of this moment
The entire Polish Nation will, with God's blessing, fight arm in arm
with our arm
1st of September,
It was still morning when | called Murka at Mrs. Pilsudski's home on Klonowa Street. Murka was a guest at the "Stone Manor," Pilsudski's
had a toothache and wanted to see a dentist. If they had stayed in the country as scheduled, their return to Warsaw would have been impossible. | think | was the first to inform them about the German attack. CWS became a hub of activity. Ujazdowski Hospital was in transition. Military doctors on active duty were leaving for their mobilization posts and were replaced by reserves. Patients were transferred to different hospitals order to have room for the expected flood of wounded. CWSan ceased to
Ujazdowski Hospital became Field Hospital No. 104. All the cadets and officers of SPS were briefed by commanding officer Col. Dr. Maszadro. "We are at war. It is time for us to disband in order for us to assume our mobilization assignments. We must fulfill our duty to our country. All the cadets in the fourth, fifth and six years of school will be promoted to the rank of second
assigned posts. Victory awaits "Hail Colonel!" Thus | became an officer, equipment: a Sam Browne belt, gas mask. The War caught me ed animation. We were officers
will receive your promotion
by mail at your
a second lieutenant. | received my officer's cape, atlas, pistol (Polish brand Vis) and a and my colleagues in a moment of suspendbut in the uniforms of Cadet-Sergeants. We 31
were medical doctors but without diplomas. Neither here nor there. When the first bombs hit Warsaw, at night it looked like fire. We could see the reflectors and hear our anti-aircraft guns. We were allowed to leave our quarters but we were required to leave a phone number where we could be reached. | was able to say good-bye to my parents and to my гапсее.
On Filtrowa street, where my parents lived, all the windows were already taped with paper in order to prevent them from cracking. When | came in, my Father was listening to War reports on the radio. They were not very encouragin and left no room for optimism. My parents were well aware what the War meant. They were survivors of WW | and of the
Bolshevik Invasion in 1920. | also said an emotional good-bye to Felus, a beautiful Siamese cat given to me as an engagement present from Murka. The cats in our family were treated equally with people and had people names. He was a son of Jasia and Kuba in Stalowa Wola and was loved by all of us. | cuddled Felus in my arms and promised him that | would return. He in turn purred
Saying good-bye to Murka was even more emotional. Despite knowing of the hardships awaiting us, we were not afraid. We had to think ahead. In the event that we both survived the War we agreed to meet at my parent's apartment on Filtrowa Street. In the event that the building was destroyed we were to leave a message on the remaining wall at the corner of Filtrowa and Mianowski Streets as to our whereabouts. Murka's family lived in Stalowa Wola but Murka chose to stay in Warsaw. She assured me that she would take care of my parents. Three days after Germany attacked Poland, Great Britain declared war
on Germany. Soon after, the English were joined by France. Crowds of Warsovian's cheered in front of the English and French Embassies. Polish Radio
German Airplanes flying moment the British and
In the meantime
second day of War they destroyed the city of Lw6w in Lublin.
over the city. Poles were convinced that at any French Air Forces would attack the German Industrial
army training centers,
and the aircraft factory
and farms. They destroyed everything leaving a trail of total chaos. Our hospital received wounded at a staggering rate. It was a sign of the front moving ever closer to Warsaw. | experienced shock at the sight of so many
seriously wounded. | saw soldiers crying not from pain but from defeat and despair. Only yesterday they were reaching for victory. | begun to call each
soldier "brother." | was awaiting my assignment. During that time | spent as much time as possible with Murka, either at Wanda's or in my parent's home. As an member of the P.W.K. (Polish Women Army Auxiliary Corps) Murka also waited for an assignment. In the mean time she was digging, together with Mrs. Pilsudski and her daughters, anti-aircraft ditches designed for protection of civilians. The ditches were dug in zigzag fashion since no one knew from which direction the next attacks would come. The ditches were dug on streets, Courtyards, plazas and parks. Warning sirens wailed almost con-
every where. had
hid wherever they could,
The number of wounded
and dead increased daily.
During one visit to my parents | found my Father extremely upset.
ordered to evacuate
From the accounts of wounded
with the National
and refugees from the West, | knew could 32
on in the rest of the country.
the reports of people
passing through Warsaw going East, we heard that the Germans were machine gunning the roads from low flying planes killing everything and
everybody that moved. | explained to my Father that he was not in the Army and he did not have to obey orders. He would be much more useful staying in Warsaw. | explained to him that he had to take care of his wife and to
help his neighbors. He understood and listened. [At the age of 65 my Father, a volunteer in the 1920 War, joined a unit of the Home Army during the Warsaw Insurrection in 1945. He helped produce grenades in the basement of the building on Wawelska Street where he was seriously wounded]. Warsaw was in turmoil. Some Government institutions were in the process of evacuation. More and more people volunteered to become ‘Human Torpedoes” volunteering to drive small vehicles filled with dynamite into German Tanks. However nobody in authority had ever heard of these vehicles
did not know
what to do with these
On September 6 , 1939 | received orders to report to Col. Maszadro, Chief of the Medical Staff already in the battlefield at Brzes¢ Fortress оп the River Bug. The Germans by then occupied several towns including Czestochowa, Bydgoszcz and Grudziadz. Murka
| said our final good-byes.
doing was checking our watches. leaving
We both showed the same time.
With regret | put away my officers boots (| should have left them
folks so they could sell them
were to reach
bought with my own money. | packed my duffel bag and my back pack. | packed my gas mask, my provisions and my beloved camera with a supply of film. | checked my pistol and | was ready. | joined my group which was made up of SPS students. The commander of the group was Capt. Zaleski. Our platoon was commanded by Lieutenant D. Both were members of the SPS reserve. We strongly believed that the Allies would enter the conflict at any moment -- a belief shared by the Government, by the military command, b every soldier and by the whole nation. British and French radio was constantly assuring us that they would soon attack Germany. Everyone believed that our fight was to hold off the Germans just long enough for the Allies to join us.- Every soldier who threw a grenade at tanks and cavalry which when surrounded charged German tanks, not to be taken prisoner but fight again, were all attempting to hold the line waiting for the allies to change the course of war... . tomorrow. . . . just tommorow! Going back to my story, aS we were leaving for our assignments our group was issued a heavy machine gun and ammunition. We discovered to our amazement,
destination 180 km away on foot. Soldiers do not ask questions. It may have been because of the bombing and shooting at trains and highways it made sense. Our duty, though, was to get to Brzes¢ as soon as possible. We were also warned about infiltrators in Polish uniforms at the crossroads who were directing military traffic in wrong directions, moving road signs, setting fires setting up ambushes at night or signaling the German Air Force as to 33
the whereabouts of Polish military movements, so called ‘fifth column.’ My best friends, Dobek Czerwinski and Tadek Mockallo were in the same group with me. Dobek was in charge of carrying our CKM (machine
gun), Tadzio carried the support. It was almost noon when we heard the order "airplane, hide"! We hid in the bushes. We saw a plane flying directly toward us. Dobek and Tadzio desperately tried to put the CKM together to shoot. They managed to got one shot off while part of the CKM fell apart! Apparently the weapon was not inspected before assignment. Confusion followed which was made worse by our commanding officer yelled at Dobek, "Do not shoot.” He was afraid that the plane would return and kill us all. We attributed his panic to fear. (Was it caution?). If the CKM was in workng order would Dobek have hit the plane? He would have earned a Medal of onor. The
rest of the day was
angry about the lack of
As we marched down the country roads and lanes we
speculated about our future role in Brzesé. (We had been trained for field hospital duty.) We were hoping that our Promotion Papers were waiting for for
us. We were also sure that the fortress would be able long time. We believed that Polish Army had organized the shores of Bug River and that we would be notified attacked Germany and victory was near. The day was we were on a boy scout outing. In the evening after a reached
the Military Sanitarium
to defend itself for a line of defense at when the Allies beautiful. It felt like 55 km march, we
No one over there had
any Allied involvement.
We still had a long way to go and we needed rest.
tered and fed and
almost the whole
The Sanitarium had been transformed into a hospital. rested
We were quar-
Our spirits rose, especially
after we were assigned a truck to take us all the way to Brzes¢. Only upon reaching the main highway did we realize the enormity of the situation. The road was jammed with refugees going East. They walked, rode bicycles, drove horse-drawn wagons or came in some Cars - anything with wheels. Military transports were trying to get through the crowd. In the ditches next to highway we saw all sorts of bombed mechanical vehicles. Along the road we saw dead people and dead horses. Desperate and exhausted people moved on. One of the woman managed to get in our way and we had no choice but to take her along. The moment she sat down she fell asleep on my shoulder. She was a well known actress from Warsaw. We came to the town of Siedlce after it had been hit by German bombers.
of the people
on the street were
dead. The heat was intense. We slowly drove through the burning street terrified that any moment our gasoline tank would explode. We moved on until we reached the East edge of town. We stopped. The road was quiet and empty. | was hungry and thirsty. Through an open door | walked into an empty
faucet in the kitchen
| took a drink and
filled my canteen. On the shelves | found a jar of cherries. The liquor was gone. | had a brainstorm. | threw my gas mask away and filled the metal container that housed the mask with cherries. They were delicious. As | was walking back to the truck | spotted a mail box. On a piece of cardboard | wrote
a note to Murka:
well. | worry
each other soon. Love- your Slawek." | placed the note that time soldiers did not have to use postage stamps. It write on the letter ‘From a soldier in the field.’ This card several years later after the end of the War. Before | reached the truck | saw a dead soldier. His the open skull were a swarm of yellow jackets. His head
in the mailbox. was enough to reached Murka
face was gone. looked like an
illustration out of our anatomy textbook - Sella Turcica, Hypophyseal Fossa. | could recite the names of the parts except the drawings were slightly marred by bits of brain, blood and attaching yellow jackets.
We continued on. We ran out of gas. With difficulty our commanding officer obtained some and we finally reached Brzesc. We entered the Fortress Military Hospital. It was almost empty. We found wounded being treated by a small band of overworked and exhausted doctors. There was no sign of Colonel Maszadro and his staff. They had moved on further East. Neither our promotions nor further orders were waiting
We were received by a middle aged doctor. | don't remember his name. He had a beard. With his long gray hair flying in the wind he reminded me of a prophet. | will call him that. Since we did not have any orders the "Prophet" immediately assigned four of us, Dobek Czerwinski, Andrzej Jarnuszkiewicz,
me, to his hospital.
job to do.
of the wounded
rest he sent
East in pursuit of Col. Maszadro and his staff. It was already late at night; we slept in our uniforms. In the morning we got up, glad finally to have a Most
Only the severely
wounded and German prisoners remained there. The Prophet assigned three of my colleagues to the severely wounded and | was assigned to the German Prisoners. The severely wounded Germans had been moved to the surgery and were recuperating among the Polish soldiers. They were treated with
the same care. The less wounded prisoners were in my ward. guard by the door was only a formality. None of the prisoners
The armed would
escape. They were petrified of the local population. With a nurse who was sincere, tactful, energetic and was old enough to remember WW I. | entered the ward. The highest ranking German in the ward reported to me in German. | dismissed him with a wave. | knew what he said, since my second language in high school was German. | chose to pretend | could not understand him. | toured the ward to see which patient needed attention the most. The Prophet came in; he and | examined the wounded, talked awhile and then took a break. After eating a thin soup and piece of bread, my nurse and | started the tedious job of changing dressings. We
During that tour,
one of patients
asking, "Sprechen Sie Deutch?" He was ignored. A few minutes later another patient said in Polish that | was doing a good job treating them and he wanted me to remain with them as their doctor. He gratuitously pointed out that | should realize that Poland had lost the War and the German Army would be here in a few days. He told me that he would vouch for me that | was good to them and would keep me from being imprisoned. | heard him but | had a very hard time controlling my temper. After all - as a doctor - | could not slug him. | held my tongue. But the nurse blushed while we both ignored our charge. He took a hint and quit. | would spoke to the prisoners only when | had to asked them about their wounds and then only in Polish. To my surprise the next day the leader of the German ward reported to me in Polish. We worked again until midnight to the accompaniment of Polish artillery and the German bombardment. After three days more medical staff reported to the hospital and we were relieved of some duties. 35
| was assigned to hospital train No.95. The train was packed with wounded. We were to deliver them to the military hospital in Baranowicze. The officer in charge was Lt. Dr. Kazimierz Erecinski, former assistant at the pediatric clinic in Warsaw.
most severly wounded soldiers.
the only coach
on the train with the
The rest of the train was made
cars rebuilt for the care and transportation
uup of freight On the top
of each car, according to the Geneva Convention, a giant red cross was painted
on a white field.
This hospital train was
very well equipped
was not built to accommodate more than five hundred wounded. Dr. Erecinski took care of the most severely wounded. A team of one doctor and one nurse was assigned to two cars. Because of the overcrowding my nurse and | could find but a tiny corner to sleep in. We shared the same ‘covers,’ my blanket and my coat. But not to worry!. While one of us slept the other was on duty. The wounded were relatively calm and their wounds were well dressed for the road.
We were subjected to several air raids. When this happened the train came to a halt and whoever was able detrained and took shelter in bushes and down the embankment. As a sharpshooter | knew bulls eye in a target, for a bomber flying overhead.
how difficult it is to hit a The train is the bull's eye
and the area surrounding the train represented eights and sevens on target. During the raids | stayed in the car. Wounded soldiers took great act of bravery. We never reached Baranowicze. Tadzio Mockallo managed to Col. Maszadro by telephone. He directed our train to proceed South Réwno.
with military transports.
the it as a
more air raids and were forced to make frequent stops while the tracks were fixed. We heard explosions all around us. Later there was another alarm and this time we were the target. Low flying aircraft were machine-gunning the train, using the red crosses as targets. Several soldiers were wounded a second time. The bullets missed my car. Finally, the train continued on. In the middle of the night it again stopped. Our engineer broke under the pressure. He stopped the train, turned off all the ghts and refused to go on. He convinced himself that the track was mined and refused to move. Neither orders nor preading would move him. Finally someone suggested that someone would sit on the front bumper of the locomotive with a flashlight and alert the engineer if there was anything unusual on the tracks. It was a naive plan but it convinced the engineer and he agreed. Our progress that night was slow and tedious. With sunrise, the engineers confidence grew and we proceeded at more reasonable speeds. On September 15 we came to a stop near Maniewicze. The commanding officer, realized that we would not be going any where for several hours, assigned me and another noncommissioned officer to go out in search of some provisions for the wounded. With only two weeks into the War and the villages along roads and railroads were without food. To be more comfortable, | changed into my tennis shoes and we went scavenging. We decided that it would be fruitless to search for food near the tracks So we decided to cut through the forest and try our luck in a more remote village. At one point we smelled something burning. The grass and bushes at the edge of forest were on fire. Realizing that the forest would soon catch fire, spread to the adjoining village, my companion and | started to stamp out 36
the fire. This took us more time than we realized. When we finally reached the village we discovered that even there no food was to be had. We had to return empty handed. It was already late in the afternoon, when we got back and we found our train in ruins. Forty years later in 1979 | found in General Sikorski's Archives of the Polish Army, a report written by Dr. Tadeusz Mockallo describing the events
"Suddenly in the afternoon our train was attacked by German
Czerwinski and | did not stop working. We were trying to calm the patients. Several cars including ours were on fire. Our comrades were burning, the Germans did not stop shooting. We pulled people from the train and tried to extinguish the flames. Dr. Czerwinski covered with blood was determined to
save as many people as possible. In the end there than twenty dead. | lost all ! had in that fire."
My car was among those destroyed. My nurse had not abandoned her wounded. She was buried in a common soldier's grave. After searching the burned out car | found only the insignia from my
On the other side of the tracks
trees | понсед а a woman's bloody stocking with a foot still in it, hanging from a branc Honoring the Red Cross applied only to civilized nations, not to Germany. BUDSLAW By the time
wounded dressed. The Commanding Officer assigned local civilian doctors and slightly wounded medical personnel to stay with the seriously wounded. The slightly wounded, train personnel and my friends started a slow march to the West. Hospital train #95 had ceased to exist. Once again | had found myself without an assignment, once again | was walking. While passing through a small village, | heard music playing on a radio. Suddenly the music stopped and | heard ulletin came on the radio. coud not believe what | heard: The Soviet Army was crossing the Polish order! It was September 1 7th. | ran toward the local train station, where | found trains full of well trained and fully disciplined Polish soldiers. | was taken to the Commanding Officer. He was a slightly built blond with graying hair. | reported to him what | had heard. He looked into my eyes trying to hide his anger. "Do
realize the consequences
of false reports spreading
"| understand- please just verify what | heard."
given up my
| heard was
"Take off your belt and gun. You are under arrest," he ordered. He left and | stood under guard in total silence. After a while the commanding officer came back. He had a very somber look on his face. 37
"| checked. It is true, | am sorry." We shook hands. We talked for a while. | told him that | was a physician without orders. He directed me to the "Budslaw" battalion which he said was without a doctor. As | walked, | came across trains loaded with soldiers. On the lorries | saw brand new cannons inscribed "Stalowa Wola." When | reached my destination | reported to the officer on duty. | found out that battalion "Budslaw" was a part of the Border Defense Military Corps (KOP). He took me over to the medical car. “Here is your doctor,” he said to the group of medics and left. There were eight of them led by a corporal. We
move all medical equipment and horses from the train. "This is your job," | told the corporal and | stood aside to see how he was going to handle the orders and to look for what equipment | would have available to me. The equipment was moved onto the horse-drawn wagons. The corporal saluted
and started to give me his report. | stopped him and said that we were all here to perform our duty and were not on maneuvers. We were here to help the wounded not to "report" to each other. After all we were friends. He introduced the other medics to me. Finally we
orders to move
horse?" the corporal asked. "Yes," | answered. | mounted the mare assigned to the battalion doctor. As | rode | reflected on the latest events. "My God." | thought. The Red Army crossing into Poland could only signal
the end of Polish independence! What could their intentions be? Were they planning to divide Poland between the Soviet Union and Germany? Could they be here to help? "You cannot trust Russians' | was told by my parents. 'Muscovites are
bad people’ my Grandmother | dismounted and gave Corporal on the cart. During “Budslaw" was assigned and
had told me since | was a child. my horse to one of the medics and joined the the conversation | found out that battalion transported to the western front. A cadre
up of local reservists
became part of the KOP regiment under Colonel Zajaczkowski's command. The battalion had not been involved in any direct battle with the Germans but attacked during railroad transport. During that attack their assigned doctor was wounded and he gave himself leave. Since they were without a doctor they were ordered to join the regiments Medical Unit. Everyone knew about the Red Army. There were rumors that the Red Army was in the process
of destroying the KOP
but morale was We moved men, horses and and yet silence. quietly towards
still high. through the forests. The monotonous sound of marching wagons gave the impression of silence. So many people The day ended, darkness became but we kept on going
No one was
or to use
their flashlights. In the morning we were missing several soldiers. One of my medics had stolen my horse and deserted. | asked one of the officers what he thought about deserters. "If they want to run let them go. To Hell with them." | found out that three other battalions of our regiment were moving almost parallel to us in order to join the Army at the front fighting Germans. So far we had not met the Russian Army. We were to avoid fighting the Soviet's unless we were attacked first. | had to concentrate on not being separated from the Corporal and my medics. | was angry about losing my only independent means of transportation - my horse. The corporal remedied the situation rather quickly and found me a bicycle. He also gave me 38
binoculars. With the camera, binoculars and my pistol | felt well equipped. We kept on going. We passed forest after forest and field upon field. | was
no longer sure where we were. It turned out that our leaders were navigating without maps. Occasionally we came across road signs. We went by a road sign pointing to Berezno. | recalled that my parents were married in Berezno in R6wno County in 1907. The weather was hot. Soldiers were tired and depressed. More and more soldiers deserted. | lost one more medic. The remaining six, even though | did not know them well, | felt | could rely on them. | think they liked me. They felt that, for example, it was beneath my station to wait in line for soup at the field mess. | did not feel that way and took my place in line with them. If the field kitchen was not around my orderlies made sure | did not go hungry.
| kept a close eye on my bicycle.
it and someone
"Stop! | will shoot!"
it and took off.
the bushes. | retrieved actually could kill. We marched on.
bicycle but | could
to us?" was the most common Ukrainians
On one occasion | walked away from
pistol and yelled,
He dropped the bike and disappeared into
words we heard.
off the feeling that | "What
We were told that the of poisoned
Crossing a bridges we were shot at. We responded with machine-gun fire and watched our ambushers abandoning their bushes. None of them fell. night.
kept on marching
We were tired and suffered from lack of sleep.
The soldiers suffered
from blisters and other foot problems that had to be treated. At least we were not hungry. The field kitchens operated smoothly. Again we heard shots. This time Ukraine guerrillas wounded some of our soldiers. They were treated promptly. We were in battle formation as we marched. My battalion was in front. | was questioned by the regiment physician whether
had completed my surgical internship. "Not yet," | answered. He seemed to have enough experienced surgeons on his staff so he was not sure what to do with me. | proposed to leave my basic equipment of Medical Unit Battalion (BPO) with his Regiment Medical Unit (PPO) and to hang around the battalion with a good supply of first aid materials in the front line. He agreed.
BATTLES The next afternoon we encountered the Soviet Army. They shot at us and we moved to attack. My medics and | were in front with the rest of our battalion. | ordered my crew to treat the Russian wounded the same as
ours. At one moment during the attack | found myself next to a heavy machine gun. One of the crew was hit in the forehead and died instantly. | grabbed his ammunition box and took his place, passing the ammunition to the soldier firing the machine gun. | was soon replaced by another soldier and turned my attention back to the wounded. | felt something heavy hit my
been told by my
patients that, when
hit, there is no pain.
sat down behind some cover, took my shirt off and felt for the wound. Nothing, | couldn't find a single drop of blood! | went back to my duties. | noticed later that my camera had a hole in the lens. | was sorry to lose my camera but it saved my life. 39
The battle raged on.
There were more and more wounded.
bodies were everywhere. My medics and ! worked without a stop. While transporting a severely wounded soldier to the field hospital | passed a convoy of Soviet prisoners. They wore linen head bands with a red star on
them just like in the photographs from equipped.
of their rifles were
1920's | had seen.
carried on thin ropes.
They were poorly
The Field Hospital was crowded. The stench of chloroform and blood was unbearable. Among the surgeons working at the operating table | thought | saw Surgery Professor Stefanowski. It was impossible to have any conversation. We heard the sounds of cannons from the battlefield but no one paid any attention. As it was growing dark | returned to the battlefield. We moved forward as the enemy began to retreat. The noise of machine guns was constant. Here and there on the horizon things were burning. The tracer bullets on the horizon reminded me of skipping stones across the water.
hit the earth the same
carried death. | believed that | was beyond being hit by any missile! | noticed the shadow of a man in front of me. It was a Russian soldier laying face down on his stomach. He was a big man and he was not
up his wrist to see if he was
alive. His hand was warm and his pulse was normal. | was startled ... he could have attacked me, stabbing me with a knife or even choking me to death. | dropped his hand and slowly retreated moving off as far as | could from him. | found myself alone. | was tired. | fought the temptation to lie down and sleep. It took all the will power | had to continue and join my group. It was completely dark by the time | found them. No wounded were around; they had all been taken to the P.P.O. The shooting stopped and
easily, for the next few
In the morning we resumed our attack.
Wola cleared our way.
join the rest of our Army
We encountered strong
We pushed West hoping that we would eventually which
still battling the Germans.
Russian fire intensified. It seemed they had gotten reinforcements. We got help in the form of additional men from P.O.P. who helped move out the wounded and dealt with dead. The force of our attack weakened. Then Soviet tanks appeared. | saw them; they were advancing toward our right flank. They were met by machine-gun fire which was futile. | remembered that our entire antiarmored gun unit was stationed not too far from us. | ran to see what was happening there. They were just sitting around scared. The commander of the unit was a young Lieutenant. He was in a state of panic. He was pale, his body shaking. Disregarding our difference in rank | swore at him at the top of my voice trying to get his attention. When | finally got through to him, | explained the situation to him. | told him he should start shooting at the tanks which were up ahead on the hill. One of his sergeants pointed at me and said "Lieutenant, this guy is right.” | left confident they would do what was needed. With great anticipation | watched
the Soviet tanks
up at any
minute. It never happened. Our anti-armored guns never fired. Fear just took over. | remember a lecture on war psychology Col. Professor Kornilowicz in school
us an example
| a young
was in charge of a small stronghold which was successful in holding back a German force. When the stronghold was under inspection, the visiting General found the young officer green with fear. The General accused him of cowardice
the officer answered,
as afraid as |, Sir, 40
you would have run a long time ago." Under Soviet fire our attack came to a stand still. The soldiers dug themselves and their machine guns in. They answered fire with fire. Our artillery was not far off. We could hear their constant firing, and the response
airplanes flew over us
dropping bombs. We worked all day taking the wounded into sheltered areas. The night was quiet - shooting had stopped. In the darkness a rumor started among the soldiers that we were being surrounded by Soviet tanks and that our neighboring battalions were retreating. Our brave soldiers were losing their spirit and, one by one, began to desert before the order to retreat. On September 23rd we received word that our P.P.O. Station had been dismantled. A horse-drawn ambulance convoy arrived and we were ordered to send the wounded West to Radoszyn. |! had no idea how far Radoszyn was. We loaded the ambulances before it was fully light and sent
them on the way. We put the less wounded on the two remaining carts with me and one medic on one, the Corporal with another medic on the other.
the flag of the red cross.
warm and sunny. We saw an airplane on the horizon. As it got closer | saw it was a Russian biplane. | started to wave a Red Cross flag. He circled around us and flew away. Not long after | saw it again. He flew right over us spouting machine gun fire. Straight from my seat | dove into a ditch.
plane circled again and this time
bomb as it fell.
| was certain it had my name on it.
Nor did | feel the explosion.
What was | thinking at | was
darkness - nothingness. | awoke to find the Corporal sitting next to me. "Doctor, are you alive? Good." He told me that | had been buried by the soil on the edge of the bomb crater. They had dug me up, unconscious. Even though they did not find any wound, they were not sure | was going to wake up. We sat there and | slowly came out of my stupor. He told me what had happened. When the bomb hit, several of the wounded soldiers were wounded again
and two men were killed. Our cart was destroyed. One of our horses was killed, the other so badly wounded it had to be destroyed. The remaining two horses were hitched to a second cart and was sent on its way to
Rodoszyn full the wounded. The Corporal stayed behind with me. As we sat there, we were approached by two young women, one of them in an advanced stage of pregnancy. From our Red Cross flag they had deduced that we had something to do with medicine. The pregnant woman said that she was hurt. She uncovered her stomach and | saw small holes on either side of her stomach, the entry and exit of a bullet. Otherwise she seemed in good shape and there was no blood. She kept asking about the child. We had lost most of our supplies but | managed to dress her wounds and advised her to go to the nearest hospital. "Where?" she asked. | had no idea.
she go to the nearest village and
people there would help. The Corporal and | continued West. We encountered small groups of Army, Air Force and Navy personnel going in the same direction. We caught up with some soldiers who like myself had joined the battalion "Budslaw" and now joined the regiment under the command of Col. Zajaczkowski. This unit was called Col. Zajaczkowki's Group.
SURRENDER We reached the suburbs of Radoszyn. There we joined what was left of our infantry, cavalry on tired horses and spent artillery. By some stroke of luck, we met several soldiers from our battalion. They did not know what had happened to our wounded, they thought that they were sent in the
direction of Kowel.
tank with a man
We sat ona hill.
in the hatch.
tank and began talking with the crew.
Across from us we could see a Soviet Same
of our officers approached
They were discussing surrender.
After a while they turned back. We were to surrender our arms and gather in a place designated by the Russians. We were told that privates and noncommissioned officers could
go home. Officers were to stay behind to complete some "formalities." | elt | was an officer and stood up saying good-bye to my soldiers when | heard, “Doctor, don't be stupid!" Several hands grabbed me and forced me to sit down. They threw a private's coat over my shoulders. "Sit quietly," they insisted. | was convinced. | tore up my ID card and buried it in the ground. Through the grapevine we heard that Col. Zajaczkowski had escaped. It impressed the soldiers - he had not surrendered. | nodded to the Corporal; he understood. Slowly we moved
bush, then through the fence into the garden of the nearby house. heard
"Where are you going?" "To get a drink of water," | said. "OK," he said.
| noticed there was
more than one
We approached the well and took a drink of water. | managed to drop my pistol into the well. We soon joined a soldiers. All of us had the same thought. Destroy our arms.
group of other With the help
of some hammers and other tools that we had the arms were destroyed. | am sure that none of our weapons made it into the hands of the Russians in working condition.
Il the soldiers following the orders of the Russians begun walking toward Kowel. In the crowd | noticed Professor Stefanowski. He walked very slowly and was obviously in deep depression. Maybe he understood
better than the rest of us.
on repeating "everything is lost...we are lost ...Poland is lost." comfort him. | said, "Not yet, Sir, we are still alive."
| tried to
TRAP Tired and hungry we reached Kowel.
The town was mobbed
toward the train station where, they explained, several trains were waiting to take us to either Warsaw, Lwéw or Krakéw. | went toward the train designated for Warsaw where | met three of my senior SPS colleagues. With the use of our elbows we managed to enter an overcrowded car. It was a typical freight car used to transport goods and, in need, used by the Army to transport troops. Each car was designed to transport 40 people or 6 horses. In our car there were
no horses just people,
room against the wall. The corporal was with me and other SPS doctors were near by. The trains stood at the station for a fairly long time. Finally, 42
| could see some
The train was
surrounded by Soviet soldiers armed with rifles and bayonets. They systematically started closing and bolting the doors. When it was our turn they had trouble. Our door got stuck in a slightly opened position, thanks to the corporal who managed to jam it with a piece of wood. They tried and tried to close the door and they eventually gave up and instead wired up the opening. The train finally moved. Before it got dark we realized that we were not going towards Warsaw. | begun to feel extremely uncomfortable. | was in a sealed and overcrowded train car guarded by Soviet troops. | felt more and more like | was a prisoner. nit S no good,” the Corporal whispered to me. "We have to escape. "
"| can open the door," the corporal answered. "OK,"
told them that we Russians and was distrust Russians. "So why did
closer to the other doctors
in a whisper,
are not going toward Warsaw and that | did not trust the planning to escape. "Nonsense," | heard. Why should we After all, they are our allies." they bolt our cars and why are we under guard?" | said.
"In order to save
us from the Ukrainians,"
probably taking us to Russia to reorganize our Army and to move again against the Germans. If we escape we will be deserting." |! was not convinced. "Your choice," said one of them. We said oyr goodbyes. In the mean time the Corporal managed to cut the wires securing the
pried the door a
little bit wider.
The door to freedom was open but jumping from a speeding train was not a joke. The corporal and | decided that he would jump first and than I. After the Jumping he planned to walk with the train and | would walk in the other direction.
run into each
In the meantime
the train was still speeding. We waited until it slowed down a bit. "Now," said the Corporal and jumped. | was scared. After a while | felt the train slow down some more and | jumped. The force of the jump threw me down the embankment into the bushes. | froze. The train was still speeding by. It felt like the longest train on earth. Finally it passed. The silence was overwhelming. | was free and alive. | crawled out of the bushes. | felt pain all over but | was pleased to see that | could get up and move. | walked along the tracks as had been arranged with the Corporal. | walked for a long time calling his name. No answer. | never saw him again. Nor did | ever again see anyone who was on that train.
ESCAPE | jumped from the train somewhere between Kowel and Wlodzimierz Wolynski. During the night | moved away from the tracks as far as | could so not to encounter any Russians. As the night ended | felt physically and
and went to sleep. When |! woke up it was full daylight. | ate a piece of bread and planned my next step. | decided to continue West to Warsaw to meet with my parents and Murka. | wondered whether they were still alive. | was
in the hostile territory and
had to move
villages and other settlements. move
parallel to them.
| decided not to walk on the roads but to
| did not have
| had to manage.
| hoped that a single limping soldier wearing tennis shoes and a torn coat without a hat was not going to be a target to attack. | did feel some pain from the jump and my leg hurt, but | limped more when it was necessary. The Fall weather was a beautiful. Occasionally | found some wild
fruit trees and | ate my fill. | still had a few pieces of bread in my pocket. | came across a remote house. | took my chances and knocked on the door.
was greeted by an elderly couple who spoke Polish. They fed me and let me sleep in their barn. Their dog put his head on my lap and demanded to be petted. In the morning they told me where the best place to cross the river Bug was. | went on. After a while
a soldier wearing
travel together as it would be safer. would
him down. |
still felt that | would
| walked 50 minutes and rested 10.
to eat but to sleep.
| lay down
Carefully | peeked over them.
He insisted that we
| declined saying that my hurting leg be safer alone.
| set my
During "lunch" | took a longer break not
in the bushes
Through the branches | saw my
prospective companion from earlier that day. He sat on the ground and was busy counting money from his back pack - piles of money, thousands upon
thousands of Zloty. Cautiously | moved away from him. He did not hear me. | hid and waited until he left. After he was gone | waited another hour before | left. | wanted to be as far away from him as | could. | reached the river. On the shore was a rather large village. Its main
road led directly down to the river. | decided to use the road. As soon as | stepped out onto the road | saw band of armed Ukrainians. | felt trapped but
to back out now would bring attention to me. by something. |! decided to walk right towards my pronounced limp. Soon after | knew what tree limb a soldier was hanging by his feet. It He was
They were busy, distracted them, but slowly and with they were busy with. Ona was the man with the money.
too busy fighting
over the money. | moved on and soon crossed the river. | kept asking myself whether my actions of the last few minutes were directed by my instincts or my brain. | concluded that | was directed by destiny and was very, very lucky.
BORDER After crossing the river | was among Poles and |felt safe. | walked toward Chelm, in order to reach Warsaw via Lublin. In Chelm | hoped to see my fist cousin Jurek Kolasinski, a composer and professor of music theory at the Polish College of Music of Danzig, who had recently moved to Chelm. | counted on him to let me know what was going on in the world. Also | hoped he would know something about my parents. | still avoided the roads; there were Russian soldiers still milling around. Occasionally | hitched a ride and the driver would ask me what | thought would happen. My answer was "God knows. We will see." At one point | noticed a Polish Army Ambulance cart pulled by horses. | followed it. The road led to some estate with a big Red Cross flag on top of the building. It was Polish Field Hospital. | felt |! was home. In the hospital | encountered my former Commanding Officer Captain Dr. Ryll from SPS. He recognized me and greeted me affectionately. "I am reporting for 44
duty." | said.
He directed me to the Commanding
Officer of the hospital,
who announced that under the orders of the Soviet Army he to accept any new personnel. | was furious. | noticed that ready to explode, but he contained himself and asked me to ward. Washed and shaved | went to work. | worked there
was not allowed Captain Ryll was join him in his for several days.
There were an overwhelming number of wounded. One of my patients, semiconscious, was still leading his soldiers in battle. He died in my hands. The provisions allotted to the hospital were minimal. | noticed that Dr. Ryll was sharing his food with me. During our conversations he told me about
Murka intensified. | wanted to leave. "Please stay," my benefactor argued, "until the situation clears. | heard that the Germans are coming soon.’ - They came all right. In the huge entrance of the estate the Officers
with the Commanding Officer in front, all in dress uniforms waited, for the Germans’ arrival. The Germans marched in, clicked their heels, their leader saluted, introduced himself and announced, "Mr. Colonel | am here to take
command of this hospital. All Polish officers are to keep their swords, all doctors and medical personnel are to go back to their duties." They saluted, clicked their heels and walked out. The
all the personnel.
the registration and leave. | said good-bye to all the doctors and nurses in my ward and left. (Dr. Ryll did not avoid registration. The Germans knew of his involvement in the 1919 Wielkopolska Revolt. They arrested him and executed him). The rest of my travels were uneventful. | had no more borders to
The Russian-German border crossed me.
CHELM | finally made it to Chelm. | had no problem finding Jurek. He lived next to the school where his wife, Hilda, taught mathematics. Their house had been spared destruction. It was the first time | had met Jurek's wife. She was a very practical woman and a good housekeeper. | ate and we talked. They did not have any news from Warsaw. They believed that life would go on. They would be able to teach children and Jurek would be free to compose. Later | took a bath. It was my first bath since | had left Warsaw and | luxuriated in the bath tub. When | finally got out of the tub, Hilda had set out clean underwear and socks for me. Hilda and Jurek urged me to stay for a few days and rest. But | was really worried about my parents and decided to leave right away. Hilda suggested that | leave my uniform behind. They dressed me in Jurek's
military coat for a
navy blue one that belonged to the school's janitor. They also found a pair of shoes for me that seemed to fit comfortably. | glanced at the mirror and saw a civilian. Thus ended my career as a doctor-soldier. | left them, as | remember, on either the 11 or 12 of October.
PART II THE FIRST YEAR
| was on the road again, on foot and going West. | used the side roads in order to avoid the Germans who were, as | heard, trapping and arresting Polish soldiers. About an hour after Chelm | discovered that my new shoes were far from comfortable. | had developed blisters. | tried to walk bare-
foot. It was worse. Every time | came across a stream or puddle | soaked my feet, which gave me temporary relief. | ripped off the bottom of my shirt
and used it as a bandage but it did not help. | was continually warned by people | met that the Germans were searching for Polish soldiers, catching them, putting them on the trucks and shipping
| hated the road. "Why am | walking? My feet hurt. Let them catch me, at least I'll be riding West toward Warsaw." Such were my thoughts as | slowly turned into the main road connecting Chelm with Lublin. | sat ina ditch and waited. A German military patrol came by on a motorcycle. | was impressed by their looks. They wore helmets, goggles and raincoats. “Are you a soldier?" they asked. "Ja," | answered. Soon
a truck came
In the truck on
sat Polish soldiers. No one talked. No one knew what was waiting for them. Though the truck was crowded, | found a place to sit. At least | was riding and not walking. Our destination, it turned out, was Lublin's "Plage and
as the sign on the
gate read. "Aussteigen!" It was a POW camp and it was a prison. | was in no hurry to leave the truck. | tried to decide what to do next. | saw a crowd of Polish Soldiers. They were unshaven and obviously underfed. They came to check out the new arrivals hoping that one of us will have a spare cigarette or a piece of bread. They were pushed away. As we
out of the truck we
of registration bégun. already
side for several idea what was We were of which were
lined up in front of a table and the process
| managed to sneak into the group of men who were
| learned that they
weeks and fed thin soup and dried bread. No one had any in Store for us. in a huge yard which was crisscrossed with ditches, some used by the prisoners as latrines. | studied the security of the
place. The prison camp was surrounded by an three-meter tall brick wall with bunches of barbed wire on top. | paid particular attention to the
place where the brick wall ended and the barbed wired fence started. | also noticed that at the top of the wall there was a small break between the bunches of barbed wire. That was my opportunity. When | participated in an international cross country competition
One of the events Instead of climbing This enabled us to than pull ourselves competition.
| was a boy scout in Czechoslovakia.
was scaling a wall. We were taught the "thieves trick." with ropes we learned to run at the wall at full speed. take two large steps straight up the wall, grab the edge up to the top. Using this method we won the
| decided to use the "Thieve's jump" to escape. There was an armed patrol that walked back and forth along the wall. When the guard moved
for the break
the wall and the barbed
jumped and found myself on the other side. Against the wall stood a horse and carriage with no driver in sight. The guard must of heard something. He ran to the barbed wire fence and looked out holding his gun. Instead of running,
next to the horse
German looked at me; | looked at him and smiled. | remembered a line from a modern Polish poet:
“Enchanted carriage, enchanted driver and enchanted horse." As soon as the German disappeared behind the wall | jumped into a ditch and ran like crazy, thinking | was still wearing my tennis shoes. | had been imprisoned for just two hours.
OF VENICE | finally stopped
| had to rest and
pull myself together.
| had a bunch of problems. | was far from Warsaw, but Stalowa Wola which was in the opposite direction was closer. | decided to go there. Maybe Murka's mother would have some news from Warsaw, and perhaps Murka was there. | decided to go via Krasnik. Another problem was my sore eet. As | walked, | noticed a horse-drawn cart. "Could | have a ride with
| asked. "OK, for your coat," was his answer. He was not nice or friendly. In my thoughts
The trip ended up being very comfortable.
a familiar name.
| met in Venice!
| got off and found
the village of Jan
At the crossroads |
to see me.
was a good host. He gave me a pair of old worn out shoes which were comfortable. He fed me and gave me place to sleep. In the morning he told me that | wouldn't get far with my sore feet. He gave me a bicycle. It was a royal gift. | thanked him profusely. "You have nothing to thank me for," he said. "We will see each other and | am sure that eventually you'll be able to return the favor." He was a good man.
PRINCELY CARRIAGE It was a good bicycle and | pedaled happily through Krasnik and Zaklinédw. | crossed the river San in Rodomysl. | passed Rozwad6w, and the closer | got to Stalowa Wola the more worried | became about Murka. | finally got to Stalowa Wola and went straight to the store where | found Murka's mother and sister. "Where's Murka?"™ "She is here, she just stepped out for a minute." They also had news of my parents, they were alive and well. My
Murka's mother and sister took care of me immediately. They noticed my limping. They sat me down in the back of the store on a comfortable chair. They gave me something hot to drink and ordered me to take off my
Murka came in.
in a pail of water for me
She was pale, very thin but healthy.
| could not even 48
get up to greet her. | sat with my feet in the water which with blood. Murka kneeled down and snuggled up to me.
had turned red We were both
crying with happiness. She had survived Warsaw's siege and come home. It was late, | was very tired and went to bed right away postponing all conversation until the next day. The cats Jasia and Kuba kept me company. | slept long past breakfast. | got up just in time to see through the window Murka getting into a very fancy carriage. | found out later that she had been hired by Prince Lubomirski to teach his daughter Jolanta. Every day the carriage picked her up and dropped her off after work. While waiting for Murka to come back, Basia told me how heroic Kuba had been during the German air raids. While everybody went down to the shelter, Kuba had climbed the highest fence post and with his back hair raised and hissed at the planes. about asked
It took me a few days to recuperate. Murka was not willing to talk her ordeal in Warsaw. "It was difficult, that's all," she would say. | her about my cat Felus (Kuba and Jasia's son). "He died," she said.
was standing in the doorway with your father. FeluS walked out onto the lawn. An artillery shell exploded above us and a piece of it struck the cat. We buried him on that lawn not too far from the other graves. “What were you doing at my parent's house?" | asked. "I promised you | would look after them." We talked ‘about our future and our wedding. Before our wedding | wanted to go to Warsaw to visit my parents and take care of some things. Then | would come back to Stalowa Wola. We decided to get married in a small church in Rozwad6w and then go back to Warsaw to live. | would
take the rest of my
and start working
in the hospital.
Our whole life was in front of us. We were sure that the German occupation would be short-lived and that by Spring the allies would chase the Germans out.
| need to add that Stalowa Wola was not bombarded
the factory for future production
by the Germans.
After a few more days | took off for Warsaw. | was secure in the knowledge that Murka and her family were safe. It was time too see to my parents.
This time | traveled to Warsaw not on foot or bicycle but by train. The War had seriously damaged the railroads and bridges, so there was nothing resembling a schedule. People waited at the train stations for any train, passenger or freight as long as it went in the desired direction. Where the tracks were disrupted the local population provided (for a fee of course) transportation to the next station. To cross rivers where the bridges were down we had to slowly cross boards that were strung between the members of the wrecked bridge spans. It was impossible to predict the length of the trip. On the way to Warsaw | saw destruction everywhere. Most of the train stations were in ruins. Most of the towns and villages showed signs of bombing and fire. We passed endless piles of bombed out railroad cars and locomotives. Eventually | made it to Warsaw. Filtrowa street and my parents’ apartment building were still standing, though | could see that the walls were 49
On Narutowicz Plaza | saw the remains on Grdjecka street | saw trenches and My parents were home. "I knew said. "A few days ago a soldier came | did not believe him. You are my only knew you would be back.” "Не
télling the truth,
The soldier must have been one of my medics who with the wounded, leaving me with the Corporal. man. My parents did not have to tell me what had on the lawns and pieces of artillery shells laying all "Were you in the battle?" my Father asked. "Yes," | answered. и
| told my
of a burned out tram. Not barricades. you would come back," my by and told us you died in a child | would have felt your "It almost
Mother bombing. death.
after the bombing went He was a good, honest happened. The graves over spoke for itselves.
turn they told me how Murka and her friend Wanda Stankowska came to visit them in their shelter during the heaviest bombing and tried to cheer them up. They told me that for a couple of weeks after surrender Murka had worked in a field hospital with the wounded. leaving Warsaw to say good-bye.
arsaw was gray and the people were depressed. The ruins were slowly cleared. The bodies were exhumed from street graves and moved to proper cemeteries. The streets were patrolled by German soldiers. One could feel our hatred of the Germans growing. By now the Germans had annexed the provinces of Poznan, Pomeranian, Kujawy,
parts of Silesia,
parts of L6dz,
part of the Warsaw
Kielce, Plock and Suwalki. The Russians had annexed eastern Poland. The provinces in the center of the country occupied by the Germans were named ‘General-Government”™ with the capital in Kraké6w. In Warsaw the Germans
installed a city government
Bureau where my Father worked for several years, reopened. He returned to work. My Father and | spent lots of time talking about the current situation. He compared the present with the revolution of 1905 against Russia. During that time he was a member of the underground Polish Socialist Party. The underground cells were organized into groups of five. For safety reasons only one member of each cell had contact with the representative of the cell higher up the hierarchy. He had thought that part of his life was over, but now history was repeating itself. We were again enslaved. The
because the Germans allowed for the continued treatment of wounded soldiers. | met several of my friends from SPS among them Dr. Waclaw Kaflinski. He worked with Lt. D., the same Lt. D. who rebuked my friend Czerwinski for trying to shoot at the German plane. My meeting with him was rather hostile, but Capt. Kaflinski, in his philosophical way, explained that shooting that plane would not have made any difference in the result of the War. Lt.D. and | shook hands and made up. In the hospital | found out what had happened to some of my colleagues. | also found out that the older brother of my friend Tadzio Mockallo, Capt.
| got in touch with him and declared my readiness to be of service. 50
the word "service" he looked me over carefully and said "I could use He told me that Tadzio was
| in turn told him
about the fate
of Hospital Train #95 and “Budslaw." He asked me about my personal life and | told him that | was about to get married. He just smiled. At the end he asked where | could be found if | was needed. | believe that this was the beginning of my underground career. | visited the Dean's office. The Germans were not interested in reopening the University. One of the officials in charge of the closing of the medical school was Professor Jan Lauber. He was born in Austria. He took upon himself the task of defending the medical students who had finished
in the middle
of their final examinations
War. He explained to the Germans that there would be a tremendous need for doctors to fight contagious diseases that were always the consequences of war. | was lucky to find my papers and arranged to finish my exams. The exams were one problem. The other was a method of earning some money. | reported to the surgical ward at the hospital in the nursing school. This hospital was part of the University system and was run by Dr. Stanis-
law Tokarski. He remembered me as a medical student and was glad to see me. He hired me immediately and provided me with appropriate papers. My former friend from high school and Boy Scouts was in charge of the Diagnostic Laboratory in that hospital. | mentioned that my fiancee was a biology student and they offered to hire her as well. It was now time to inform my parents about my impending marriage.
"Now, in such difficult times?" they asked. "Yes," | said, "It will be easier to be together." My Father helped me buy the rings. | really did not own any decent clothes and did not know what to wear to my own wedding. My cousin Janek (Jurek's brother) loaned me his suit and coat. Before | left, my Father asked whether | had any personal documents. "No," | said. "I had to destroy them." “At least take your birth certificate," he said. | obtained a leave of absence from the hospital in order to get married and to bring back a lab assistant.
NOVEMBER 14, 1939 - WEDNESDAY Well dressed, wearing a coat and hat, with the rings in my pocket | came to Stalowa Wola. Almost immediately Murka and | reported to the representative of the Roman Catholic Church and civil law - the local priest. "We would like to arrange to get married." He looked us over. He asked us about ourselves. We told him adding that Murka's departed father built Stalowa Wola and that the priest probably knew
"Do you have any papers?" he asked. "| have my birth certificate" | answered and handed it to him. (There
are no photographs
on birth certificate.)
"Do you have any other documents?" Pri "No," | answered. "| had to destroy them in order to avoid Russian rison." "The fact is that you do not have any other papers." He was right. What was I| to do? 51
Murka interjected. “But Father, | know him, we have been engaged for almost a year." "When was the last time you saw your fiancee?" he asked. "The 6th or 7th of September," she answered. "So what proof do you have that Mr. Lazowski did not get married to someone else during the last couple of months?" | It was too much. "Are you refusing to marry us?" | said rather sharpy. "Yes," was the answer. Later we came back with Murka's Mother. The Priest once again repeated all his objections. She insisted that | was an honest man and was telling the truth. "You don't know men," the priest said. We all fell silent. Personally | felt terribly insulted and was sure that both women felt the same way. Finally Murka's mother said, "Let's go children. Since the priest will not marry you | will give you my blessings and you will live as husband and wife." м The priest jumped up from behind his desk. "You are committing a sin!" "So what?" she answered. At that he-sat down. It took him a few minutes to calm down and finally he came up with a solution. "| cannot allow you to sin. | want you to come back with a couple of people who know Mr. Lazowski personally and will swear that he is a bachelor." We returned with two witnesses. One of them was a good friend of Murka's father Tadeusz Wegrzecki. The other was Jésef Rakowski whom | wish to say something more about. He was Polish and had been a general in the Russian Army before the Bolshevik revolution and once owned vast tacks of land in the Ukraine. In Kiev, on his way to Poland, he met his former school mate Petlura. "Hi,"
want to be a minister?" "Yes," answered Mr. Rakowski. "! am hungry." Thus for a short time he became a member of Independent Unkraine's government. Mr. Rakowski was full of advice. "Slawek never drink clear vodka. Clear Vodka is for peasants, gentlemen drink liqueur." Then he gave a recipe. "Good liqueur is made with one piece of fruit, like a cherry, to one pail of Vodka." Any way we all went to the parish and my witnesses swore to my character. Mr. Rakowski began, "! swear that | personally have known Dr. Lazowski for many many years..." The priest interrupted, "A few years will be sufficient." Mr. Rakowski shook his head and said, "If you say so." Finally it was
over and the priest made
14 at 7 a.m. day
a date for the wedding
It was the only time he was available.
up to the altar to enter into the
sacrament of marriage. After the ceremony we went to the church office to sign the marriage certificate. Now, | became difficult. | asked the priest for the official church price list in order to pay him properly. Despite inflation the official prices had not changed yet. No one, of course, followed them, except me. | paid the priest 10.00 Zloty. In contrast | gave the organist 52
100.00 Zloty and made sure that the priest saw it. We celebrated our marriage in Murka's mother's house in the company of our friends. The food was good and we made sure that there was plenty of liqueur made according to Mr. Rakowski's recipe. | grew up believing that man is made of body and soul. After my experience with the parish | came to the conclusion that man is made of body,
After our marriage Murka resigned her teaching position at the Lubohousehold
her friend Wanda
It was 20 years after our wedding. We were in the American Embassy in Paris applying for immigration visas. We were sitting in an office where a scrupulous clerk read our documents. He was carefully studying our Marriage Certificate and comparing it with Murka's passport. "This woman," he pointed to Murka, "Is not your wife.” "What?!" "The passport," he continued, "is in the name of Maria Janina, and your Marriage Certificate has her name as Maria Jadwiga." He was right. No one until now noticed the mistake. After all who ever reads their Marriage Certificate? he fact that the woman with me was definitely the one | was married to all these years was sufficient proof to me, not so to the Clerk. Our application was rejected. We wrote-about the mistake to Rozwad6éw's church and they sent us a corrected Marriage Certificate. We got our visa.
ZDZISIEK After we
back to Warsaw,
with my parents on 79 Filtrowa Street. My Mother, with good intentions, hung up on the wall of our room drawings by Grottger showing scenes from
goor ye to their husband soldiers, hopeless fighting in the forests and field. he did not connect them to current conditions. We found the drawings
and took them
off the walls.
One day, unexpectedly, we were visited by my old high school friend Zdzisiek Jezioranski. “How are you," he asked’ "| heard you got married." | introduced him to Murka. He carefully looked her over and | could
see he approved.
| told him that we
worked in the hospital and that | was preparing to take my last exams. “What are you up to?" | asked. "| am installing window panes.” We had not seen each other for several years. After graduating from high school, Zdzisiek left to study in Poznan. | learned from him that our friend Janek Kwiatkowski, son of the former Vice-Premier of Poland died 53
during the first days of the offensive. One night he was riding a motorcycle taken from the Germans and was checking the soldiers posted on guard in his unit.
Polish soldiers familiar with the enemy's
him. He was hit in the heart. Zdzisiek also told me that my friend Rysiek Matuszewski was alive and probably somewhere in Warsaw. He did not know what had happened to Wiktor Szyrynski, Jan Kott and Jerzy Lenczowski. We talked about our school days, our dreams and the future. His optimism, energy, and sense of humor released us from our Grottger's depression.
After that visit | did not see him again until 1946 when | met him and his wife Wisia in London. After that | did not see him again until 1958 in Munich. At that time he took his underground code name as his own and as
now a director
of the Polish desk of Radio
Murka's friend Wanda Stankowska worked as his secretary. During our visit to his house in 1958 we met "Zaba" his wonderful Golden Retriever. "| see your like dogs." Zaba seemed to say, "! would be very pleased if you
would pet me a little." Of course | obliged; | not only petted her but also scratched her ears. The dog just wagged her tail in happiness.
During that meeting
Zdzisiek and | represented two different worlds.
He was a citizen of the free western world and | represented a country which was under communist rule. He was a seasoned politician and |,
medical doctor who was not interested in politics. We had lots to talk about so Wisia decided that Murka and my daughter Olenka would help her with dinner while Zdzisiek and | would take the dog for a long walk and talk. We were gone for at least half an hour during which time Zdzisiek held the leash in his hand. You can imagine our Surprise when we got home and saw the dog quietly sleeping on the rug. We had left without the dog. | learned about Zdzisiek's heroic and unusual activities during the War through his book "Courier from Warsaw." Zdzisiek autographed the first edition published in Polish: "For dear Eugene in memory unconditional friendship since ench."
of our shared youth and our sharing of a _ school
The English edition he inscribed: "То
of our meeting in Warsaw in the Fall of 1939."
Our meeting in 1958 proved to be invaluable to me. profound influence on my future. When
His advice had a
to the Security Advisor Body at the White House. We both now live in the United States. We still see each other whenever possible.
OCHOTA During the September
1939 Siege of Warsaw,
on the front lines near Warsaw's
of Lt. Roszko.
Murka and Wanda waterworks
There were dead and wounded everywhere.
Murka remembered one of the wounded, Sgt. Chalupka. She and Wanda transported him to a temporary hospital which was set up in an orphanage.
It was horrible to see the wounded
of the beds
in children's beds.
by chairs and stools.
Their legs stuck out
During the last days
of the Siege Murka and Wanda worked in other improvised hospitals. The first German soldier to arrive at the hospital after the Siege would have gotten hit with a bottle by a wounded Polish soldier had it not been for who
One more digression. |! came across a book titled "Ochota 19391945" written by Jézef Wroniszewski. On page 108 | came across a statement by a Capt. Neugebaur: “We had a lot of women volunteers....They were to our soldiers an example of devotion and bravery under battle conditions. Many of them lost their lives. All of them were honored with the Valiant Cross." HONEYMOON The
in our building
broken. The tenants did not have enough money to fix the furnace nor to buy coal, the price of which was extremely inflated. Nor did we have electric heaters. During the freezing days it was so cold in the house that we sat around in sweaters, scarfs, coats and at night we wore gloves and hats to bed. We were lucky that we had a gas range and were able to cook. We kept a big kettle with an electric immersion heater full of hot water to give
the illusion that it was a little bit warmer in the room. bundled up with a thick scarf over my head.
On December 14 notices appeared all over Warsaw that all citizens between the ages of 16 to 60 had to work in one of the institutions considappropriate
by the Germans.
If a person
bread and would be forced to work as the German's deemed fit. This was the official establishment of the "roundups" - the hunting down and deporting Poles to forced labor camps. This was the end of the Honeymoon.
THEFT | had to return the suit and coat that | borrowed from my cousin for the wedding. At my parents house | had a pair of military dress trousers from which Murka ripped off the stripes leaving me a good pair of pants. We had no money to buy any clothes but we came across an individual who wanted to sell a bolt of material, just enough to make a man's suit. It was a great opportunity for us because he was willing to trade the fabric for our kayak. Murka and | went to the marina. There was no sign that there had been any fighting in the area. The place was deserted. We came to the shed where | had left my kayak. We found the door padiocked with a sign informing us that the shed and its contents now were the property of the government. We decided to steal our own kayak. | borrowed a cart and in full day 55
light, | felt it was safer that way, we went back to the marina.
Very quickly with the help of a hammer
It was still
the padlock. The dismantled kayak was exactly where | had left it, folded in two burlap bags. We grabbed the bags, put them on the cart and covered with
On top we threw
wood that were dying around. We put the padiock back on the door and no one ever suspected that we were a pair of thieves who had stolen their own property.
Life in Warsaw became dangerous. The German Reich needed laborAlmost every day in different parts of town they staged "roundups" to
Police and soldiers surrounded
ed everyone who was young and strong.
These people were sent to Germa-
ny as slave labor. They released only those employed by German approved institutions.
who had work permits However, if a German
and were was in a
rotten mood nothing stopped him from tearing up someone's documents and loading him into the tarpaulin-covered trucks for deportation. he fact that England did not come to Poland's defense became a
subject of German
of the ruins,
fires, and corpses with a wounded Polish soldier pointing to the elegantly dressed Chamberlain looking away with the subtitle: "England, this ts your doing.” Many bitter Poles looking at the poster thought: "England, where are you?" Throughout the entire General Government (GG) territory, Germans began the destruction of all signs of Polish culture. They robbed museums, alleries, libraries and academic institutions. Prominent members of the olish intelligentsia were
shot or sent to concentration
They even killed eminent athletes. In November in Krakéw's Jagielonski University, a lecture was announced by a prominent German Dignitary on the subject of German attitudes toward knowledge and teaching. All the university professors, older assistants
showed up. A uniformed German officer came on the stage, gave a signal and a swarm of German soldiers attacked the audience. Everyone was beaten up, insulted, arrested, loaded on trucks and shipped to a concentration camp in Oranienburg. Later the older and most prominent of the professors were released, but eighteen of them had died. All the institutions of higher learning were closed, including high schools. Only grammar schools were allowed to operate but with a very limited curriculum. The teachers were allowed to teach children to read and write just well enough to sign their name and count to 500. At this time the systematic robbery of Polish institutions continued. Polish universities were robbed by distinguished German professors. They stole everything from specialized equipment to coat hangers. The only defense on the part of Polish society was to hide as much as possible. It was a very dangerous undertaking. The treasures of our culture began to disappear from museums, galleries and private collections. The painting by Matejko "Grunwald Battle" was a special target for the Germans because it showed a German defeat. It was a huge painting but enterprising Poles managed to save and hide it. It was quite an undertaking. 56
Before the War Murka had begun working on her Masters Degree under Prof. Kopec's supervision. When we returned to Warsaw she immediately contacted him. With the help of her friends they managed to transfer all his valuable textbooks and scientific documents from his study to my parents house. We arranged the books in neat piles against the walls. Professor Kopec¢'s name was on the German liquidation list for Polish Scholars
his son were
with all of my parent's property burned during the Warsaw From
the library of the former C.W.
necessary to further my training as a physician.
Uprising of 1944.
| obtained the textbooks
| also obtained the basic
from the warehouse
Opposition to the Germans was beginning all over the country. Every former soldier was looking to find his former superior officers, former scouts
were looking for their former leaders, etc.
Women members of P.W.K. were
also organizing. The seeds of underground warfare were being planted. Ultimately many people paid with their lives for their enthusiasm and patriotism.
It was obvious to Murka and me that Warsaw was increasingly becoming a dangerous place to be. The terrors of the German occupation were growing. Only being together and a faith in ultimate defeat of Germany kept
us from total despair.
During November of 1939, the "GG" installed its own currency to keep
inflation in check.
by a black swastika
Polish stamps from a beautifully designed series stamps portraying Polish leaders,
Later in the
War Germans issued Polish stamps with Hitler's picture and series of "Volksdetsher" stamps with pictures of Johann Schuh, Joseph Elsner, Nicolaus Copernicus among others. They were Poles - Jan Szuch, Jozef Elsner, Mikolai
Our salaries did not keep up with
improvise in order to survive. Usually people either offered some kind of repair service or traded in order to make ends meet. We discovered that one of our friends was manufacturing balls which we began to sell. My Father repaired and gave us two old bikes that he had found in the basement which we used to get to the hospital and to sell cotton balls. The fuel allowance was minimal and the price of coal on the black market was so high that the central heating, now working off and on, in our apartment building was too expensive to run. We bought a little electric heater. Electricity was also very expensive but with the guidance of a survival manual, produced by the Underground, titled "100 Ways to Steal Electricity" we were able to use our heater very economically. Our first Christmas was very sad. We all wished for the end of the War and Winter. One day in the hospital Dr. Tokarski passed on to me greetings from Dr. Jan Mockallo. | got his meaning and soon after | was assigned, out of turn, to assist in surgery. The patient was a young man. According to his medical history he had fallen off a ladder while installing a new window. Dr. Tokarski diagnosed a ruptured spleen and decided to operate. It turned out during surgery that the spleen was not ruptured but shot through. From the 57
neighboring tissue Dr. Tokarski retrieved the bullet, gave it to the nurse, who | noticed was also assigned to surgery out of turn, who made it disappear. It was my first underground assignment and | felt | was part of the "Resistance." ple.
Each day there were more and more restrictions imposed on the peoConditions became increasingly worse, particularly for the Jews who
were required to wear yellow arm bands with
the Star of David on them.
the front door of Jewish owned businesses appeared warnings that all
should stay away. The Kosher slaughter of animals was outlawed as inhumane to animals and the eating of kosher meat became a crime punishable by hard labor or deportation to concentration camps. The same "humanitarian" Germans on the 27th of December publicly and without trial killed 107 Polish men for a public brawl in a tavern during which a German soldier was killed. The reign of terror had begun. That
friend Jurek Arczynski
that | go
with him over the Tatry mountains through Hungary in order to join the Polish Army in France. | declined. | was newly married and | felt that after had gotten my diploma | would be more valuable in Poland. Jurek, | found out later successfully crossed to France and fought along side the French Army wearing a Polish uniform. January was extremely cold with temperatures registering 21 to 31 degrees below zero centigrade. The only warm spot in the apartment was by the heater. The apartment was so cold that the water froze in the pots. On one of those cold morning a truck pulled up in front of the house
and the whole building was surrounded by German soldiers. "Pretend you are ill," My Mother shouted. | had not dressed yet and quickly | jumped
plug from the wall and hid the illegal connection of the heater to the radiator. My
in the meanwhile
bottles on my
nightstand. A few minutes later the banging on the door started. Six armed men burst into the room, four uniformed soldiers and two civilians. One of them came by my bed. "Raus!" he yelled pointing his revolver at me. | lay there curled up with horrendous stomach ache. "Raus! Aufstehe! Raus!" - he pushed the barrel at my face. Half in German half in Polish | respond in a shaky voice, "Go ahead, kill me - | am dying anyway. The ambulance is already
on the way
to take me to surgery.
stood there petrified. During all this time another soldier searched my desk and pulled out a knife. Possession of any weapon was punishable by death. "It is a letter opener," | moaned in pain. It was beautifully crafted Swedish stainless steel knife. The soldiers looked at it again and one of them put it in his pocket. Soon after they left. During that raid several men were carted
away from our building.
It was the first time | realized how good of an actor one can be under
FINALLY On the 23rd of January,
1940 | finally passed all my exams and re-
ceived my diploma. Despite the German occupation it was a Polish diploma decorated with the Polish National Symbol - a crowned white eagle, on offi-
cial Jésef Pilsudski University of Warsaw stationary and signed by the University President J. Modrakowski and Dean Lauber, in whose presence | 58
swore the Hippocratic oath. At home
deeply moved, pulled out a folder with the family papers and showed me my Grandfather's Medical Diploma from Moscow University dated July 2, 1862. A year later my grandfather, Edward, participated in the 1863 Polish Rebellion against Russia and was exiled to Siberia. During the convoy he met another revolutionary Antonina Tabenska. In 1864 when the convoy of prisoners stopped to rest in Tobolsk they were allowed to marry. My Father was born in Siberia. My Father translated from Russian my grandfather's oath and | was surprised to see that it was almost identical in wording to mine. The difference was that in the Russian version the Physician swore: "| swear that | will never engage in preparing or selling secret ingredients." | compared both the Polish and Russian versions of the oath with the original Hippocratic oath from 23 centuries ago. The basic principles were
identical. What was different was the era and conditions under which they were given. During Hippocratic times the physician swore to Apollo - the physician, his son Esculpi, his granddaughter Hygiene and all the gods and oddesses. He swore that he will honor his teacher, as he would his own ather.
He will help when
poison to anybody
abortive medicament to a woman and will never use a knife. (Surgeons of those days were not considered physicians.) He would never cheat nor engage in sexual activity with any of his patients, male or female even if they were slaves. The ancient doctor swore on his gods, the modern doctor swears on his honor. issued
| became a physician but | had no license to practice. The license was by the Medical Association after one went through a year of intern-
ship in a hospital. At the time | began my internship the Germans issued an order prohibiting all non Jewish doctors from treating Jews and Jewish doctors from treating anybody but Jews.
CAN'T WAIT UNTIL SPRING February was as cold as January. Everyone believed that conditions would be better in the Spring. After all it couldn't possibly be worse. The people were saying "The higher the sun, the closer Sikorski is." (General Sikorski was the Commander in Chief of the Polish Forces abroad.) There were many political speculations and predictions. Unfortunately the predictions were along the lines that on St. Andrew's day, the 101 days of slavery would end (the deadline passed on December 8), that St. Mary of Czestochowa
to help on December
12, or that Poland
to its glory when a Turk will drink from the Vistula. espite these rosy predictions the situation in Poland deteriorated. Arrests without any reason were now commonplace. When you left for work in the morning there was no guarantee that you would come home at the end of the day. One day German soldiers entered the psychiatric hospital in Chelm and executed all the patients. By this time the Gestapo became aware of underground resistance. More and more arrests were made by dragging suspects from their beds in the middle of the night. Those captured were tortured and confessions were extracted. The Gestapo also had a network
conduct oneself in this situation? time tried to be very careful. In Warsaw
You tried not to be afraid but at the same
at the former sites of the mass
in the streets and
plazas, people faithfully lit candles and brought flowers. One very cold day, a man appeared at our door swathed in a sheepskin hat and coat carrying two big suitcases. It was our friend from Venice, Mr. Swirk, the man who helped me after my escape from the German POW camp and who had given me a bicycle to go to Stalowa Wola. He seemed unaffected by the German occupation. His smile and disposition were absolutely disarming. We introduced him to my Mother, who liked him immediately. We offered him some vodka and we caught up with had happened
in our. lives since last we
Swirk took to the German
occupation with gusto. Times were hard but one could make a living. He took to smuggling. Both of his suitcases were full of black market meat. It was a dangerous game because selling of black market food was punishable to him
eat. Mr. Swirk's enthusiasm and energy deepened our belief in surviving this horrible period. He offered to sell us the meat at considerable discount tf we would occasionally let him sleep in our apartment. He became a regular guest at our house. Our diet became richer in protein. There
in a cotton
ball factory who during 1942 and 1943 enrolled in the German organization "Todt" to work in the Russian territory. His transportation to and from Russia free. He was never searched so he could smuggle the flint used in
cigarette lighters to Russia where he sold them for Gold Tsarist Rubles without
"Todt," find his way to different town and re-enroll this time to Germany. Again his transportation was free, and again he would not be searched. No one suspected that he was loaded with gold. Once in Germany he would escape again. After several trips the man amassed quite a fortune. Only once
his plans went
Czechoslovakia. In March of 1940 | ran across the son of one of my Mother's friends, Tadzio Biernacki. He proposed that | join the underground military organization. | did not tell him about my association with Dr. Mockallo, but | agreed especially when | found out that they needed a doctor. Our communication was to be one sided. He was to contact me when needed and | was not to contact him. Our lives in Warsaw went on as normally as possible. Murka con-
tinued to work in her hospital laboratory. We used our bicycles for transportation. When my bicycle broke beyond repair, Tadzio Biernacki somehow
found out about it There was a believed this to be Germany. The War
and arranged for me to get a new one. rumor that Germany was going to invade France. People good news. France was strong and would defeat would be over.
| spent many nights working in the hospital so | was often home in the morning sleeping. One morning a car pulled up in front of our house. Two Gestapo officers came in and took me away. | was taken to Rakowiecka jail. While | was locked up, | tried to figure out what had happened. Was | 60
betrayed by someone from the Mockallo group or someone from the Biernacki
to one of my
on the toilet and examined
After | got
used to the darkness of my cell | saw that it was equipped with a smal bunk, toilet and sink. Near the ceiling was a narrow window with iron bars. the window.
From the window | saw the roof of the German barracks with the German flag on top. Not long after | was put in the cell | heard a noise on the outside of my door. The door was opened and a man was thrown in. He got up complaining of the beatings he had received since his arrest. He was breathing hard. "What did they got you for?” he asked. "| don't know," | answered. He started cursing the Germans. Instinctively, | became very careful. "They are destroying us, we must retaliate," he said. "How?" | asked. “We have to fight them with pistols, grenades -- anything we can put
arrested for pistol possession.
| looked him over very carefully. | realized he was a provocateur.
If | can't fight, others
| did not notice any sign of beatings.
“Look,” | said to him. "We had tanks and artillery, the Germans won, and now you want to fight them with pistols or slings? You are talking nonsense. Germans shouldn't be fought, we should learn from them, by imitating their hard work e.t.c."_ | noticed that he was listening to me very carefully. After a while | was taken from my cell for interrogation. | was taken to a room and left alone for a long time. | thought that if my roommate was a provocateur the Germans knew everything | had said. officer came in and sat at the desk. Next to him was his assistant
take notes. "You are an officer in the Polish Army," he stated in German. did you not register as you were required?’ "Гат
not an officer,"
| replied in high-school
Finally an ready to
"Why a cadet
in the medical school." He started to check the papers in front of him. "Did you finish your studies and became a physician?" "No," | answered. “Before the War started | did not have time to take my final examinations. Only recently, thanks to your government's generosity, | had a chance to complete my exams and to receive my diploma.” "Where is the diploma?" he demanded. "At home. During my arrest | showed your people my work permit from the hospital." It was the end of the interrogation. This time | was taken to a different cell occupied by several men, all of them Czechs. They did not pay any attention to me. An hour later, | was again taken to be interrogated. From the same officer, | heard that my story checked out by Dr. Kaflitski of Ujazdowski Hospital and | was free to go. | was escorted to the gate by a soldier. "Aufwiedersehen," | said politely. "You're an idiot," he responded. "It would be better if you were not here at all." | found myself walking on Rakowiecka street among people. | was free! When | got home, Murka was shocked; | was in one piece. No one ever came back after being arrested. 61
When Murka learned that | was arrested she pulled out all the illegal electric connections and hid all of my Father's documents, military decorations and mementos that would show that he was a Polish patriot. It turned out that | had been arrested because one of our neighbors had reported to the Germans that | had failed to register with the German authorities as an officer. | was released and he was arrested for a false report.
Later | learned that in the German
uniforms were not considered to be officers. They served in the Army and SS as contractual employees of the armed forces.
prison put a stop to my
ground activities. It was a rule of conspiracy that anyone who was arrested became a risk. There was possibility that | might be under surveillance, so all my underground contacts were severed. Accidentally, | found out about an available apartment in a quiet neighborhood on 15 Opoczyhska Street. We moved. The
very luxurious to us, despite the huge
the wall between the rooms caused by an artillery shell. We had two rooms with a kitchen and a modern bathroom, which actually worked. We boarded up the hole and
a big tapestry over it.
furnished. With our own paintings and other decorations we made it "ours." This was our first home. The apartment was on the ground floor and a glass door led to a patio and a small unkempt garden. One of my patients had given us a pair of rabbits and there was no problem feeding them. My Father who loved to play with them when he visited built a wooden cage for them. We hoped they would breed so we could have our own meat. The big rabbit which we assumed was a male was named "Banawet" and the smaller one "Pisz-pani." Unfortunately they both turned out to be females. We did not treat them like rabbits, they were spoiled rotten. Talk of rabbit dishes was prohibited in our company. On June 14th Murka's favorite cousin Duda Odyniec came to visit us. She
she finally calmed
she told us that Paris
had been taken. She saw the Germans celebrating when she passed the German Air Force barracks on Rakowiecka Street. The soldiers were drunk and loudly boasted of the victory. The capitulation of Belgium and Holland had not hit us as hard as the news of the Fall of Paris. The ‘strong’ French Army and ‘impregnable’ Maginot Line lasted only two weeks! We were proud that Poland had withstood much longer the German offensive in September of 1939. That Summer | finished my internship and Murka became a certified laboratory technician. We were ready to open our own office. We complied a list of thing we needed to start a practice. Murka was to be my diagnostic technician. It was time for some major decisions. Should we stay in Warsaw or should we move'to the country? We both had earned short paid vacations so we
go to Stalowa
to see if there was
any future there.
In Stalowa Wola the Germans had reopened the steel mill and renamed it the "Herman Goering Werke." They also had opened a medical clinic under the direction of a German Doctor. In Stalowa Wola we heard that Princess Lubomirska of Charzewice had 62
established a chapter of the Polish Red Cross in neighboring Rozwadéw. We paid her visit. The Princess was pleased to see Murka, and after the introductions were made, the Princess offered me a job as the clinic's physician. The job was without pay but we would be given a place to live and the right to receive private patients. Murka was to be my laboratory technician. We
| went to Krakéw
to obtain a license to prac-
tice in that part of Poland, and on September 6, 1940, | became a licensed octor. We learned that a truck from the steel mill went to Warsaw once a month to transport some goods. | made a deal with the driver who agreed to bring back our few possessions from Warsaw to Rozwadé6w for a small fee. We did not have much, some bed linen, pots and pans and kitchen utensils. A friend of my Mother, a doctor's widow, sent along a white metal cabinet
with a glass door for our office.
was a symbol of prosperity. We gave the apartment on Opoczynska street to Alicja lwanska, Murka's friend from high school. (We met her again many years later in Chicago. She had become a well known Professor of Anthropology and had written several well-received books.)
PART Ill ROZWADOW
Red Cross) clinic and our apartment would not be ready until Spring. In the meantime we were given an apartment on Matejki Street, close to the town
and other non-essential
equipment were stored at Charzewice manor. We also had sent into storage a large salted codfish which we bought as we left Warsaw for Rozwadow. We had forgotten about it and inadvertantly set it with these things. The second floor apartment at 3 Matejki Street was, in comparison with the apartment on Opoczynska Street rather modest. To enter, you had to g° up a treacherous staircase. There were two small rooms: a kitchen a bedroom. The kitchen contained an coal burning stove with two burners. The exhaust pipe from the stove went to a chimney inside the wall and heated the bedroom. The apartment was sparsely furnished. The toilet was outside and water came from the common The manor supplied coal for heat.
well in the town
The headquarters of the PCK was located in the City Hall on the town square. The building was a beautiful specimen of 18th century grandeur, crowned with arcades and a tower. The city government was housed on the
second floor. The PCK shared the first floor with the police. The PCK office had two rooms in one of which the Princess worked. Across the square
from the City Hall, you could find the barber shop and the "Christian Tavern" (Gospoda Chrzescijanska). In my the first few days, | learned that the Princess was a dedicated and a hard worker. Her work consisted mainly of finding food, shelter and
jobs for deportees
from the Poznan
up in Rozwadow.
of them she hired to work on her estate as she did with Dr. Gordzialkowski. These deportees were in great need of free medical services. From them | learned with what fury and hatred the Germans discriminated against Poles and Jews in the annexed territory. They were stripped of all rights and personal
into hard labor with little or no pay and little food. The Germans banned the use of Polish both in speech and writing. They obliterated all signs of Polish culture destroying all the monuments, plaques and churches. They turned all the cemeteries into fields. They murdered all prominent Poles, especially those who participated in the Poznan Uprising (1919). When deported, usually at night, people were forced to pack and leave their apartments within an hour. ey were taken to the train station, packed into sealed cattle cars without food or water and were delivered and left at random
All the offices of the deported
and dentists went to German doctors and dentists. The estates in the region were all given to German farmers. Besides Henryk Gordzialkowski, the doctor hired by the Princess to care for those on her estate, there were two other doctors living and working in Rozwadéw. Dr. R. and Dr. Hieronim Krason. | paid courtesy visits to all three of them. Dr. R. was very cordial, he showed me with pride his diploma from the 1880's. He had lived and worked in Charzewice all his professional life. However, during our conversation | learned that he did not believe in the "stupidity" of modern medicine. As an example he cited the serum against diphtheria. | said my good-byes and never visited him again, which did not prove
Later as he became
Dr. Krason, older than I, turned out to be an amiable colleague. We often collaborated on different projects. He had also spent all of his profes65
sional life in Rozwadéw and was very popular in the region. The courtesy visit to Dr. Gordzialkowski quickly turned into friendship. He was an internist and his wife (nee Hryniewiecka) a dentist. Dr. Gordzialkowski was for several years a successful doctor in the Belgian Congo. He spoke often of his adventures among the natives. He had written a book about his adventures (| cannot remember the title) and he gave us an autographed
Dr. Gordzialkowski's sister in-law, wife of the famous painter Waclaw Taranczewki, lived with them. We were introduced to interesting and intelligent people and in a short time our social circle extended to most of the doctors and engineers in Stalowa Wola and the landlords of the surrounding estates. The
Germans. The Jewish October, the Germans race were required to required to move into
city lived in terror of the
situation was growing progressively worse. In created the Ghetto in Warsaw. All people of Aryan move out of the designated section and all Jews were it. The encouraging news was that Roosevelt,
as President of the United
We also learned about the bombardment of Gdansk and Dresden by
life in the country
very safe even
though we heard more and more about arrests in the surrounding countryside, about confiscations and the destruction of handbills and about high levies imposed
cheaper and easier to get than in Warsaw. Heating our temporary apartment turned out to be very difficult. had
heat only when
bitter cold and the
water we kept in pots froze. We often went to Stalowa Wola to Murka's mother, so we could sleep and bathe in comfort. During one of these visits Murka became very sick. She was examined by a local doctor. Surgery was necessary. | took Murka to the hospital in Tarnobrzeg, whose director was Dr. Rusinowski. He confirmed the diagnosis. Murka had an extrauterine pregnancy. Murka's illness was a great shock to us. We lost the child. After surgery, Murka remained in bed for two weeks as was the custom at that time. In Stalowa Wola, under the loving care of her mother, her sister and Helenka, she recuperated. They were assisted by their cats, Jasia and Kuba.
CLINIC In the Spring, we were finally able to move to our new house on the town square - Rynek 23. We hada big waiting room, an office, a comfortable kitchen and one bedroom. Part of the waiting room was partitioned off and
long passageway which led to one side of the town square and in the opposite direction to the backyard. In the hallway, a water pump provided drinking water. Our furniture and other belongings were brought from storage - sofa, bed, medicine cabinet and a large desk with a chair, a gift from the P.C.K, for my office. The medicine cabinet stunk; we had found our codfish which now had to be thrown out and the cabinet deodorized. Murka's mother gave 66
us a large wardrobe
a table with chairs.
tile stove; we were not going to freeze the next Winter. Finally, we had our own cozy place to live. A man came from the estate and asked us what we needed. We asked if we could clean up the backyard and start a vegetable garden. We also requested a shed to store wood and coal. The man patiently took notes. The next day a team of workers arrived in horse-drawn wagons. They cleaned the yard, plowed it, mended the fence and built the shed. They enclosed the garden with a fence. After all this was completed, we had an official visit from Prince Lubomirski's gardener, J6sef Wozniak, who had been sent to help us with our garden. | left him in Murka's care and went to organize my office. When we had finished organizing the office and had hung curtains on the apartment windows through which we could see the city hall, barbershop and tavern on the square, we put up a sign that read: Polish Red Cross Clinic
Hours 10 am to 4 pm The
the local pharmacy. first.
filled for free by
Soon afterwards the private patients began to arrive. | remember He was a farmer from a nearby village and looked prosperous. |
happened to be standing in front of the door and he asked if the doctor was in. “He is," | answered. "Please come to the waiting room." | went to the examining room and put on my lab coat and asked him to come in. "Is the doctor in?" He asked again. "Г ат the Doctor." “Please do not make fun of me and go fetch your father." When | finally explained to him that | really was the doctor, he got in his carriage and left. | guess | looked very young in those days. private patients that could
it paid me
struck me as too poor or too proud to ask the PCK for help, | treated anyway. We agreed that they were to pay me whatever they could afford whenever they could. They were very grateful and, eventually, almost everybody settled their debts. One night, | was called to a distant village for a birth. It was a long and difficult labor and | suggested that the patient be taken to the hospital. Several weeks later the patient's husband stopped by. The mother and son were doing well. At the hospital, Dr. Rusinowski had told him that the hospital had been the only chance for a successful birth. However, the woman's family had a dilemma. Some of them felt that | should be paid for my efforts and some felt otherwise. Eventually, they came to a compromise. The young father reached into his sack and pulled out a huge live male
The duck became the first member of our menagerie. Murka had her hands full. She worked in the garden where she looked ravishing in her scarf. On each side of the path there were beds of flowers and vegetables. Mr. Wozniak taught her where and what to plant. He even gave us a Jasmine bush to plant under my office window. The garden was 67
really going to be beautiful.
the local bakery
Murka also took to housekeeping.
She went to
| had more and more patients. We had a visit from Dr. Gordzialkowski. He liked my set up, especially my waiting room. He and his wife shared their waiting room and he complained that many of his patients (including the ones from the estate) had to wait on the stairs. Soon afterwards, the Princess asked me if | would take them over. "With pleasure," | said, "but only with Dr. Gordzialkowski's consent." Dr. Gordzialkowski was thrilled with this proposition. He happily gave me all the estate's patients but at the same time he tried to talk me out of it. "The
“What do you mean it doesn't pay? You have a contract." "| do have a contract, but they re not paying me. This is the way they are. They're very nice and that's it." | decided to risk it. We signed the contract in the office of the estate manager. | would do such and such and receive a monthly salary which, although low for a doctor, | jumped at, because | was going to be paid in goods (barley, flour, sugar, wood, coal and alcohol) at official, not black market prices. During the War, the savings represented a fortune. They would also maintain my ouse. “When can you start?" "As soon as Dr. Gordzialkowski's contract is finished and his accounts are settled." The
offices of Prince Jerzy
ed at Charzewice. His holdings spanned several villages and farms on both shores of the river San - Charzewice, a sawmill and buildings in Rozwad6éw, Turbia, Pilchéw, Sochy, Dzierdzidbwka, Brandwica and Rzeczyce. His farms, gardens and forests encompassed a huge territory; the distance from Char-
zewice to Rzeczyce is 8 kilometers. system. | watched as the peasants
His estate still operated under a feudal kneeled in front of the Prince and kissed
hand. | was obligated to treat all employees of the estate. To see my patients, | went either by horse and wagon or by bicycle. Making house calls at night was dangerous because of martial law even though as a doctor | had a special pass. The Germans often shot first and then checking for credentials. Within a few days of opening the office, a man showed up for an
big, with a mustache,
boots. He looked like a typical peasant from the area. He was Captain "Kruk," commander of "NOW" (underground National Military Organization). Later | learned that his name was Marcin Kusifhski. He proposed that | should serve as the doctor for his subordinates. He also mentioned what | already knew, that "NOW" would soon be joined with the "ZWZ" (Union for Armed Struggle). After a year, it would all become "AK" (Armia Krajowa, the Home Army). At that time | did not care about the politics of the organization to which | belonged. All | cared about was fighting Germans. Captain "Kruk" knew
that | was
oath. He asked Instead of being My duties underground and conspiracy.
a military man
that | did not have to take an
me what code name | would take and | said "Leszcz." a "ZW2Z" soldier, | became a "NOW" soldier. now included aid to the wounded and sick soldiers of the their families. The captain reminded me about the risks of
"How will | know who is from the underground?" "All anyone has to say is ‘| come from Kruk'."
the first month
with the manage-
ment of Charzewice passed. My payday came and went and. . .nothing. "They don't pay’ Dr. Gordzialkowski had said. Could he be right? | called the manager, Mr. A., to inform him that | was no longer their doctor and asked if he could inform all of his employees. “Doctor, you can't do that." . "Yes | can, a contract is a contract. | provide services and you pay me. ° We soon received an invitation from the Prince and Princess for an evening of bridge. | do not play bridge particularly well but Murka is an expert. | hoped she would be good enough for the both of us. We went. During the game, the Prince asked me about my misunderstanding with his ailiff. "Your Highness, if you don't mind, let's talk about this some other time and place." The subject did not come up again. Murka and | enjoyed this elegant evening immensely. wo days later, without any notice, a wagon pulled up in front of my office with the contract goods. | resumed my work with the estate and | never again had a problem. ALLIANCE In Charzowice,
near Mr. Wozniak's
vicious-looking German Shepherd, guarding the gardens. | liked dogs and | am not afraid of them even if they have a bad reputation. Dogs are a loyal friend to man, but is man a loyal friend of dogs? The alliance between man and dog should be based on mutual trust; the breaking of that trust leads to hatred.
This particular Shepherd
likely at one time she
was betrayed and hurt by man. Dogs demonstrate their feelings with their tails wagging when they
under their belly when
they are scared.
Shepherd could not express her feelings correctly because she had no tail. During evolution man lost his tail. (Well, not quite, he still has a nonat the end
of his spinal cord).
still had his tail? To hide his feelings a merchant or diplomat would have to wear bustles! A dog without a tail is like cowboy without a horse. Was this Shepherd's tail cropped? Was it bitten off by another dog? Who knew? | had no further reason to ponder this; the fact was this dog did not have a tail. Another unusual thing about this dog was that she never barked nor howled. At the sight of a man the hair on her back rose and she growled and bared her teeth. No one could get near the dog with the exception of Bolek, a 10 year old homeless orphan boy. He came in one day hungry and tired and begged for some food. The housekeeper took pity on him, fed him and gave him some decent clothes. She also noticed that the boy prayed aloud but his prayers were confused and did not make much sense. He knew how to read, so she gave him a prayer book and marked the prayers he should learn by heart in order, to make his beggar's life easier. Eventually the boy ended 69
ving in the gardens. r. Wozniak
Bolek to run errands.
but became friends with the dog. When Mr. Wozniak noticed this, he made the kid responsible for feeding and taking care of her. | did not believe that a dog could be vicious by nature, not even police dogs that the Germans used to hound people. Those dogs were specially trained for that purpose. With the help of the devil the Germans succeeded in altering a dog's nature to the point that the dogs assisted the Gestapo in terrorizing people. | also knew that a dog instinctively can differentiate between enemies and friends. | was fascinated by the gardener's dog. | kept my distance but when nobody was watching |! talked to her and occasionally | would bribe her with a bone or a piece of bread. | also explained to her that growling at me didn't make any sense. Eventually her hair stayed down when she saw me and her growling became more of a formality than a threat.
One day | got a
phone call from Mr. Wozniak; the dog had bitten a
someone. They were bringing the man to me and were going to put the dog own. "No!" | yelled into the phone. “I will take her!" This was an easy decision. Recently we had been robbed. Someone had broken into a shed and had made off with the coal. Coal during the War was almost as valuable as gold. Mr. Wozniak brought the victim to the clinic.
out to be a thief.
the gardens and come his throat. He tried to We decided that being administering first aid, (If we
At the crack of dawn
him to the police he would
he had entered
within the reach of the chained dog. She jumped at protect himself by covering his neck with his hand. bitten by the dog was enough of a punishment. After we sent him on his way with a "go to hell" blessing. have
sent to a German
"Dr. Lazowski, do you really want this beast?” Mr. Wozniak asked. "Yes, | know what | am doing." The next day Mr. Wozniak man built a solid dog house and Bolek brought in the dog. She came quietly on a leash. | took the leash from the boy and told her that from now on! am her master. She let me pet her. | tipped Bolek and he left. Suddenly the dog sprang lose and took off after olek. "Stop!" | yelled. "Brysia here!" Had | discovered her name? Or maybe because of my commandin voice she understood that | was her master now. She slowed down, looked at Bolek and came back. Bolek kept on going without looking back. | am sure he was crying. Soon after | introduced Brysia to Murka. We took the dog inside. She inspected every corner of the house and laid down by my feet. The alliance between us was established. | am sure if she had had a tail, she would have been wagging it.
CHANGES According to German plans, Polish soil in the General Government (GG) area was to feed Germans. All the farms regardless of their size had such a huge levy that what remained was insufficient to feed the Polish and Jewish population. The idea was to starve out and finish these "half-people." The larger farms which could not meet the production standards re70
quired by the Germans were confiscated and put under the direction of the erman Government (Liegenschaft). This was an excuse for any German appropriate an estate he fancied. The Zaleszany, Baranéw and Jézef6éw
estates were already under Liegenschaft. It was Charzewice's turn. The estate changed hands and the new Governor Oberleiter Martin Fuldner moved in. Fuldner took the "palace" for his private residence and allowed the Prince and Princess to move to the first floor of the auxiliary building. It was
the estate offices and
quarters. Fuldner and his wife kept all the best furniture and the rest he allowed the Prince to take with him. They had an allowance of some food and fuel, and he granted them the use of the park. There were also many personnel changes. Fuldner fired the estate manager and other workers. He replaced them with skilled volksdeutch and with deportees from the occupied territories. Mr. Wozniak remained because he was from the Slask region, had a German education and spoke fluent
German. They kept me on as the estate Doctor to treat only Polish employees. Polish Doctors were forbidden to treat Germans. The Prince's family did not change their life style, and we heard any complaints from them. The Princess did not miss a day of work. Their loyal
servants: the butler, the chamber maid and the old cook, Mr. Gaj, remained with them without pay. ! noticed that Bolek, the orphan boy, who had taken care of Brysia, had stopped coming to visit. | asked Mr. Wozniak what happened.
"Too many. Germans around," he answered, "| sent him across the river to people | could trust. You knew he was Jewish, didn't you?"
| received a letter from Stasiek Matulewicz, a friend of mine from SPS. He wanted to know if there was any need for a doctor in the Rozwadéw area. | immediately responded that | would happily share my private practice with him. | also recommended that he settle in a nearby village, Zbydnidéw, a large village half way between Rozwadow and Tarnobrzeg, without a resident doctor. Murka had never met Stasiek. However we were both very happy
another old friend in the vicinity.
In the meantime we had made friends in Rozwad6w with the parish priest Michal Potaczala, who turned out to be one of "Kruk's" people. In the underground no one knew the real names of the people involved. | only discovered that "Kruk" was Mr. Kusinski after the War. Also after the War | discovered that "Owl" with whom | had a lot of contact turned out to be Princess Lubomirska. Someone named "Pliszka" suggested that we organize a First Aid course aimed at helping the wounded. It was possible under the cover of
and the Polish Central
to run such
a course without much interference from the Germans, because both organizations were officially recognized by the Germans. Miss Marysia Jackowska, whom we called Cisia, acted as a link between me and "Pliszka." She also worked with the Princess in the Polish Red Cross. Consequently the Princess was very enthusiastic about the idea and started the wheels turning. We needed a permit from the mayor. We did not quite trust him because, after all, he was working for the Germans but that did not keep us from liking him. He played the violin beautifully and 71
a singing trio.
music (fitting their gypsy looks) and performed quite often. The mayor turned out to be sympathetic to us and gave us the permit we needed. We started the classes. "Pliszka" was responsible for making sure that all the girls who were to serve in the "Underground Auxiliary Women (AK) Organization" attended. Their duty was to administer first aid to the underground soldiers. My
a very busy
tients from Leigenschaft and more and more patients from the Polish Red Cross as Rozwad6éw was one of the bigger train stations receiving deportees. On top of this | was approached by the Stalowa Wola Steel Works to take on their employees who lived in the Rozwad6w area. | agreed only if they would assign me a nurse. They assigned Miss Maria. Through "Pliszka" we learned that she was to be trusted. A day before Easter | received a call from the Princess that her daugh-
ter was sick. | examined the patient and found she had the common flu with a high temperature. | needed to write a prescription. | could not find my pen and the Prince gave me his pen to use. The Prince wanted to pay me
and | refused and after some argument it was decided that all the accounts would be settled after the War when his estate would be returned to him. The same evening the Prince called to ask if by any chance | had taken his pen.
and hung up. Murka
the pen wasn't there.
the first time we had hosted the affair. Murka's
her sister and
it also was
We had several guests including their housekeeper.
After the holiday
| changed to my everyday coat and felt something in my pocket. It was the Prince s pen. | noticed it was made of solid gold, encrusted with precious stones and beautifully monogrammed. | was very embarrassed; imagine what the Prince thought of me! | immediately called the Prince and apologized to him. Later we had lots of laughs about the incident. Soon
after the pen incident the Prince invited us for bridge, then to
supper, and before we knew it, we became good friends. We spent many evenings together discussing, politics, and other current events. We met the rest of the Lubomirski clan, Prince Jan and his future wife, the countess
Gabriela Przezdziecka, Prince Jan's twin brothers Hubert and Stanislaw and the youngest brother Herakliusz, sons of Prince Lubomirski of Alexandria that was killed by Russians. The most impressive member of the household was
"Bunia," the Princess’ Mother nee Zamoyska.
Lets not forget that our best
also a part of our life in
of course, we spent lots of time with her. Unfortunately she decided to go back to Warsaw and we lost contact for several years. Later we found out that as a soldier of AK she traveled through vast parts of the former Polish territories. From those travels Murka received a beautiful Crimean hat. After Wandzia left, Countess Elzbieta Debicka, a former psychologist of the Military Institute of Aviation Medicine became the estate Governess. (After the War | learned that Countess Debicka was the author of the psy-
chological tests that later were used by the U.S. Air Force and the R.A.F. for
selection of the best candidates for combat pilots during WW Il). The Prince and Princess never turned out anyone who needed food and shelter and employed on their estates Polish intellectuals like Ms. Debicka and a professor of anthropology Mr. Jan Mydlarski, who was being hunted by the Germans. 72
At no time during the German occupation did | own a radio nor was | involved in publishing underground materials. It does not mean that | did not appreciate their importance. They were the only sources of true world reports. We read underground newspapers in what we called the "chain of
readers." It meant that whatever you read or heard you were responsible for passing on to anyone you trusted. | also need to mention that possession of a radio or any underground publication was punishable by death or if one
was lucky by being sent to a concentration camp.
Many years after the War, when | was already in the United States, | found out how we obtained the world's news in Rozwadow. The following is quoted from a letter written by Gabriela Lubomirski, nee Przezdriecka, dated February 7, 1972. "One
(Princess Ann) and | worked in the Underground, gave us a
radio. My aunt brought the blankets in a horse carriage. bound periodicals on a shelf
huge Phillips covered with We hid the radio behind in my aunt's closet. We would
and | would accompany her for a few minutes’ chat. Once there we would lock the bedroom door, drag the radio out and listen to the London broadcast. | took notes in my own shorthand. After the broadcast was over, we returned the radio to its hiding place. My aunt would go to sleep and | would return to my room where | would copy my notes in tiny handwriting onto toilet paper. Once a week | would type the news in several copies and deliver them to Reverend..." | had the following
involving the underground
per. One day | noticed that one of my patients deliberately wanted to be seen last. When it finally was his turn he said, "| trust you Doctor, and we feel that your office is the perfect drop off point for the underground newspaper. Here is a package (neatly wrapped in a gray paper bundle). Soon someone will ask you for "headache and stomach ache pills." Just give him the package." And he left. Не had given me no indication that he was from "Kruk." He did not tell me what group he was from. He did not even ask me whether | agreed. He just left. Should | trust him? Could it be a trap? The Germans were always busy raiding people's home looking for anything illegal. Was he a provocateur? | was stuck with the package. | looked at it like it was a time bomb. | had to do something, either hide it or destroy it. | consulted Murka. We decided to hide it. "In the basement," suggested Murka." "They will start with the basement." | replied. "In the stove?” "On the stove?" "Under the bed?" "In the wardrobe?" After arguing back and forth we decided to hide the package under the dog house. Brysia was aggressive and would attack any stranger. They 73
would probably had to shoot her but | was sure they would not look under a heavy dog house.
got dark, we took Brysia into the house.
| dug a hole under
her house and buried the package. | put the doghouse back in place and we sent the dog back out. The next day was Sunday and we slept longer than usual. | looked out of the window. It was a sunny but windy day. | walked out into the backyard. Everywhere | looked were pieces of paper. Brysia just sat there with a very smug look on her face. She was very proud of herself, because
during the night she dug up the package and chewed through the string. The wind had done the rest. The wind had blewn some of them over the fence. On the other side, people were on their way to Church. "Good morning Doctor," they said. “Good Morning. Nice weather today," | answered while picking up papers. | was sure that the time bomb would explode in the form of the police or the Gestapo. It took me a long time but | picked up all of them and wrapped them in brown paper. The next day one of my patients asked for "pills for headaches and stomach aches." | handed him the package. He noticed that the package did not quite look the same but without a word he took it and left. It was the only time | was directly involved with anyone from the underground press. escape
It was a time of frequent arrests in the area so | decided to have an route ready just in case. From my office | would run out to the
| loosened a couple of boards in the fence so | could quickly
escape to the street. | felt safer until one day without warning two SS-men entered my office so quickly that | did not even have a chance to get up
from my chair. One of them stuck the finger in the car door. In pain, just another patient. | dressed the rayed because | suspected that the
a bloody finger in my face. He jammed he ceased to be an enemy and became finger and recommended that he get it Xfinger might be broken.
In the Spring of 1941 civilian train traffic was curtailed so German military transports would have priorities. Day and night columns of the German Army marched through the main square of Rozwad6w East pass Stalowa Wola and Nisko toward the Russian border. Was it possible that the Germans were going to attack their allies? During the same period the Polish underground's activities picked up. More and more bridges and German supply warehouses blew up. More rail-
road tracks were mined.
As a result the policing of towns and villages by
the Germans became increasingly intensive. A total black out was in force. We were visited one night by a German soldier who demanded at gun point that the narrow slip of light at the bottom of our window be covered up. Another night | was awakened by a telephone call from the commander of the Bahnschutz (railroad guard service). He needed the services of the Red Cross doctor because "Polish bandits" had blown up a military train. Murka
as a nurse.
and first aid kits we ran to the station. We were met by a locomotive which took us to the site of the train wreck. The first three cars of the train were derailed. We did not see any dead only wounded. The seriously wounded 74
to by train's medical
treat the less seriously wounded. One of the Germans had been blown out of the train by the explosion and was still sitting in his seat now in the middle of a meadow. He was in shock and sat there praying. We left him alone. We worked alongside the train's medical team. Along side of us the military engineers were busy repairing the damage. | was impressed by their organization. | was also surprised that with that much damage done to the train | did not see any dead. Maybe the bodies were cleared away before our arrival.
The next day | was visited by a new patient. After he entered my office he declared that he was from "Kruk" and asked me to give him a full report of the damages done to the train. He listened very carefully and said
heard the report from
someone else and was checking the facts out. One day Murka and | were walking along the highway to Stalowa Wola.
On the way
on the road.
the same moment a column of heavy German tanks was approaching. We were too far away to divert the bicyclist and watched with horror as he rode into the tank column. We expected to see him splattered all over the road. The tanks passed and there was no sign of the bicyclist. We walked another kilometer or so and saw him laying next to his bicycle. Was he dead? No, he was
In his drunken
stupor he looked
on his bicycle and rode away zigzagging all over the road.
Soon after | was again summoned
called off because
It was a miracle
to the site of a blown up train, but
a different town
arrived there earlier. On the 21st of June, the German Army invaded the Soviet Union. Something was happening.
IN THE FENCE
The hole | made in the fence plan was near a wall house which faced Kochanowska street. This house was Jewish family. It was a nice warm night and Murka and yard when through the fence we heard a woman's quiet we need your help." Thus the hole in the fence became
than an escape route. The fate of the Jews
of a neighboring occupied by a | were sitting in the voice say, "Doctor, something more
protection of all laws and allowed to exist with only the minimum
rations. Whatever was not taken away from them by the Germans they were forced to sell in order to survive. The hole in the fence opened medical
care to the neighborhood Jews. It was a very dangerous relationship because Polish doctors were forbidden to treat Jews. Anyone caught was subject to immediate execution. We established a routine. Whenever a certain rag was hung up to dry near the hole, | knew | was needed. | went over to the other side and treated whoever was there. Sometimes | had quite a few people waiting. | dispensed medicine from the supplies of the Red Cross. During that period | had an unusual experience. Two German soldiers entered my office carrying a bundled up baby. Apparently the baby was 75
on the train.
very healthy but it's life was threatened if it was a Jewish child.
ered the baby
in order to examine
relieved to find that it was
girl. It would have been a disaster if it was a circumcised boy. In Poland only Jewish boys were circumcised and this baby would have been killed on The
soldiers believe the baby
was ‘Aryan." To say so without any examination would not do. | decided to make a show of it. | took my gynecological forceps and measured the baby's head from occiputal to brow, from forehead to chin. | measured the
nose, etc, etc. Then using a measuring tape | measured all possible aspects of the head. All the results | carefully noted on a piece of paper. Next, |
picked up the largest medical textbook from my shelf and begun to compare the results with some charts | found there. | made all sorts of calculations and came up with number 23. (Il was born on the 23rd of December so | felt it was a lucky number!) After a while | proceeded to explain my examination to the soldiers and said that the baby was definitely of the Aryan race. They asked
for a written report.
| wrote that based
signed my name and stamped the paper with the "important" stamp. The soldiers picked up the baby and left. | found
out later that they delivered the baby to the City Hall for the
officials there to find it a new home.
The local restaurant owners, Mr. and
Mrs. Krzysztofiak, were childless and were After a few days the baby was christened.
delighted to adopt the baby. Mr. Wozniak who was the
godfather gave the child a gold chain with a cross. The baby was named eresa and Mr. Wozniak promised to take care of her in case anything happened to the child's father. Later Walenty Krzysztofiak was recognized by the Germans as Emil Martene, a participant in the revolt in Silesia against Germany in 1919. He was arrested and executed. Mr. Wozniak kept his promise. He took the child to the area near Krakéw of his friends where she survived the War. Teresa's
and left her in the care natural parents also
survived the War. A few years after the War they came from Israel. Through intensive research they found the child who at that time was 6 years old. They also found Mr. Wozniak. They threw a party to celebrate the occasion. Mr. Wozniak did not accept any financial reward declaring that Teresa's upbringing was financed by God. He was a gardener. His friend was a gardener. The God created vegetables and flowers for them to sell. The child went with her parents to Israel and kept the gold chain and cross with the inscription 'From Mr. Wozniak.’ | learned about the fate of the child from Mr. Wozniak during his visit to Chicago in 1978.
Stasiek Matulewicz came to visit us in June. Being an energetic and industrious individual he had found work as a factory physician in Stalowa Wola. Once situated, he brought over his fiancee. They then married and settled in Zbydniéw. | sent him my patients that came from that region and we were in frequent contact. Whenever the circumstances called for it we took each others place. Stasiek was my second friend from the SPS to settle in this region. Boleslaw Osuch lived In Ulanoéw, across the river. He was a year older than |. | remembered that because of his extremely long arms he was an awe76
some opponent in fencing matches.
In his house we met Dr. Karnibad, a dentist. | suspected him to be a covert Jew. | soon discovered that both of them were involved in the underground. They were part of the doctors’ network that was treating the wounded and sick AK soldiers.
A new construction company, which employed a lot of Poles, named "Radloff" had opened up in Rozwadéw. From that company we met all the engineers. Mr.Rachniowski and Mr. Korcyl were both very musically inclined and played the carpenter's saw. They taught me how to play, and with the accompaniment
of an accordion
by a neighbor,
all the old
pre-War standards. | heard good things from many people about a Dr. Kazimerz Hernich in neighboring Rudnik. | finally met him. He was a charming man and an excellent physician. He also was familiar with the local dialects and customs. He told me that when a woman confesses that she has "stepped over the straw" she meant that she was pregnant, and if a man tells me that his “womb turned" it meant that he had a stomach ache. Dr. Hernich, about ten years older than |, became my mentor. When! had problems with patients | always called him for consultations. | also met
Friar Rysz, the Prior and
of the nearby
monastery. Prior Rysz and Dr. Gordzialkowski were devoted stamp collectors. | used to collect stamps when | was a little boy and | had nothing else to do, | resumed the hobby, which in turn became the center of many inter-
esting conversations with some very interesting people. Prior Rysz's collection was very valuable and he considered it to be the property of the monastery.
Many years later in the United States | came across a book published in Jerusalem in 1968 - "Rozwadéw Memorial Book" - edited by Nachman Blumental. | was surprised to find a chapter written in Hebrew by Brother RYSz | | was informed that the monastery was involved in hiding Jews during the War. In time | became the Monastery's doctor and | immunized all its personnel against cholera and typhoid. | became good friends with Brother Kosma. He often came to our house just to chat. We soon found out that Brother Kosma
the First Padre
of the 1st Brigade of the famous Pilsudski Legion and future hero of the drama
During that time | had also become Prince Lubomirski's family doctor. We were often invited to their home for dinner. We were served by their butler whose last name ironically means German in Polish. Lubomirski's household employed an excellent cook, Mr. Gajda. His creativity was especially appreciated when food became very scarce. He could make superb dishes with whatever was available. His specialties were bean soup, buck wheat groats, meatless hamburgers, carrot or navy bean cakes. His ‘coffee’ made from dried roasted peas was surprisingly good. Later | was told that after the War during communist rule Mr. Gajda was asked to cook for dignitaries. He declined. After dinner we always engaged interesting discussions. We all believed that the Soviet Union would lose to Germany which in turn would lose to the Allies. The German separate countries like Bavaria,
and Soviet Territories would then become Brandenburgy, Saxony (but not Prussia), also
the Ukraine, Lithuania, Estonia etc. Europe would be reorganized by us. We conjected that the confederation of middle European countries made up of Poland, Czechoslovakia and other countries formed by the Fall of the Soviet 77
military power to be
reckoned with. During those discussions we discovered that no one among us had ever read Hitler's "Mein Kampf." Had we, his plans would had been known
During that period Mr. Wozniak, the gardener, also became a close friend of ours. LIVE INVENTORY Mr. Wozniak suggested that we raise rabbits. We had lots of greens in our garden and as it became very difficult to obtain fresh meat, we agreed. As
had that male
paid in kind rather than money we also had a hen, a rooster and a goose. The duck was old, skinny and trouble. He ruled over our menagerie and became a nuisance. Some one suggested that we should eat it. So, someone had to kill it. | refused. Murka would not do it either. We decided
to ask Mr. Trz6szcz,
the stove. someone
to do it.
He would not have any reservations.
else to do it was
often to cut wood
| still had scruples.
On the other hand
nad to eat. While we were debating, Murka asked Mr. Gajda how to prepare the duck. Mr. Gajda said, "I will tell you my secret. In order to make an old duck taste good you have to give it alcohol before you kill it." n the kitchen on the window sill stood a large glass vessel that at one time contained home made cherry liqueur. The liqueur was gone (we enjoyed tt) but at the bottom of the jar there were still cherries soaked in alcohol. When it cdme time for the duck's demise we fed it the cherries. Without
did its job.
had expected it to pass out but instead he became amorous. His object of affection was a chicken. He ran toward her with his rear end wagging all over the place and his neck extended straight in front of him so stiffly that his head looked like it was strung on a wire. The chicken kept running away.
find the chicken
the chase. The performance was so funny that we had no heart to kill the duck and he lived to the end of his natural life. Brysia became the guardian of our menagerie. She was very gentle toward her brood. For example, if the chicken was in her dog house, she patiently waited for it to leave. When the drake was pecking on her back she slept or pretended to sleep. BRYSIA
Basically, Brysia was an outdoor dog, living in her dog house. We often took her with us when we went swimming in the river. She did not like the water. As long as we were not in the water she kept herself amused by running along and sniffing here and there. The moment Murka and | entered the water she immediately sat by our clothes and guarded them. No one dared to approach her. She also accompanied me when | went to make house calls. On those occasions | used a horse and carriage 78
with a driver.
Brysia would ran along the side of the carriage.
off she would
sit on the seat and
not allow any one else near it
including the driver. | often wondered whether she was trained to do so or whether she did it by instinct. One morning | was on my way to visit a patient some distance away. Most of the traffic was heading toward town with people carrying their wares to market. | was watching Brysia running along beside the carriage. Suddenly she assumed an attack position and was ready to attack a man walking toward us. | immediately yelled "Brysial," jumped off the carriage, grabbed her by the collar and dragged her into the carriage with me. She was struggling to get the man. e man kept on walking. "What a dog... what a dog!" the driver kept on saying. “Doctor, do you know who that was?" He was the leader of a notorious gang that robbed and murdered anyone who looked prosperous regardless of whether they were German, Polish or Jewish.
BRIEFING Dr. Richard Herbold, Chief of Medicine, at the 'Herman Goering Werke' in Stalowa Wola summoned me for a briefing with the rest of his ambulatory patient doctors.
heard that he was
an intelligent and
pleasant German. During the briefing we were told that we were all to work toward a German victory. That victory was not only won on the battlefield but was
on the productivity of weapon
factories and the
efficiency of factory workers. He warned us against leniency in giving workers medical leave. He formed a commission with himself in charge that was to determine whether an extended sick leave was necessary for each case. His speech was short, to the point, and without any unnecessary propaganda.
After the briefing he called me to his office.
to the area he wanted to meet me personally. After a little bit of small talk he warned me: "I do not want any trouble with your Polish patriotism. Forand has ceased to exist. Everyone needs to learn to work peacefully for the Reich." | asked him whether | could ask him a completely theoretical question. He said, "OK." “Supposedly Poland won the War," | said, "and as a Pole, | am on conquored German territory and | am talking to you and you are talking to me." He smiled. "If you
were to tell me that you
your patriotism, |
wouldn't believe you.” And | added, "But | won't be any trouble; | work honestly as a doctor." The German Army kept moving East. The official newspapers glorified each German victory in the Soviet Union. We knew better. The soldiers in the Soviet Army had enough of communistic rule. They were waving white flags and surrendering to the Germans. The Germans did not take advantage of the situation. Instead of accepting their surrender they shot them. The German Army kept moving farther East and farther away from their supply bases. Their equipment kept on breaking were to move on as fast as possible.
and the orders from
The ‘Herman Goering Werke' factory in Stalowa Wola was to increase its production of arms. The Germans tightened discipline in the plant. Dr. Herbold took
control over any sick leaves
longer than three days. 79
a lack of trust on
the part of the German doctors. They came close to organizing a strike which could have ended tragically with them in the hands of the Gestapo. | intervened, saying we should obey the new rules. Each of us would simply refer several patients a day to Dr. Herbold for his consultation and decision as to sick leave. He couldn't manage it. After a few days Dr. Herbold gave us back the right to dispense the sick leave only up to one week. have to give Dr. Herbold credit for not listening blindly to the orders from Berlin. From among the thousands of factory workers he picked one hundred of the thinnest and unhealthiest. He measured, weighed and photographed each one of them. He then sent the photographs to Berlin with a letter explaining that his workers needed a much larger food allowance, that a well-fed worker is a more productive one. By his action Dr. Herbold
the respect of his workers
and the doctors.
Dr. Herbold had a very pretty daughter who was engaged to a handsome Air Force officer, a recipient of the Iron Cross. One morning during one of the young man's visits, the young couple found themselves in the buff. All of his possessions had disappeared. The young man lost his uniform, his medals, his documents, even his suitcase. His visit coincided with the underground's need for a German officer's uniform. Dr. Herbold's wife was a different story. She despised Poles and treated them liké garbage. For no reason at all she would slap the servants, and was known to pull a Polish woman by her hair from the barber's chair rather than waiting for her turn. One time someone on the street stuck a pin in her derriere. In any ible level of hatred.
case, her daughter's incident drove her to an incredShe started to report innocent people to the Gestapo
accusing them of sabotage and spreading anti-German propaganda. reports
in arrests, torture and
Poles had had enough. The case was put to the Polish Underground Bureau of Justice. After careful investigation and an underground trial, Mrs. Herbold was sentenced to death. The sentence was delivered to her but the execution never took place. While reading her sentence, she dropped dead.
PATIENTS What is the difference between a general practitioner and specialist? The general practitioner knows a little about everything and a specialist knows a lot about one thing. All the doctors in Rozwad6w area were general practitioners. Specialists worked only in hospitals. But it was also generally known that some doctors knew more than others about different disciplines. For example | knew that Dr. Krason had more experience in obstetrics and gynecology so | referred my patients that needed his expertise to him. With different kinds of difficult cases | could always count on Drs. Hernich or Gordzialkowski to guide me. | did not like to work with a scalpel so when something had to be cut out | sent the patient to Stasiek Matulewicz or he came to my office to perform the procedure. In the region tuberculosis was rampant. TB is a disease caused by bacteria that infects a person in childhood. The disease can remain dormant for years until something triggers its outbreak; as an example, the damage caused to the immune system by poor hygiene and malnutrition could trigger an outbreak. The disease is spread by contact and by air so every time the 80
not a surprise to anyone
that during the German occupation we saw more and more active cases of the disease. During that time the treatment for tuberculosis was to raise a patients
by proper nutrition and
This proved impossible for Poles under the German occupation.
was also believed that an infusion of air into the pleural cavity, immobilization of the lungs and injections of diluted calcium salt could be helpful. | bought the proper equipment and treated patients in this way. On top of these treatment local folks believed in the curative powers of dog's lard. Subsequently dogs began to disappear. | took the prevention of tuberculosis very seriously. Although the priority of Polish
to teach first aid and
included information about tuberculosis and included information about prevention. | was adamant about immunizing infants with the TB vaccine (BCG). | administered the vaccine to all the infants in my care and in the Rudnik
vicinity Dr. Hernich
did the same.
The branch of my practice that took place through the hole in my
fence was also flourishing. One of my steady patients in that clinic was an old family patriarch. He was a very thin old man with a wonderful white
beard. He was suffering with gangrene in his toe. | treated the toe regularly with no results. | decided to ask Stasiek Matulewicz for advice. It turned out that like me he was not afraid to treat Jews. He came over and we went through the hole to see the patient. He confirmed my opinion that the only treatment for the toe was to amputate it. The patient and his family refused so | just kept changing his dressing everyday. | liked the old man.
We had lots of interesting conversations. One
for me in his room.
to see him
| found two
They had been informed by the Germans that within two
weeks they had to abandon their prayer house. They knew that | was friends with the mayor and wanted me to ask the mayor to intervene. | categorically refused. It would not get anywhere and | would jeopardize and Murka's lives.
Anyway, the Germans for some reason did not close their prayer The Jews were convinced that it was because of my involvement
denial they were
sorts of information including a warning that a Jew named Kr6lik was a Gestapo informer. | knew that. He was a tragic-comedy figure wearing long boots ‘and a Tryrolian hat. He was mentioned in the "Rozwad6w Memorial ook. Two new Doctors moved to Rozwadéw. Dr. Szulc who was a psychiatrist and Dr.Z. a general practitioner.
On one occasion Dr. Szulc asked assuring me that nothing serious would
me to cover for him for a few happen.
He was wrong. | was called in to see a young woman who had gone wild. | found her in a room surrounded by broken furniture, torn sheets and pillow feathers. | had a syringe with a strong sedative which | decided to use. One of her relatives offered to help me administer the shot. He was a sturdy young man. | prepared my syringe and we walked into the room. With incredible strength the patient attacked the young man and threw him to the ground. While they were struggling | caught a glimpse of her naked bottom and plunged my syringe in. ter few minutes she fell asleep. We picked her up and tied her in her bed. The
listened very carefully and then he blew up.
| reported the episode to him.
"Shame on you!
You are young 81
and inexperienced and you did not deal well with the situation." ! was hurt. "What should | have done?" "With that patient nothing. You should have locked her in the room and gone directly to fetch the mayor. You should have brought him to the patient, pushed him into the room and locked him in. He deserves it. | told him on more than one occasion that the woman was dangerous and should be locked up in the psychiatric hospital. He did not want to spend the
He would have had a lesson that would have lasted him a life time." Dr.Z. hung up a big sign in front of his office and began his practice. In front of the church on Sunday his mother started distributing pictures of the Virgin Mary with a printed inscription stating that Dr. Z was under her special care and that she helped him cure his patients. He installed in his office an extraordinary
place a patient in a
completely dark ‘compartment within this box. The box would vibrate and a flash of light would indicate that the ‘treatment’ was over. Dr. Z. then would open the box look inside and tell patients what was wrong with them and collect a large fee. (Many years later Dr. Z. was stripped of his medical license. He treated much money).
patients for ‘Pecunia
i.e., the patient had too
EPIDEMIC TYPHUS For the first time in my life | treated a patient with epidemic typhus. The patient was a young man who smuggled food to the cities via railroads. When | came to see him he was semi-conscious and had a temperature over 104°F. He had come down with the fever about a week before. His parents did not summon a doctor right away thinking that it was the flu. The diagnosis was easy. His body, with the exception of his face and feet, was
with a red rash exactly
in the textbooks.
heart beat was not bad and his blood pressure was good which indicated that the patient had a chance of surviving. | explained to his parents the nature of the disease. | pointed out that he had probably been infected by lice he had picked up somewhere on the train. | instructed them how to get rid of the lice and how to prevent this in the future. | asked them to let me know immediately if his condition changed and to let me know if any members of the family or any neighbors got sick. | sent a sample of the patient's blood to the county laboratory to check for the Weil-Felix reaction. The tests came back positive and my diagnosis was confirmed. The patient very lucky that the symptoms
was young and strong. Epidemic
part of my
and the patient medical
in Rozwadow. Therefore, | will elaborate a bit about the disease. In General Government (GG) living conditions and hygiene were declining rapidly. The Children of War - Hunger and Disease - were flourishing. Infectious
The problem was exacerbated by the growing concentration and movement of large groups of people. To the War devastated territory of GG, masses of Poles evicted from their homes came in search of relatives and friends in order to find shelter. People moved from place to place in order to find work. People from the cities went to the countryside in search of food. People from the country went to cities to market their food. The trains became overcrowded. Lice love crowds, and in a crowd lice flourish and 82
spread typhus. Since almost all German males were serving in the Army, their work force consisted of slave labor from captured Poles who also were
transported to Germany in overcrowded trains. Germans were aware of the danger of bringing typhus to Germany because Germans were less immune to the disease than Poles or Russians. A typhus epidemic would have been
a disaster in Germany. Furthermore the Germans knew their history which showed that typhus, cholera, the plague and other diseases often decided
the army that won
healthier than the loser.
There are several examples in history: @in 1157 typhus destroyed Frederico Barbarosa's Army. ®|
against the Turks. In this epidemic Hungary, Serbia, Russia and Poland became endemic foci, probably leading to a higher immunological resistance among Poles and Russians than among Germans. @ln 1632, during the Thirty Years War, when the armies of Gustaf Adolfo and Wallenstein met near Nuremberg, the battle
18,000 soldiers to typhus.
@The French revolution was won not because of "Liberté," “Equalité" and "Fraternite” but because the Prussian and Austrian armies that were defending the "Old Order" were
stricken with dysentery
®During Napoleon's campaign in Russia only 70,000 out of his 600,000 soldiers came back. "General Frost" took the sick and weak. In that campaign more soldiers lost their lives to disease than to battles. During WW I, a typhus epidemic caused the death of 3 million Poles and Russians. In the war against that epidemic many doctors died, among them my uncle Jésef Kolasinski, father of Jurek and Janek whom | have mentioned before. | remember the horror of seeing my Mother with a shaved head after she came back from the hospital where she had survived the disease. In GG
were to be reported to the
German authorities. In particular cases of typhus were strictly monitored. The blood samples of suspected cases were sent to German controlled laboratories. The laboratories were to report positive cases first to the German authorities and then to the attending physicians.
The only test used in these laboratories was discovered by two men Dr. Weil (a Pole) and Dr. Felix (a Czech) in 1915 or 1916. The discovery
involved blood of infected patients in which antigens fused in the presents of Proteus Vulgaris bacteria. This discovery led to a simple test called the WeilFelix Reaction. During the Second World War this was the standard test used by the Germans to confirm the presence of the disease. Polish doctors were given instructions by the German authorities on how to proceed in cases
In the German Medical Journal "MUnchener Medizinische Wochenschrift" (formerly a prestigious Journal before the Hitler era) dated May 24,
1940 an article appeared about typhus article was written by Dr. J. Walbaum.
in the Polish population. The This article demonstrated how
German Medicine conformed to Hitler's propaganda. Its text more or less stated the following: ". . research has shown that in most cases typhus was to be found among Jews." Since Jews lived all over Poland ". . the everdirty Jews infected Poles." Finally Dr. Walbaum comes to the conclusion based on statistical research that typhus is strictly a Jewish disease. Dr. Walbaum
writes further that in ". . the last 6-month
found only among Jews and this is why | have ordered all Poles to avoid any contact with the Jewish population. Because Jews through their economical exploitation and through the spreading of disease are the curse of the country. Therefore the final solution to the Jewish problem is ‘Eine grundlegende Lésung' - the murder of Jews." In the name of animal cruelty the Germans forbid Jews the ritual slaughter of animals. In the name of saving the Polish population the Germans ordered the murder of the Jews. Dr. Ludwik Hirschfeld, a Polish Jew described in his book "History of One Life" the fate of the Jews in Warsaw's Ghetto. He claims that typhus should be called the ‘German’ disease because Germans were responsible for creating the typhus epidemic in the ghetto. They stripped Jews of all their possessions and placed them in crowded unsanitary confinement, as many as 15 people per room.
The German theory of racism claimed "Not people but races were the
basis of nature and therefore a superior race has a right to destroy inferior races (Jews, Poles, Gypsies etc). When the pure Germanic element, through
war, gained proper "Leibensraum," it would then be possible, through the selection of individuals of a pure Aryan race and the elimination of inferior races, to form a racially pure German Nation."
The German Army occupied Smolensk and was moving toward Lenin-
had to be fed and
ecause most healthy young Polish men had been shipped to labor camps there was a lack of agricultural workers. The Germans did not care. They established extremely high production quotas for Polish farmers. When the farm could not produce and deliver the required quota of goods, the Germans imposed a severe punishment which included the possible confiscation of their farms. The Germans had begun to register all live stock. In order to slaughter a pig or even a chicken one had to obtain the appropriate permit. The еда killing of animals carried the death penalty. The Germans also installed ration cards which provided a meager food allowance for Poles and starvation rations for Jews and Gypsies. In self defense the Polish underground gave specific instructions: deliver to the Germans the worst quality grain and deliver just what was required and not.one kernel more. Farmers were encouraged to hide as as possible for illegal trade and for smuggling
to the starving
cities. In the sabotaging of the German war effort, the burning of grain was forbidden and granaries were to be burned only when they were empty. Between German rules and the Polish underground instructions, very 84
creative and sophisticated methods of cheating the Germans were developed. Poles became expert in stealing food from German granaries, forging papers and delivering the same grain over and over to meet quotas in different locations. Polish farmers became experts in forging deliveries of everything from grain to milk and meat. The cheating and stealing was so wide spread that the Germans could not cope with it and resorted to terrorist tactics. For each granary fire they burned villages together with their inhabitants. In retaliation the underground army destroyed police stations. The battle went
on: eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.
What was the role of a doctor in that situation?
How could one
behave ethically under Hitler's biological materialism which precluded ethics and moral scruples in its fight for power? How innocent, in comparison to
the current evils; was the loosening of my own personal ethics in cases where workers asked for a three-day sick leave so they could go to neighboring villages to find food for their families or to participate in underground sabotage actions. | was tormented by these questions: Should | act beyond
traditional duty to heal or prevent
people from German extermination? now. STASIEK MATULEWICZ'S
What could | do?
At that time, | did not
Stasiek lived in Zbydniéw in a small wooden cottage. In the shed behind the cottage he built himself a laboratory. Soon after my first case of typhus | went to visit him. He told me that he also had a patient with
typhus but to my surprise he said that he himself tested the patient's blood sample. | did not think it was possible to do that under such primitive condi-
Stasiek just smiled and explained to me how he did it. The testing environment should be kept at a constant 38°C which was impossible to do without a thermostat. Instead of a thermostat Stasiek put an electric heater on a table, turned it on and with a thermometer he found the area around the heater that was at 38°C. There he put the test tubes with a pre-measured solution of reagent (Proteus OX19 suspension) and the patient s blood serum. If the sample clumped, the reaction was positive for typhus. The fact that Stasiek was
able to perform
the Weil-Felix test in his
laboratory was very significant. It meant that we could get a typhus diagnosis within a few hours and did not have to wait 6 to 10 days for the results from laboratories in Tarnobrzeg or Lublin. It also meant that we could hide patients with the disease when it was imperative the identity of an infected erson had to be kept from the German Authorities. It was even more important for Jewsish patients since a Jew with typhus was shot immediately.
No one at the time knew why Proteus Vulgaris agglutinated in an
infected persons blood serum, not even Drs. Weil and Felix who upon discovery of Proteus in urine assumed that the proteus was causing the disease. Many years later it was discovered that typhus was caused by
Rickettsia which During my bacteria caused an intramuscular you think that it
is a separate microorganism from bacteria and virus. visit Stasiek also shared one of his ideas with me; if Proteus the positive Weil-Felix reaction with infected serum, could injection of Proteus bacteria give the same reaction? "Do is possible?" he asked. 85
"| think so," | answered.
To this he answered,
"But who knows?"
It turned out that he had already performed this experiment and had proved his hypothesis. "You injected Proteus bacteria suspension into a man without fear of infection?” | asked. "Since Proteus bacteria in the solution are killed by phenol, after injection the patient didn't show any sign of infection, not even any red markings on the skin. Six days later | examined the patient's blood..." "And what?" | asked. "The blood tested positive for Weil-Felix." "Stasiek you
made a significant
"Uh," he grunted and smiled.
He had discovered that it was possible
to induce a positive
reaction in a healthy person. And, no one in the world knew it! On occasion a Polish laborer deported to Germany was granted a 14-
day leave to visit his family in GG. If he had not returned to Germany on time, he would be arrested by the police. If he could not be found, his
whole family would be arrested and transported to a concentration camp. Only a serious disease, verified by a physician's certificate, could justify the an extension of the leave of absence (Any irregularity in such a document would be extremely dangerous to the patient and physician alike.) A Polish deportee home on leave became Stasiek's first volunteer. He was
up and transported
to Germany to work in one of their factories. (He had survived allied bombing there). He had managed to obtain two-weeks leave and came home. He had found his family deep in poverty; he considered so he could stay and help and would not have to go came to Stasiek for help. Stasiek felt that he could help him and at the same time to prove his theory.
even amputating his arm back into slavery. He trust him and decided to The patient was
informed that he would be the first person to get the injection and that some unpredicted reactions could occur. Stasiek also warned him about the consequences in case they were caught. Stasiek taught him how to simulate the symptoms of the disease and told him not to say anything to any members of his family. The coached patient soon developed severe headaches and became very vague. The family called Stasiek who injected the patient with his solution. Six days later he took the blood sample. The results were positive. He took another blood sample and sent this one to the
The lab sent him back the red telegram - "The Weil-Felix test is
positive." Stasiek instructed the family to take the telegram to the police who in turn informed the man's employer in Germany. The patient did not have to return and no one in his family would be transported to Germany for fear of bringing in infected lice. | was fascinated and | began to form the idea that Stasiek's discovery could be used on a grander scale. We could create a fake typhus epidemic and thus stop the Germans from arresting and porting men from the Rozwad6éw area. After a while Stasiek agreed
me, although we were both very well aware of the danger invoived if we were discovered. / finally knew
my role in this War
Stasiek and | worked out plan for defending the inhabitants of our We would have the fake epidemic spread the same as a real epidemic that is, through
lines of communication.
epidemic would be in remote villages and in areas near the forests where the 86
Germans were reluctant to go for fear of guerrillas. The incidence of cases would increase in Winter and decrease considerably in Summer. We
were to work independently, spreading the "disease" in the area of our own bought
Stasiek gave me the first bottle of Proteus suspension which he had as a reagent in Warsaw
in the same
store that had equipped
laboratory. This reagent was officially produced by the National Institute of Hygiene and was easy to obtain. Both Stasiek and | would start with just a few cases. Of course we were sworn to secrecy. No one knew about our action,
nor our patients.
| was called to see a very ill patient. His name was Jésef Reft and he was a newcomer to Rozwadéw. | was told that he was an electrician by profession but no one really knew him. | found him semi-conscious with a
very high fever. Diagnosis was easy, he had pneumonia. It was also an ideal case to treat with the Proteus suspension. | gave him an injection and prescribed some other medicines. | told Murka that | suspected this to be typhus and asked her to organize nursing care for the patient. | took this opportunity to train some of the Red Cross volunteers in the care of patients with infectious diseases. A few days after the injection | took the patient's blood sample and sent it to the lab in Tarnobrzeg. When Mr. Reft regained consciousness | told him that he probably had typhus and that | had taken a blood sample and was waiting for confirmation from the laboratory. Sure enough, a few days later | received the red telegram - "The Weil-Felix reac-
tion is positive." The town's
to send the
patient to the hospital for infectious diseases. | went to talk to him. | asked the Mayor to visit my patient. When the Mayor walked into the room he was amazed. The sick room was spotless. The patient, clean and comfortable, was resting in bad. | explained to the Mayor that everything leaving the room was disinfected, that the patient was bathed every day and his clothes and linens were changed and boiled daily. | pointed out to him that thanks to the Red Cross training volunteers had cared for the patient better at home than he would have gotten in the hospital. The Mayor was impressed. After Mr. Reft recovered he was offered the job of town electrician. Mr. Reft and | remained friends. Long after the War, he came regularly to our house to string electric lights on our Christmas tree and through the
he took care of all our electrical problems.
SERUM One day | heard incredible scream from my waiting room. The door of my office flew open and a bunch of Gypsy women barged in. The woman with a child in her arms fell on her knees in front of me screaming, "Save him, save him!" In the commotion | could not figure out what was going оп. "Shut up!" | yelled. 87
Murka came in and | yelled to her, "Throw these other women out!" She did. Only the woman with the child remained. She explained that she had gone to see Dr.R. and he had said that the child had diphtheria and would die. One look at the child and | knew the diagnosis. The child had a diphtherial cough and difficulty with breathing. ! smelled the characteristic
odor. The child was near death. Fortunately, | possessed in my office a treasure; anti-diphtherial serum at that time was almost impossible to get.
did not waste any time and injected the child with the serum. The child's mother, a beautiful young Gypsy woman, watched the procedure with horror.
and soberly looked at us. he child's mother solemnly said, "You have saved the life of the King's son." She kneeled in front of me, kissed my hand, took the child and left taking with her all the other women. They climbed into their wagons and left in a hurry, forgetting to pay for the visit and the medication. At that time the Gypsy's king was Mr. Kwiek who reigned over Gypsy territories in Poland
treated a king's son. LIFE GOES
doctor can claim that he has
had gained experience.
| had opened
As a physician
As a man, | learned to live in the incredible environ-
by the German
From the eastern front the news was getting worse. In September, 1941, Germany occupied Smolensk and Kijew. The German newspapers boasted of the imprisonment of 600,000 Russian soldiers. | discussed all
that the Prince worked in the underground. Father Potaczala mentioned that Mr. Wozniak in the course of his work had lots of contacts with the Germans. He assured me that despite that he was a good Pole and could be trusted. A social life during the German
very difficult to
maintain. We were limited by the curfew. It was safer to stay overnight at a friend's or patient's house than to risk German harassment and arrest. We entertained ourselves by reading books borrowed from the Prince's extensive library. We read "Gone with the Wind" by Margaret Mitchell and "Good Soldier Sveik" by Hasek. | often saw strange people waiting in my waiting room and then leaving before it was their turn. Years
later | found
Gordzalkowski's waiting room and mine were a meeting place for underground contacts and the distribution of the underground press. better not to see anything unusual. We
often visited by Wacus,
a former taxi driver.
On the way
he drove a cab for a good friend of mine, Bogdan Martini.
Before the War
These days he
back to Warsaw
stopped by to pick up food parcels for my parents. We always made sure that we had a food parcel for him also. | never found out why he was making those trips. All | know is that the packages we sent never fell into 88
German hands. As medical doctor | was fascinated by Wacus. He always drunk and yet was never involved in an accident. | was often called to see patients in the surrounding, villages. time | injected only a appropriate patients with Proteus. During the there would be more. There were times that a young caring husband picked me up
was At this Winter to assist
in the birth of his child, only it turned out that the woman in labor turned out to be a wounded male. Experience taught me to always carry extra
dressings. Besides calls to the "Liegenschaft" and the steel workers families in Stalowa Wola | was also dispatched by "Pliszka" (my underground contact). She took good care of underground soldiers. The transportees from Poznan brought with them a strange custom for thanking doctors for their care. | knew it was from the heart but | never got used to reading their thanks, for the attending doctor, with his name included in obituaries.
PAINTINGS My favorite patient was Mrs. Taranczewska,
sister in law. He had asked me to take her as my patient because he believed, as | did, that one should not treat one's own family. Mrs. Taranc-
zewska was a refugee from Poznan. about
She was homesick and she worried,
and fretted over the health of
her young son. She never felt good and needed constant medical attention. During that time we became friends. | was rather embarrassed that after a few month of our relationship | received a painting by her husband Waclaw Taranczewski a well known Polish painter. Through the years she gave us several other paintings.
HORST One day | received a phone call from Oberleiter Fuldner, who now lived in a Charzewice Manor. His son, Horst, had a high fever and he asked me to
see him. | was rather surprised because Germans were forbidden to use Polish doctors, but it was his business and, besides, he had sent a carriage
So | went. The boy was 6 find anything wrong.
years old and outside of a high temperature | could not | calmed the parents down and explained to them that
there were several childhood diseases that started out with a high fever followed by other symptoms. | asked them to send a carriage for me in three days so | could see the child again. | also told them that by then the
child would most likely be well. | happened to be right. After three days the child was back to himself. The parents were relieved and my medical authority grew in their eyes. | was invited to stay for tea.
opportunity to observe the
“Superior Race" in action. Both parents were tall and strong with a cy to gain weight. His face was honorably scarred. She had blond eyes. | was served tea in the Prince's living room with the Prince's The seventeenth century life size portrait of Hetman Lubomirski was
tendenand blue china. absent. 89
In its place hung a portrait of Hitler.
After Mrs. Fuldner paid tribute to Hitler, Mr. Fuldner asked me about my life in Rozwaddéw. He inquired about the general health of the estate workers. He wanted to know whether the rumors of typhus cases in the
area were true.
that they were
that | hoped
epidemic proportions and advised him and his men to avoid infected areas. | also advised him to increase the supply of soap to his workers. | was told that the Poles did not understand their role in the War, that German soldiers were giving up their lives in a fight with Poland's perpetual enemy, Russia, and that they were fighting communism. The Poles did not understand
that they should
food for the Army
"Do you know," he said, "that in comparing the amount of registered chickens to the amount of eggs sold on the black market, the average hen lays 20 eggs a day?" His face was red with fury. | had a very hard time
Later when | told Murka about it we had a good laugh and were very of our Polish chickens.
called to see a patient in Plawo,
a small village located
Rozwad6w and Stalowa Wola. After the examination | was sure that | was facing a real case of typhus. According to Stasiek's and my plans we needed to take advantage of any real typhus cases that showed up. | decided to refer this patient to a different doctor who would take blood samples and send them on to the lab. | decided on Dr. Krason.
| explained to the patient's parents that | suspect typhus and that | was consulting with Dr. Krason. | called Dr. Krason and told him that | was not sure of my diagnosis and since the patient lived in the vicinity of Stalowa Wola German Steel Works we had to make sure in case of an epidemic. Dr. Krason and | met at the patient's house. During the examination he pointed out to me the characteristic rash. "Didn't you noticed it before?" "It probably appeared at night, | was examining the patient in poor lighting," | answered. He just stared at me. As | was hoping he would, he took over the case, took the blood sample and sent the patient to the hospital for infectious diseases in Tarnobrzeg. | decided that it was time for me to go to Tarnobrzeg and introduce myself to the county doctor. After all | had to see for myself his reaction to typhus. His name was Dr. Ludwig Rzucidlo, originally from Lw6éw. | called to arrange the visit and was invited to his house. He was a pleasantly cultured man and greeted me like | was an old friend. We not only talked professional talk, but we
talked of art and
Professionally | learned all | needed to know; to what degree he was controlled by the Germans, what his procedures were, what happened to reports that were sent to him and to what degree the Germans controlled the
| asked him about the typhus epidemic and found out that there were sporadic cases all over the county. He also told me that it was very difficult 90
to find a place for sick patients in his hospital and they would be better off isolating the sick persons
in their homes
and treat them
| liked it.
felt sure that he posed no danger to me. As | bid my goodbyes he asked me to visit him again and promised
that next time
"What?" | asked, "With my upturned nose?" ! also managed on that visit to see in the hospital and found Dr. Rusinowki, overworked and worried about supplies for the hospital.
in the Charzewice
tually the hedgehog found himself a member of our menagerie. Hedgehogs it turns out are easy to train. As a child | had played with them. They are very gentle and do not bite. When a hedgehog decides that no harm will come belly.
to him he will not curl up in a prickly ball but will let us scratch his My Mother told me that as an infant | had an encounter with a hedge-
hog. Once she put me in my buggy. | cried for no apparent reason. When she took me out | would stop. She searched the buggy and under the sheets she found a hedgehog. Murka and | named our hedgehog "Jezyk." We decided to keep him in
the hall in a basket.
Next to the basket
duced Jezyk to Brysia. The introduction was formal. |! explained to Brysia that Jezyk was our new friend and she should be good to him. Brysia tolerated the newcomer the same way she tolerated all the chickens and rabbits. Jezyk in turn did not curl up when she was around. Jezyk
did not like to
At every opportunity
the apartment and thumped directly to Murka or me and asked to be picked up (Hedgehogs
do not walk or run, they thump)
Jezyk was not a ‘he’ but a ‘she’ and we changed his name to "Tupcia" (thumper). Tupcia was very embarrassed by her needles. She would gently lie on her back and demanded that her underside get scratched. She was very spoiled and affectionate. There
During the day Tupcia
and woke up full of energy in the evening. She grunted and thumped all night long but we learned to sleep with the noise. Often at night Tupcia would try to climb up on our bed which was too high for her. One night we heard some unusual noise. We turned on the lamp to see Tupcia squeezing herself between
the wall and
She then patiently pushed
toward the bed. When she reached the bed, she jumped onto the box and then onto the bed. From then on we kept the box where she left it and Tupcia slept with us. Once in the while she poked us, but we didn't mind.
THEY ARE AFRAID! The underground press, radio reports and the official German press in Polish, which we called the "reptile press," all agreed that the German Army was going deeper and deeper into Russia. In November of 1941, the Army was near Moscow. In the "GG" territory the sabotage actions of our underground were in full swing. Bridges, roads, railroads, and trains were being 91
mined on a regular basis. Sabotage was also rampant in industrial complexes including the steel works in Stalowa Wola. After the War | learned that these actions caused German arms production to drop by 30%. During those uncertain times
went to Warsaw.
worried ceaselessly. On the day of her return | was at the station waiting. The train was very late and with every minute of waiting, | imagined the worst. Finally | asked the German station Commander and was informed that the train had been attacked by bandits. "Did the train hit a mine? Were there any casualties?" | asked. He did not know. The hours kept stretching and | got sick with worry. Finally the train came into the station. Murka got off smiling and happy. When we got home she told me what had happened. The train was
in an empty
around the engine and after a while the engine and the mail car left. Several hours later the engine and the mail car returned and the train was on it's way. It turned out that the underground Polish Army unit had stopped the
train, tied up the crew,
the mail car which
transporting a hyge amount of money and then returned the cars. neat job.
It was a
The news from Warsaw was good. My parents were well and thankful for the food packages. No one we knew had been arrested, though arrests and executions were commonplace in Warsaw. me
Due to my work, | often did not sleep at home.
Experience had taught
at a patient's
better off sleep-
ing in the company of fleas than to be stopped by a German patrol. One morning after being away overnight | met the same Commander who had taken me to the train wreck before. "Where
attacked the military train." many
"None," he answered and at that moment something happened that could have cost me my life. After he had said "None," | reflexively said "schade" and bit my lip. He stopped abruptly. In a flash | realized that | had said 'too bad’ in German. | kept on talking in German using the word "schade" as often as | could, all the while saying that | was glad no one had gotten killed. What |! was saying did not make any sense to the German but it was my only hope. He stopped me, "Do you know what you are saying? Do you know what" schade" means?’ "Of course!" | answered. "Schade means something like ‘thank God.'" He
listened and smiled.
He explained to me
what the word
meant and warned me against making any more mistakes. The whole thing turned into a big joke. We were close to his office. He invited me in. For the first time | realized
front door, another guarded the commander's office. Before he opened the door he whistled something. In the office on a tripod stood a machine gun aimed at the entrance. There also sat one big German shepherd. While we were
in the office the Commander
Rozwadow, | would “Was | under serious. He simply case of emergency. He also asked
me that every time |
have to inform him. house arrest?" | thought. It turned out to be nothing did not want to waste any time trying to locate me in me casually what | though about the sporadic cases of 92
typhus in the vicinity (They are afraid | thought). | answered that individual instances were not serious but | advised him and his people not to get too close to the Polish passenge rs on the trains so as not to pick up any lice.
Before | left | asked him why the gun? He said were getting more and more dangerous and with one his desk he could activate it. He added that without attack me upon entrance to his office. (| immediately
told me that | had a wonderful dog. rysia.
that Polish bandits push of a button under whistling the dog would informed "Kruk" about
next | met the Commander
From that moment on |! worried about
Ау young woman came in with a request from "Pliszka" that | was to o immediat eu to Plichéw to attend to a wounded man. | knew the girl rom my Red Cross first aid courses. She came on a bicycle. She told me to
follow her at a distance to enter the third house
and when we reached Plichéw | was down. | followed her on my bicycle.
In front of the designated house | noticed a young man loitering
sure that he and the young
on the bicycle were
guards. When | got inside the wounded man on the bed was clutching his chest. | knew him from Stalowa Wola, his name was Zygmunt Kajzer. "My heart is wounded." "Nonsense," | answered, "You'd be dead by now." | carefully removed the dressing. The wound was exactly at the level of his heart, but it was a surface wound. | could almost see the bullet embedded in the muscle. | removed the bullet and redressed the wound. | assured Zygmunt that he would be well soon. | gave him the bullet as a souvenir.
In his inner jacket pocket
ing a wallet full of letters and photographs.
jacket and the wallet,
of its impact
The bullet had penetrated the and stopped
in the muscle.
Mr. & Mrs. Kajzer had two daughters, Zofia and Irena and two sons Jan and Zygmunt. Murka's sister Basia was a school friend of Irena and Zygmunt. Mr. Kajzer and his sons were soldiers of the "AK." The oldest child was Zofia. She was exceptionally beautiful and was an actress in Warsaw. Before the War she married General Tadeusz Kasprzycki, the Minister of Military Affairs. The bullet in Zygmunt s chest reminded me of an episode in my past. | was about 9-years old and was spending my vacation with my aunt in Maloszyce near Zarnowiec in the Kielce region. My aunt Maria Wréblewska had never married and had dedicated her life to helping others. During WW | she had worked as a nurse in Russian MASH Units. In 1920-1921 she had worked in Polish Army Hospitals. Later she had taught in rural schools and righ before WW Il she had devoted her life to fighting alcoholism along side Prof. Marcin Kasprzak. In the vicinity of Maloszyce there were no doctors and my aunt took care of the sick, among them an old man who had been wounded in the leg by a Russian bullet during the 1863 uprising. He had ever since and
healing. took me so close | did this
all these years
My aunt had taught me how to dress small cuts and boils and often to visit her patients. She also decided that since the old man lived and his wound was not complicated, | should change his dressings. very carefully with rapt attention. One day during the cleaning of 93
the wound | felt something hard. | had gently squeezed the area and a lead bullet from the Russian rifle popped out. | kept the bullet as a souvenir and the old man's wound eventually healed. My Aunt was very proud of me and
told me that | should be a doctor when | grew up. THE PLANS and
| met with,Stasiek to compare notes on some of our special patients we made plans for the Winter. | told Stasiek about my visit with the
county doctor and told him that some Germans, like Oberleiter Fuldner in Charzewice and the Commander of Rozwadéw's rail station were disturbed by the typhus
in the area; that was
Stasiek also had a real typhus case in one of his villages and he
had spread the news wherever he could. He had also managed to place that patient in the hospital. We decided to enlarge the infected territory by injecting Proteus more
often and farther away in villages that the Germans did not often visit. Maybe they would get scared and stop visiting all together. Stasiek gave me enough bottles of the Proteus to last me through the Winter. Our conversation moved to the problem of the Russian prisoners of war who were being transported by the Germans in packed railroad boxcars with no food
local people felt sorry for the
prisoners and tried to throw food into the trains.
shot at them.
In turn the German guards
Stasiek that the Russians
oners exactly the same way while transporting them East.
[ told him about an incident that had taken place in Charzewice. For unknown reason a prisoner train had stopped in a field where a group
off the train and throw
of farm hands were harvesting turnips. himself
One of the prisoners managed to
on the turnips eating as much
could stuff down his throat. He was followed by a German guard with a pistol and even with the pistol at his temple he kept eating. The guard shot im. We talked about other horrors. Stasiek was shaken up because a peasant, his neighbor, had been shot for killing his own pig without a permit. Tragedy
reminisce about S. P. S.
RABBITS lt was early December and it was freezing. In the morning | went out to the yard. Brysia greeted me exceptionally happy. She twirled around in dog fashion. She then sat and definitely pointed toward the rabbit cage. From the direction of the cage we heard a voice. "Take this dog away!" From
under the cage,
blue in the face,
shaking from the cold, and barely able to stand up. He had lain under the cage for hours. | took him into the house where Murka and | thawed him out by wrapping him in blankets, rubbing his hands and serving him hot tea with raspberry juice. He kept saying, "You are good people." 94
he finally came
to himself he explained that had
to rob us. But even though he had wanted to rob us we saved him and treated him as a guest instead of turning him in, which would have resulted in his transportation to a labor camp. one would ever rob us.
hen he left he assured
us that no
This turned out to be not so. Someone did steal our spare bicycle tire from the wall in the waiting room. But perhaps that had been done by an unrelated thief. Other than that, we were never robbed in Rozwadow. WINTER
had a large supply of cut wood,
and our stoves
very well. It was the first Winter since the War began that we were warm. Our hedgehog hibernated in the Winter and we put her in a lined basket in the hallway. One night it was exceptionally cold and we took pity on our turkey hen and to keep her from freezing we also put her in the hallway. Next morning we found Tupcia dead, killed by that nasty, stupid bird! We got rid of the turkey. We could not stand looking at her. That Winter was cold but beautiful. The ground was covered with snow
and | went to see patients in a horse-drawn sled. In Charzewice, Oberleiter Fuldner employed two directors.
the director of gardening, our friend Mr. Wozniak, the other was a director of the farm. He believed in cooperating with doctors so when | wanted to borrow a horse and sled on Sundays, especially when he saw that | could handle the horses, he never said no. Some of the happiest moments of
Murka's and my life during this period were the sled rides, with our cheeks
from the frost, our bodies | had
the proteus injections. | injected blood samples and sent them to result another patient became an with the Germans as a case of a unexpected
inspection or questioning questioned
for the candidates
the chosen patient and subsequently took the official laboratory. With each positive epidemiological statistic and was registered dangerously contagious disease. In case of by the county
written diagnosis and progress notes on each of the No one
| had to have
On the contrary, the
taking of blood samples elevated my status as a good doctor among the patients’ relatives. By the time | received the results from the lab my patients felt much
better and the treatment
irrelevant to them.
When questioned by the patients | always answered that yes they had
but by the grace of God
they had a very mild case.
Both Stasiek and | came across actual cases of the disease. We were both aware of possibly coming down with the real thing. We had to be very careful not to pick up any lice. We knew we had to get immunizations for
us, our wives and few other friends and important people in the under-
ground. Obtaining the vaccine proved to be very difficult because its production was strictly for Germans and unobtainable for Poles. | decided to go to Warsaw and see what could be done. Food, especially meat was more and more difficult to get. (Someone
joked that veterinarians
are better off since they could eat some
patients). Our rabbits kept on multiplying, so we always had fresh meat (a compromise between a soft heart and hunger). 95
For us the Winter of 1941/42
of the world it was a deciding winter.
The myth of invincible Germany was dispelled.
For the rest
On the 7th of December Japan at-
war on the United
The Russians began
The warm weather in the forests brought with it a new breed of armed men. We did not know whether they were bandits or partisans, but the number of sabotage incidents increased. There were some Russian partisans and German deserters. At the same time the Polish underground grew in strength and importance. One night at the beginning of March we were awaken by a tremendous explosion. An oil storage depot in the vicinity of the train station was on fire. That event triggered more arrests. My “through the fence" patients were in despair. Their situation was etting worse. The young Jewish men were being rounded up by the ermans
and sent to a nearby
men hid in the forests. In nearby Mielce a large group of Jews were shot accused of being communists. Unrest grew. Anti-German actions of all kinds, including my spread of ‘typhus,’ were becoming increasingly more dangerous. | noticed that Murka
started to attend church more often. The constant fear and worry interfered with my sleep. | was awaken by the tiniest of noises. | ао not believe in the dreams but one in particular scared me. | dreamed that the Germans had discovered my typhus secret. They took me in, put a metal rod into my head and asked for my collaborators. | screamed, waking Murka up.
What did you dream about?" she asked. "| don't remember," | answered, but | remembered. Again | was visited by the commandant of the railroad station, this time as a match maker. From the beginning he liked Brysia and wanted to breed her with his dog. | told him the she was not in heat. It would happen soon he informed me. | feared that his spies were going to tell him when my dog was in heat, so | agreed under the condition that half of the pups would
be mine. We there was an Brysia an aristocrat,
argued for a while over who would get the extra pup In case odd number. He won. eventually had six puppies. With pride she proved that she was three pups were born without tails.
The Germans took a// of them. What we got was a bitter memory that Brysia's children were to chase Poles. REQUISITION
Prince Lubomirski got sick. | went to see him but it turned out to be nothing serious. More serious was our conversation. He was upset about a letter he had received from his bank in Vienna regarding his safe deposit box
had since WW
his family treasures.
several pages containing a long list of items--diamond necklaces, tiaras, 96
ropes of pearls,
pins, scimitar encrusted
precious stones, saddles and priceless horse griddles.
the list was
The letter that
with seals and swastikas
Prince that Germans had opened the safe and would like the Prince to sign over it's contents as a gift to the German Government. "Bandits!" the Prince yelled. “I'll never sign this!" The Prince chose to ignore the letter.
MILITARY POLICEMAN Again | had an unwelcome German visitor.
in full uniform.
This time it was a military
a tall redhead
with yellow eyelashes.
asked me whether it was true that with one injection | could cure him of “bachelor's
sure he was
that he was
forbidden to see
Polish doctors and wanted to keep his condition a secret; to a degree, | had
him in my power. According to my medical ethics, however, | had to treat all who came to me. Whether he came to see me or not was his business).
"Cibazol" was a new drug designed to treat such diseases. some conversation he asked, "How much?" "Normally 20 Zlotys, but for you 100." "Why?" he asked a bit surprised. “Because Poles have to work anything you want from them."
very hard for a living while you
"Aren't you afraid to talk to me like that?"
afraid to seek help
a Polish doctor?”
"I will pay your 100 zlotys."
Cibazol is administered intravenously. It is a slow procedure he talked to me in pure Polish. ill "If you only knew what | was doing in September il me." °
"Maybe your doctors kill their patients, we don't."
had he done.
of '39, you
| was tempted to
"During the siege of Warsaw, | was in the city giving bombers information as to what should they destroy." "If you were German," | told him, "You are a hero. If you were a Pole, you are a swine.” He did not flinch. When |! was done he got up, got dressed and walked out without a word. He did not pay. My nurse, who listened to this exchange, was horrified. “This was a dangerous Volksdeutsche from Tarnobrzeg. He not only will not pay, but he might take revenge at what he heard."
"We will see,” | whispered. "Let him go to Hell," | said aloud. Volksdeutsche were some of the German minorities, thank God only a few, that collaborated with the Germans. Even before the War, they were
being secretly trained in sabotage. When the War started they acted as a 5th column. From the first moments of the German occupation they became
horrifying persecutors of Poles and Jews whom they knew personally. Because of their superb command of the Polish language, the Germans them to track the Jewish and Polish members of the underground.
A few weeks later after my last patient left, my M.P. patient entered.
With the words
honor, he gave me 100 Zlotys.
meant to attest to his
or no money,
policeman from Tarnobrzeg came to Rozwadoéw.
it a bad omen
that a military
TRIP During our stay in Rozwad6w we made frequent trips to Warsaw. Sometimes we went together, sometimes alone. When | was gone Stasiek took over my practice and Murka took care of the household. The better engines and cars were being used by the Germans, what remained for our use were few and very old passenger trains. They came infrequently and were always overcrowded. Among the passengers there were always a group of food smugglers. As | mentioned before, private food deliveries to the cities ware forbidden. The rations allowed by the Germans were insuffi-
if not for the smugglers
Every day there was
were country women.
in the cities would
battle for survival and the heros
of that battle
During my trip | learned to appreciate their efforts.
| was sitting in a compartment between two women, both rather hefty with pronounced busts. The air smelled of sweat and sausage. These women were not as large as they looked. Under their dresses were wrapped
long slabs of bacon, meat and sausages.
Additional items were hidden in
strived to have
ossible on their bodies and the rest in their luggage.
inspection they knew that the food chance of making it to the city.
stops so they did it during the trip.
In case of a German
on their persons
The railroad tracks were mainly used for German Army transports; thus regular trains pulled into sidings at stations to shorten the time of the military trains. The Police did not have enough time to inspect luggage during these overcrowding.
not an easy task because
In the corridors people sat on their luggage or stood around.
had to squeeze
through the crowd.
by a squadron
routine and knew which stations the police had to get off at. They created as much commotion as they could by supposedly cooperating. They gave the gendarmes the "clean" luggage for inspection just to slow their progress. The noise of screeching women and yelling policemen was horrendous. When
the train came
to a stop at the station it was
policemen with dogs. The moment the train stopped they boarded it and started to rip women's clothes off, beating them and taking with them as much as they could. !n a few minutes they left. It was relatively quiet until the train came to the next station. The regular smugglers knew the policemen and the routine. Often when the policeman entered he was offered food package and left satisfied. | heard that on one train when the police and the dogs entered, the dogs took off after some cats that were released at the station. | also heard a story of one worker in the Health Department. He lived in the suburbs and every day he brought a goose to work with documents
showing the goose was a part of an important experiment. were
impressed and almost saluted the goose every time it passed. No one seemed interested in my suitcases, loaded with food for my parents. | remember one of my friends who often traveled always packed
his food in black paper so the packages would not be visible under the bench against the black walls of the train. He was never caught. 98
One time, among the passengers | noticed a young man who expertly avoided the policemen by staying behind them. He left the train before we
| think he walked the rest of the way to avoid having to
present his documents. During my trips | gained tremendous respect for these women smugglers. | was sure that every one of them would, without thinking, aid any underground soldier in need and would help anyone who was hunted by
the Germans. These same courageous women with bottles filled with gasoline attacked German tanks during the 1939 invasion. AT MY PARENTS They
Nothing had changed at my parents’ house since Murka's last visit.
grateful for the food
In the room
that Murka and | spent our honeymoon there now lived a Jewish woman, Alicja Biernacka. She was a handsome Aryan-looking woman with solid Aryan
She felt pretty safe.
Mother of the
consequences of hiding Jews. To this she shrugged her shoulders and simply said, "It's all in God's hands." She
related a story to me
doctor, Oles (Alexander) Heling. Before the War his father was the Director of the Jewish high school in Kalisz. Oles, as a Jew, had to now live in hiding. He found
for her. woman
an apartment for his mother
and obtained the appropriate
The apartment owner demanded that someone guarantee that the
my Mother's courage. help others. At the time,
| did not know
beyond the woman or their courageousness, activities. If they had to me and was known surprise and pride that
vouching for Oles's mother. They never told me about as | never shared with them my underground helped other Jewish families, it was totally unknown only by them and their Maker. It was with great | received a letter in Chicago, dated 18 December
1995, from "Yad Vashem, Remembrance Authority:"
Ref: Lazowski Kazimierz and Zofia - Poland (6841)
pleased to annouce that the above persons were awarded the
title of "Righteous Among the Nations," for help rendered to Jewish persons during the period of the Holocaust”. A medal embassy ceremony added on
She truly believed that it was her Christian duty to
and certificate of honor will be mailed to the Israeli nearest the honorees domicile, which will organize a in their honor. They are also entitled to have their names the Righteous Honor Wall at Yad Vashem, during their
visit to Israel, or of their nearest relative.
Copies of this letter are being mailed to the honorees, to persons who have submitted testimonies, and other interested parties. Dr. Mordecai Paldiel (signed) Director, Dept. for the Righteous cc:
Mr. Eugene S. Lazowski M.D., Chicago, IL, U.S.A. Prof. Barbara Heling-Rotem, Jerusalem, Israel
Mrs. Blanka Goldberg-Godet, Boulogne, France
ZIH = Poland Dr. Rodika Radian-Gordon,
Embassy of Israel, Warsaw
Ooo My Father never spoke of any of these ‘domestic’ events.
was fairly up to date with World events. speech, published by the underground:
He related to me
“Germans are executing Dutchmen on Mondays, Norwegians on Tuesdays, French and Belgians on Wednesdays, on hursdays Czechs, Croats and Serbs and Poles every day." Churchill was right.
losses in Russia.
The Germans took revenge on Poles for their
Poles at random
every day. It was estimated that in the preceding month 30,000 people were arrested. Worst of all was the fate of Jews. The Warsaw Ghetto was surrounded by dying of starvation, diphtheria, epidemic [п the medical store on Marszalkowska various laboratory reagents and a large supply were
walls and all the Jews inside typhus and other diseases. Street | bought a supply of of the Weil-Felix reagent in
order to repay Stasiek s loan and to have enough for my "epidemic."
Warsaw was gray and the people looked gray. The people had learned to be on constant lookout for German patrols, and when a military vehicle
was spotted they disappeared into the walls. Spontaneously a brotherhood of the streets was formed. People alerted each other to any danger. The tram engineers informed each other and their passengers about the roundups.
All Poles were brothers. | met with Jan Mockallo in secrecy. needed a supply of Weigle's vaccination.
In case of a real typhus epidemic It was very difficult to obtain the
| convinced Jan that | should vaccinate about 10 of the most underground
activists in my
Princess Lubomirska and Father Potaczala). Jan said that it was a lot, but he would do what he could. It had decided that when he got the vaccine, he
pick it up at the
agreed location. We talked about the arrests in the State Hygiene Institute (P.Z.H.) and the Gestopo torturing doctors for hiding some of the Weigle's vaccine there. | thought of my steel rod dream and decided to obtain a cyanide
not afraid of death,
but torture was
In case of arrest | did not want to lead the Gestapo to Stasiek and my other contacts in the underground. Jan understood and directed me to one of our older SPS pharmaceutical colleagues, who also gave me code words to use so he would know what | needed. | got the capsule.
In three days | finished all my The trip home was uneventful.
| said good-bye
Stasiek had taken
care of all my
patients but had met with a small accident in Charzewice. On the way to see a patient, his bicycle slipped and he fell into a very cold pond. AK One of the basic rules of a conspiracy is to know as little as possible
about your co-conspirators. The less you know the less you can reveal in case of arrest and torture. | was very curious to know who "Pliszka"was.
Was she young or old? Judging by "Pliszka's" organizational and technical skills | suspected that she had some military training. Maybe she was someone trained in a P.O.W. of my parent's generation. | couldn't ask
Princess Lubomirski or Father Michal, because it was against the rules.
"Pliszka"*was someone from Stalowa Wola, which is why | was
called to treat Mr. Kajzer and others.
her skill in all
matters, including the organization of hiding places for wounded partisans, and follow-up for changing dressings, was flawless. My respect for this
unknown co-conspirator grew daily. Murka and | and all our friends learned to accept the defeat of September, 1939. The Germans had won. They occupied our country
worked at obliterating our culture.
We believed it was not a final victory and
regain our independence.
The Polish Army regrouped in the West. The war continued on the Russian and African fronts. In Poland the underground was getting stronger. It could
be felt even
in a small town
That Spring the Z.W.Z. became the A.K. Almost all Polish underground military units joined the A.K. The change did not affect the way we worked in our territory. The differences between the A.K. and N.O.W. remained the same as they were between Z.W.Z. and N.O.W. Both organizations had the same goal - to beat the Germans and to regain Polish independence. | also discovered with joy that Mr. Wozniak with whom we had become friends was also a member of the underground. My practice grew day by day. What about Murka? | always had a warm and pleasant place to come to. The meals were always ready and waiting for me even when | had to work very late. The garden not only grew vegetables but also flowers. Most
a true friend.
relax, laugh and unwind
in her company.
Jokingly | tried to prove that a man needs at least three wives.
One should be beautiful and sexy, the second should be a good housekeeper and companion, and the third should be intelligent and well-mannered to the outside world. Marital happiness is to find all three in one person. | was a very fortunate person.
NEWS Murka and | suspected that she was pregnant.
Murka to Dr. Hernich to be sure.
We decided to send
On the appointment day | had lots of
patients. Murka always wanted to be independent, so | agreed that she could go to Rudnik by train. It was a short trip. | saw
patient after another but my thoughts
she pregnant? Ivalso felt guilty about her going turned as | was seeing my last patient. и
alone to find out.
"Yes, but....," and she told me what happened.
Dr. Hernich had confirmed the pregnancy, and said she was due in December. He gave her an appropriate document in German with an appropriate seal. At the Rozwad6w train station all passengers were surrounded
by German soldiers - a trap. Several SS officers had selected the young men and women from the crowd and set them apart under guard. In the arrested group was Murka. She was saved by Dr. Hernich's document. We were very moved and happy that Murka would be a mother. | kept thinking about what could of happened, especially since she was pregnant. It was possible that we would not have seen each other again. From there on | decided that she was not to travel alone. Enough of independence. (We'll see how
out in real life).
THE CAPSULE? knew
| felt responsible for Murka and our unborn child from the moment | she was pregnant and | was more and more insecure about the cya-
nide capsule | carried in my pocket. | was afraid of being arrested during a German round-up and of interrogation. | was terrified of torture. | did not much
pain before death. But now with Murka being pregnant | was questioning my right to take the pill. Could | leave her and the child alone? Was suicide
an act of cowardice?
| destroy the capsule?
slight change in my attitude toward my underground work.
Without a doubt
with the capsule in my pocket | felt braver and more secure and at the same time | became more cautious. | decided that without me Murka would survive and do well even with the child. | did not destroy the capsule. | was sure that | would not use it
During one of my visits to the hole in the fence, | met several Jewish elders. They wanted to talk to me. They were appalled by current events. In Warsaw's Ghetto, Jews were dying by the thousands. In many other
tions. They heard about trains going to Belzca - no one ever came back. Hadn't | heard anything? Did | know that in Mlodyh (a village between Rozwad6w and Stalowa Wola) there was a camp for Jews? (The camp existed camp.
only 6 weeks.)
| knew about the camp. The
It was dangerous to be in the vicinity of this
shots heard from the camp, it was obvious whom they killed. anything about the trains? siding.
cars of such a
train, on their return trip, stood
Had | head
for a while on
One of the railroad workers had taken me to one of the cars: "Look,"
he said and
pointed to the floor.
The entire floor was
pieces of paper.
they were mostly Dutch Guldens mixed up with American Dollars, English Pounds,
stocks and other valuable securities.
The they start was
also distinguish torn pieces of bonds,
One could imagine what had happened.
Jews were told they were being transported to a new community where were to start a new life. Obviously they took with them their capital to all over. At some point on their journey they must have realized what to happen and before they were unloaded, they destroyed everything
that the Germans would profit on. They destroyed millions. What could | advise them? | knew that in the surrounding forests there were bands of armed Jewish men and women. The forest was their
only chance. Several weeks went by and, on July 21, 1942, the German Police came to town. They announced that all the Jews were to meet in the town
They were to take with them only what they could carry.
families of Jews were leaving their homes. Men with bundles, young women with small children, the elderly. | was surprised to see how many Jews lived in town. All this was happening in front of our windows. The
windows were closed yelling orders, pushing the ground was shot. disease." | recognized
to me that he was
but and The him
we could see everything. The Germans were beating people into submission. Whoever fell to man in charge was my patient with the "bachelors and remembered his name - Nowak. It seemed with his finger to the gray haired
men and women. The finger turned out to be a pistol barrel - point-point and a life was over. He noticed a young woman with a baby in a carriage who was trying to hide in the crowd. He ran to her, kicked the baby carriage. The child fell to the pavement. With the heel of his foot he ground the child's head into the ground. It was too far for me to hear the sound but | felt the grinding in my own head. Some Police did not shoot, they used rifle butts to hit and smash children's and old people's heads. We watched in
horror through the curtains of our house. Murka and my nurse, Maria, knelt in prayer. | heard the whispers of their prayers intermingled with the gun shots which sounded like hands clapping. | observed my patient as he searched out old men, women and children and systematically killed them.
In my head | could hear his voice telling me "If you knew what | was doing, you would kill me." The whole thing was weird because if it hadn't been for gun shots
orders, the scene
silence. We could not hear the crying, complaining, or the mothers’ reactions to the killing of their children. The people were in such a state of shock that they did not try to defend themselves. They walked to the trains hypnotized by the horror. Trucks appeared on the town square. The Germans ordered a few of the young Jews to load the dead. The trucks left and the town square became quiet. The silence was interrupted by occasional single gun shots. The Germans were killing the disabled and sick
who had remained in their homes. They also shot people who tried to The Patriarch, my sick patient, was shot in his bed. The Jews who survived the massacre were loaded on freight trains
and were taken away.
The bodies were buried in a common
of town. The Germans, who cared tremendously about hygiene, took care to pour lye on the bodies. Jésef Nower who survived the massacre wrote a poem entitled "|
Wanted to Believe in People," which can be found in the "Rozwadéw Memorial Book," printed in Jerusalem, an unusual book - chapters in four languages, Hebrew, Yiddish, Polish and English.
I believe in animals But I no longer believe in humans. After Majdanek and Treblinka And caravans of living cadavers, Herded over the cobblestones of Polish roads, I no longer believe in humans. . After gas chambers Suffocated these human beings. Listen - these were real human beings. When, from afar comes to me Nightmares of smoke from burning bodies, I can no longer believe in humans. After Dahau and Aushwitz Where babies were torn to pieces And those German brutes Made out of human bodies living graves, I have stopped believing in humans. You will tell me that the human mind Conquers the mysteries of nature, Cracked atoms And brought on progress and culture, That artists create beauty And philosophers miracles . . What magnificent works of Art And so many sublime ideas! Yet this is nothing. Can it at all compensate for The holy burnt offering Of the bodies of brothers and sisters who perished
By Crematoria, torture and gas?
Who can convince me That the golden ideas of Kant or Rafael's paintings Could raise up human beings above the jungle? Who That That Can
can convince me all the existing cultural treasures, we are proud of, compare to the tears and pain of mothers
From whom their children were brutally torn? Something during Yet something else I so much want to I so much want to
the War snapped inside me, groans, weeps, still cries out. embrace people. believe in humans.
Translation into English was interpreted, at the request of Dr. Lazowski, by Francis J. Muno Jr., with humility and trepidation. March 1996 oo
on July 21,
Hitler's final solution to the Jewish problem took place
| do not know
to survive the
massacre, but | know that the local Provost survived 6 years of German
occupation even though he was born Jewish. Many people were aware of the fact and yet no one betrayed him. We did what we could. Hurray for Rozwad6éw!!
KRAKOW The telephone rang. Princess Anna called for me to come immediately Her Mother felt very weak. By the time | came in, Princess "Bunia" was feeling better. | examined her very carefully and outside of general weakness | could not find anything wrong. | suggested that because of her age they should take her to Krakdéw to see a specialist. The family had an apartment in Krakéw so they agreed to my proposition. Princess Anna asked me to accompany
The trip was very unusual.
in turn asked
We traveled in their private car, a railroad
freight car specially adapted for such trips. It was richly furnished with carpets and comfortable furniture. The car was attached to different trains
heading for Krakéw. During the stops at some stations the Princess was visited by the local nobility. The longest stay was planned for Przeworsk.
On the side la noblesse | was She told us
track the Princess received many relatives and friends - toute de polonaise titre. lucky the Princess felt healthy during the trip. We talked a lot. several anecdotes from Vienna's Court of Francis Joseph which
she had attended. On this occasion she taught us the art of whittling apples “comme il float" (on the fork). We delivered her to the bosom of her family. At our departure
us her photograph
with a nice dedication.
the last time we saw Princess "Bunia." In Krakéw there was no sign of the War as in Warsaw, but in the town where legendary Princess Wanda had thrown herself into the Vistula rather
like the one
by the legendary hero Krak, in the disguise of Governor Frank, again demanded bloody sacrifices. A contemporary Krak will come to kill him. Everywhere
one could see different German
the towns atmosphere. While
on the street we
| had reminisced
did not match
ran into my
SPS, Wladek Szyszko. | was very happy to see him. He had been our pianist and entertainer. Since | had seen him last, he had gotten married and was living in Krakéw. He invited us over. Their apartment was very elegant. We met his wife, an elegant and gracious hostess. Before the tea arrived,
and sang some of our old standards.
sat at the piano
During tea (real tea) we talked very
pleasantly until Wladek told us that his wife was the daughter of Professor Felix Mlynarcki, the Director of the Bank of Issues of the General
Government - we were in the home of a collaborator!
| felt cold.
| looked at each other and soon after, we said that we had some important business to attend to and left. On the way out we noticed that the
apartment was guarded. It was not until after the War that | discovered that Prof. Mlynarski was not a collaborator. He had taken the position as the Bank Director at the order of the exiled government in London. | felt ashamed of what | had thought of Wladek's father-in-law.
our internal front, in occupied
in the world
Potaczala and from the underground radio and press. The news was good and bad. The bad news was about the continuous executions, the more drastic extermination of the Jews (in Warsaw's Ghetto 10,000 Jews died daily). The good news was about the defeat of the Germans at Stalingrad and the Allied victory in Africa. We all waited for the "Second Front," but we heard nothing about it. grew.
Poland, the strength of the A.K.
There were more acts of sabotage, diversion and self-defense.
forests the partisans became more and more organized. Father Michal liked to stop by for some conversation; sometimes they were serious, sometimes funny. For example, we discussed faith. | claimed
that faith is a gift of God. religion but they cannot
"I tell you ing on top of a "| do not cal studies," he drobe.
One can believe in God and the dogmas of our
this from the heights of scientific knowledge," | said climbchair. agree with you and | am telling you from the higher theologianswered climbing on top of the table.
In order to win my
on the stove,
he on the war-
At that moment Murka came into the room. “Boys! get off the furniture at once!" We were all so young. Stasiek and | decided that during the Winter of 1942/43 we would "immunize" more people with the Proteus bacteria and we would expand the false typhus epidemic in the area. We had become more experienced and better equipped.
both felt that our action was
methods of fighting the enemy.
one of many
A false epidemic would help throw off
to see me.
Wola. "Doctor, we are not sick. We came to thank you for the sick leaves you arranged for us. As a token of our appreciation we would like you to have this. We made it specially for you from very ‘special steel’."
It was a signet with my family crest. Later | found out that my new signet really was made with special steel. It was a new type of steel
recently introduced by the Germans for arms production.
of this new
| think | received
earlier than the Allied Forces.
RIVER BANK Father Michal Potaczala requested a meeting.
He wanted me to meet
his friend Father Francis Ladowicz who was a vicar in Bieliny in Nisko county. | arranged the meeting in my house during a time | knew Murka would be in Stalowa Wola. | liked Father Ladowicz from the beginning. He was tall, blond and handsome. His manner was open and honest. He came with a companion who was introduced to me as a member of the under-
Father Ladowicz's code name was "Kalina" and recently he was
a chaplain to the partisans of the Polish underground
command of "Father Jan.” | was to supply the Army with dressings and medicines through Mr. Wozniak of Charzewice. Mr. Wozniak worked with "Sowa" who was Princess Lubomirski
still a mystery
Murka returned we had tea made from burnt sugar and cookies and our conversation moved to general subjects. soon after that visit, in the middle of the night, | heard a knocking at my window (it had to be someone who needed help, the Germans banged on the doors). It was Father Michal. "Со то bank of the San behind the church," he said and disappeared. | went. There were no wounded but in the middle of the river | saw a horse-drawn
It had to be heavy
stuck in the mud.
ghosts, several men materialized in the water, the cart was moved and helped to dry land.
arms transport for "Father Jan's" unit. My duty was to be there in case of a medical emergency. | was impressed by the speed with which the men were mobilized. THE HUNT It happened
in the middle
in her last
month of pregnancy, and she had lost that girlish look. Now she looked serious and graceful. It was a nice day and we were in a good mood and
taking a walk. We noticed two drunk German soldiers leaving a bar. We walked fast and closer to the buildings on the town square. We caught their
attention, especially Murka in her advanced state of pregnancy. They laughed and from their loud comments | understood that they had the intention to kill two Poles with one bullet. We heard a shot. A bullet hit the wall next to us. There was a second shot that missed. We hid in the passageway between two buildings. We heard more shots. They both were shooting now but not in our direction. They'd d found another target, a dog.
JOY The last checkup with Dr. Hernich was good.
He assured us the
pregnancy was normal. We decided that the baby would be born in our house under his supervision. Everything was ready. On Tuesday December
15, 1942, a little girl was born and immediately announced her arrival with a healthy scream. Murka was tired but happy. | had tears in my eyes and so
all here together,
the little girl OleAka, nickname for Alexandra (If it had been a boy his name would have been Andrze)}).
COMPLICATIONS The joy in our house was short-lived. Murka got sick. She developed chills followed by a high fever. Tragedy - misfortune in a doctor's house -
post natal infection. All my friends, Stasiek, Dr.Krason, Dr. Gordzialkowski and Dr. Hernich offered their help in saving Murka. It was before penicillin and the only drug we had was Sulfa. Despite large doses, the medicine proved to be useless.
We did everything possible and yet her condition deteriorated each day. We could not stop the infection. We fought the high temperature by wrapping her in cold wet sheets
to her forehead.
had the help of the PCK students. | suspected they were part of the underground. Nights were the worst. | will never forget the nights Stasiek spent by Murka's
we were losing her. by nightmares.
his heroic efforts to keep
her alive when
Murka kept losing consciousness.
reliving the Warsaw
She was tormented
| sat by her side apply-
ing cold compresses, administering injections and taking her pulse. Death was lurking in the background, not in the form of a skeleton with a scythe, but in the form of mercury in a the thermometer which climbed above the measurable level. It seemed that the thermometer would burst. Could her body
withstand it? The first week
by, then the second.
hot black sunken
eyes looked up at me from the bed. After a bout of the high temperature her pulse weakened. Injections of caffeine seemed to help a little. Those weeks | lived only for taking care of her and trying to save her life. During her short periods of conscjousness she wanted Olenka next to her. The baby spent most of her time sleeping. She was
a quiet infant.
When she was not hungry her grandmother and Maria took care of her. Murka was aware of what was going on. She asked for the priest and said good-bye to me and her mother. With a weak voice she kept on saying her good-byes. One evening when she was conscious | noticed she wanted to tell me something. | bent down and she whispered, "| am Pliszka."
During bad times one learns who one's friends are.
our friends and acquaintances.
The news of Murka's Patients
Mrs. Doctor was sick and brought over milk (because it is healthy) and chickens (because chicken soup is a medicine and gives strength). Princess Anna visited us and helped as much as she could. She even brought Murka an old red wine which was supposed to cure all ills. The other doctors not only contributed their energy to Murka, but they also took over my patients
and thanks to them | could spend most of my time with her.
If | was called
they made sure somebody was with her. During that period | received a letter from Dr. Mockallo that the vaccine for typhus was waiting for me and | would have to pick it up within
ten days or else it would be given to someone else. | could not go. Stasiek and | hadn't forgotten our plans for the epidemic. Before Murka's sickness | had managed to inject all the appropriate patients with Proteus.
her illness Stasiek operated
Toward the end of the third week Murka began to feel better.
and blue from the intravenous injections. was getting stronger.
very thin and
The worst was over.
| just did not know how to thank all those people for their help and support. Our daughter was healthy. | returned to my patients and my
The life of two important co-conspirators under the same roof improved their collaboration. | felt that Murka was a better conspirator than
| because she knew that | was "Leszcz" and | did not know that she was "Pliszka." Murka, however, still did not know about Stasiek's and my immunological war and about the cyanide pill. She had been going to church
of religion but to meet
ACHTUNG,FLECKSFIEBER! Continuing on with our "epidemic" plans | caught up with my Proteus
injections quota to the point that the incidence
of positive reactions
territory and the signs
exceeded the statistical expectation of typhus cases for the existing population. Several neighboring villages were declared as an epidemic "Achtung,
turned up on the sick houses. deportation
The Germans also got their orders and the
began to feel
safe and more relaxed, although people were still worried about meeting
their provisions quota. Each "Achtung, Fleckfieber"
Stasiek that we
succeeding in obtaining our goals and personally we felt safer. our success. Thank God for Stasiek's discovery. The epidemic terrified the Germans. Only Stasiek and
epidemic did not exist and that we were winning our immunological war.
about the epidemic.
outlined to him my plan of fighting the epidemic in the territory that he was responsible for. | assured him that Dr. Matulewicz and | were doing every-
thing possible to suppress the outbreak. | suggested to him that he should increase the allowance of soap for each of his workers, and | promised to
report any new cases. | received a phone call from Dr. Herbolt in Stalowa Wola.
up | phoned
As soon as |
not afford to spread the
epidemic to Stalowa Wola in case Dr. Herbolt personally started treating the
patients and discovered in the laboratory that each case was fabricated. | cannot deny that from time to time | experienced episodes of fear that we would be discovered. The fact is that until now we had been
successful. We planned to decrease the amount of sick people in the Spring and show only a few cases in the Summer following the pattern of an actual epidemic.
CHRISTENING Murka's health slowly returned. She was now able to take care of our child and the house and our life gradually returned to normal. We decided that it was high time for Olehka and Brysia to get acquainted. ! explained to Brysia the it was our child and that she had to love it. She listened. Walked over to Olenhka, sniffed and left. She did not show any emotion. We decided it was time to christen our pagan child. The date was set for February
Actually we were to celebrate two events, the christening and Murka's recovery. We invited all our friends disregarding their social standing - the Prince and the Princess, Mr. Wozniak, the gardener, Mr. Reft the electrician, the town's Mayor and many, many others. The Godmother was Murka's sister Basia, the Godfather
who at the time was a prisoner in a German camp.
He was represented by
my other friend Tadzio Wegrzecki, a former co-worker of Murka's Father. The Godparents went with Olenhka by carriage across the square to the Church. She was christened by Father Ziemianski, who had married us, to the
accompaniment of beautiful music played on two saws (Tadzio Rachniowski and Mr. Korcyl), a violin (Mayor Krzechlik) and the organ. Our daughter was named Alexandra Barbara. The convert was greeted by our guests in my office (closed for Sunday). Our entire house was decorated with garlands and flowers courtesy of Mr. Wozniak. Despite the War there was plenty to eat. Our musicians greeted Olenka with a specially composed Polka, "Polka Olenka.” It was a simple 8-beat tune played in different tones and variations. The place was packed. | apologized to Mr. Rakowski, our wedding witness,
that our drinks were
to his recipe - a pail of
alcohol and one juniper berry, but according to secret recipe of Murka's. We did not lack drink. Liegenschaft was paying in goods. The combination of
and lots of drinks resulted
We did not have enough room to and other important guest holding all forgot for a moment about the misery. | nodded to Stasiek, and we ‘epidemic.’
in a happy
dance, but you should have seen the Prince hands and dancing around the table. We War, the German occupation and all the drank to our successful secret - the
REVOLVERS Prince Lubomirski was visited by two German generals, both older gentlemen representing the old German aristocracy. According to custom they left their pistol belts and revolvers in the hallway. After a short visit they left and found their guns gone. The shock was overwhelming. It was not an ordinary theft. It was a theft of arms. There was only one punishment for a Pole stealing arms - death - and the revolvers were obviously taken by a household member.
The Gestapo investigation and interrogation would, of course, proceed. However the Generals behaved like gentleman. They assured the Prince that it was nothing, said their good-byes and left. There was no investigation or interrogation. The incident went unreported. The
for the use of the underground
Herakliusz Lubomirski, whose father was murdered in Aleksanria in the Wolynh region after the Soviet Army entered. In the
Soviets and sent to a Gulag to work in the mines. Eventually he was released and on the way to back he met and married a beautiful Georgian Princess,
APRIL OF 1943 In April of 1943, the anti-semitic atrocities reached their height. In the Warsaw Ghetto Jews were being killed by the thousands, and tens of thousands of Jews were being sent to death camps. On the 19th of April, in the
Warsaw Ghetto, Jews took arms and after an uneven and desperate fight
were obliterated. They died with honor. lronically, a few days before the Ghetto uprising the German press used the word "Katyn." Just the mention of the word "Katyn" became for
Poles synonymous with the mass murder there. The Germans had uncovered mass graves of Polish officers interned by the Soviet Army after September 17, 1939. They exhumed about 4,500 bodies, each with a
single bullet in the back of the skull. Poles immediately believed the German report. Communists denied the reports. The newspapers printed the photos of the graves and published the list of the victims. On that list | found the names of Witold Baldwin-Ramult and Boleslaw Kosterski and the name of a
third colleague from SPS whose name now escapes me. | realized that if | had not jumped off that train | would have eventually ended up in Katyn with
my companions who had stayed together to the end. From the SPS | found the names of two friends from my class. From my childhood friends | found
the names of Leszek Bryzek (a captain in the legal corps) and Bogdan Martini (a Lt. of the armed vehicle unit). Murka found the name of her cousin, Stasiek Gierycz. Among the murdered, the officers of the reserves dominated the list. It was а cross section of the Polish intelligence and professionals - doctors, professors, lawyers, school teachers, judges and clerks. They were murdered because Stalin's aim, like Hitler's, was to destroy Polish culture.
(My dear friend from
by Polish communists as an organizer and leader of the Polish Socialist Military Organization, believing that communists worked for the Soviet Union,
not for Polish independence).
all the officers, noncommissioned officers and cadets interned
sent to three prison camps
Kozielsk, Starobielsk and Ostaszkéw. Only the exhumed bodies which had been interned in Kozielsk camp were found. What happened to the rest? Many years later mass graves in Miednoje and Dergachew were found. Not until 1989, after 46 years of denials, did Gorbachev admit that the Polish officers were murdered by Russians.
MY PHARMACEUTICAL The
CABINET filled my
my office was stacked with the supplies and drugs, furnished by the PCK
and the Social
Health Center for treatment
of their patients.
supply was very meager mainly because of my illegal patients, the ones that had to hide from the Germans. They were members of the Underground Army (Father Jan's unit alone had about 200 soldiers) and, until recently, the Jews. My little supply had to stretch far. Princess Anna was very good at obtaining the necessary drugs and other supplies from the Central Supply of PCK and the local pharmacy. But it was very difficult because production of medicines and first aid supplies was mainly for the Germans. As an excuse for the dwindling supplies in Polish hospitals, the Germans published articles about and instructed Polish medical personnel in a "modern" and "natural" way of treating wounds. They called it "the method of the open wound
system." The wounds were not to be covered by a dressing but left exposed so that flies could sit on the open wound and lay eggs. The
hatching from the eggs would feed on the puss and bacteria and clean the infected area. | am sure that the Germans did not use that method on their
| had to manage my supplies very carefully. | kept a double set of | devised my own bookkeeping system which was aimed at confus-
ing the inventory
in case of inspection.
easy to cover up the discrep-
The incoming amount of supplies had to equal the outgoing amount.
| kept chronological list of all my patients together with the drugs given to them to cover up for the discrepancies. | took advantage of the fact that my office was close to the railroad station.
Rozwad6éw was a major railroad junction; the passenger traffic was heavy and many passengers had to wait hours between trains. If anyone needed medical help they were directed to my office. These patients had the capacity to multiply my patient load on a large scale and | listed more
and more of them in my books. | recorded their first and last names with
their sex, their complaints,
and their addresses like, "on the way from Lublin to Warsaw, to Krakéw," and other places. Of course each one of them took some medicine with them on their journey in case they felt worse. As time went by, | mastered my bookkeeping system. One day a car stopped in front of my office. Two men
a chauffeur entered
and talked to me
in crisp German.
dignitaries of the Social Insurance Health Center, one from the capital of GG
(Krak6w) and the other from Rzesz6w. They came to inspect the way | managed my supplies. | presented my beautifully kept patient book to them and | opened my cabinet. They started checking and counting. They also checked the book. The inspector from Kraké6w wanted to know why my records were kept in Polish,
not German. In my basic German | explained that these were my personal notes from which | made my formal reports that | sent to the authorities on time and on German forms. It turned out that the other inspector knew Polish and began to systematically read my notes. He even asked several
questions. He showed the books to the other guy and began yelling and swearing at me in German. | gathered that my system was very stupid and even if he had not call me "Polnicsche Schwein;" and the phrase Polnische
Wirtschaft was used a lot.
He kept pointing his finger at me and yelling
louder and louder. The chauffeur did not take his eyes off of me and | expected him to hit me. | was afraid they would call the police and have
Finally they said something to each other and left.
My office was a mess. My cabinet was opened and all the supplies on the floor. Poor Murka, she had heard everything through the walls.
| imagined what went through her head. She came down and helped me straighten up. We were both scared to death and tried to reassure each other. | thought a lot about those two Germans. Something was not right. | had dealt with German doctors before and they were always rather cordial. Not these two, especially the one that spoke Polish. Several days later a car again pulled up in front of the office and the tough looking chauffeur stepped out. His face softened, "Doctor!" He called to me. "Greetings from the chief. He asked me to deliver somethings to you."
| helped him unload some large cases of dressings and medicines. "You do not have to account for them," he said as he climbed into the
car and drove away. "God bless you,"
in the name
Years later in Warsaw | met the Secretary of Health Dr. Tadeusz Michejda. | was amazed to see that he was the Social Insurance Health Inspector that had visited me in Rozwadéw. He winked.
that the German
halted on the
outskirts of Stalingrad and that the Allies were winning in Africa.
to us that the final defeat of Germany
In the meanwhile, "AK" kept growing in strength. According to postWar data, the AK after the union with the National Military Organization (70,000 soldiers) with the 40,000 soldiers from the Peasant Battalions and it grew to 400,000.
the armies. It was a strong force that Germany had to reckon with, especially since 85% of all German transports moved to Russia through Polish territory. In order to insure the safety of its transports and to fight the AK,
had to keep
The union of AK and NOW
of its forces
resulted in better coordination of
that army specialized in sabotaging the German Army's train transports. In charge of that operation was "Zmija" whom | treated when he injured his arm while “working at the plant."
DAYS OF SADNESS In the middle of June, 1943 Princess Ann Lubomirska became ill. In the middle of the night dressed in peasant clothes she had been transporting provisions
medicines to an underground
unit in the forest.
encountered severe thunderstorms, was soaked through and through and became
The flu turned
we could not save her life. The Prince was shattered. He asked Mr. Wozniak to make all the funeral arrangements and to take care of the guests. Wozniak asked Fuldner for additional food rations for the guests. The conversation took place in front of Fuldner's
viciously denied the request.
Later Fuldner so as
not to lose face agreed to some compensation. It was not much but Wozniak managed. The funeral, considering the War, was spectacular. In the funeral procession, besides family and friends, walked all the monks from the Capuchin monastery. Among the many guests | recognized quite a number of underground army members.
ZBYDNIOW One day through of the city hall. It was
vegetables to market.
our window we saw a horse-drawn cart stop in front a flat bed, the kind used for transporting fruits and
Now instead of crates the cart was carrying some
very elegant ladies sitting on benches.
to the beauty shop to
have their hair fixed for the wedding of Horodynski's friend's daughter who
was getting married the next day in their manor. The day after the wedding Fuldner called Wozniak and ordered him to report immediately to the Zbydniéw estate where "Polish criminals" were to be punished
him that the estate
his bicycle and
was to be incorporated
He was to oversee the changeover.
later related to me
Wozniak went on
When Wozniak came to the estate he was met by Fuldner and a SS officer. Fuldner had his hand in his pocket and the SS officer's gun was visible in his holster. Wozniak was ordered to the manor. In front of the house
pile of rags.
The door was
holes in the walls and blood on the stairs. Inside he found the books on the floor, pieces of broken furniture, china, glass and broken wine bottles scattered across the floor which were red from wine and blood. He was ordered upstairs and was followed by both Germans with guns in their hands. There were bullet holes everywhere. The huge bed in the master bedroom was broken and signs of fighting were visible. In other bedrooms the guests were shot in their beds. Trails of blood lead from the beds and across the floor to the door where the bodies had been dragged. This all happened during the time that Wozniak was hosting an officer of the AK, Michal Wozniak (no relation but posing as a cousin) whose job it was to
observe the activities of an SS unit which had been rotated from the Russian front for rest. This unit was housed in the villages of Zbydniéw and Zaleszany
and they had committed
at the estate.
Three days after the massacre | was called to see a sick child in Zbydnidw. Murka insisted on going with me. We bicycled over. There were no Germans around. After seeing the patient we decided to see the manor.
child's father went
less swept and washed.
There was nothing left of the priceless collection of
broken and scattered. In front of the manor was the remains of burned things. We left and walked toward the mass grave. Our companion warned us that the grave could be mined. On the way we passed the wagon which had
brought the ladies to the beauty shop.
the bodies. It had not been cleaned and the combination of blood, flies and wasps was sickening. Kazimierz Oleksowicz, a resident of Zbydnidéw, related the events to me. The wedding had taken place on the 24th of June in the estate's chap-
el. After the ceremony there was a grand reception. Later the young couple was escorted to the train station and had left for their honeymoon. All the
guests had returned to the manor and went to sleep. Around midnight the manor was surrounded by an SS unit. They lit the area and machine gunned the building. After a while they entered the manor. From inside the manor more shots were heard. The Germans murdered the squire, Zbigniew Horodynski, his wife Zofia, her sister, Horodynhski's fourteen year old daughter Ann and her governess. They also killed Krystyna Giecewicz and their son Lolek,
of the bride and
Aleksandra. They murdered wedding guests and servants alike: 21 men, women and children. The bodies were dragged by their heels or hair, stripped of their clothing and buried in the corner of the park near the fence.
The instigator of the massacre was Fuldner. As "Oberleiter" he ran the entire estate of Lubomirski (Charzewice) and also Baranéw, Jéseféw, Dzierdzid6wka and Zaleszany. In the center of that large territory was Zbydnidéw.
had taken over all the Polish owned estates under the rule of
Liegenschaft under the pretext that they had not met their assigned production quotas. Mr. Zbigniew Horodynski was an excellent administrator and he had delivered more than the required quota; as a result, his estate could not be taken over. Fuldner, however, was determined to take control of Zbydnidw. One of the chambermaids and nanny to Fuldner's son was a Polish woman transported from Poznan. The fact that she visited Wozniak did not make Fuldner suspicious because he considered WoZniak a loyal director
of "his" gardens in Charzewice. He was also convinced that the girl did not speak or understand German, when in fact she was quite fluent in German which
she kept a secret.
reported to Wozniak
repeated to the AK by Wozniak. As the story goes, Fuldner had invited the officers of the SS unit, Cpt. Bartel and another officer for dinner.
guests had eaten and drunk freely. about
able to appropriate
During the dinner Fuldner had told them
"Don't worry Martin, it can be taken care of." Bartel promised. The day after the massacre an SS officer delivered the following
to the head
of the village and the local priest to be published.
were forced to kill 20 people lives were threatened
his communist contacts."
in order to save
because of Mr. Horodynski and
(In his book entitled "Rzeszéw Territory during Hilter Occupation," Warsaw, 1975, Stanislaw Zabierowski relates that the commander of that SS unit was Hauptfuhre Ehlers who had personally taken part in the massacre. | suppose Bartel was his subordinate.) The massacre was reported only to the Polish social agency, R.G.O., that was permitted to exist in GG. The organization sent the report to the GG government and it was signed by its director Count Adam Ronikier. It is rumored that the GG government debated the incident but ultimately the participants went unpunished. It was logical consequence since the SS had acted according to Hitler's guidelines: "The Destruction of Poland is in the forefront of our plans...
Pity is to be erased from the heart.
had equipped my units of human skulls (SS) with orders to kill without pity and excuse
inaccurate. to Dominik
His older son, Dominik was in Warsaw at the time and according Horodyhski their other two sons Andrzej & Zbigniew (Inio) also
In the report to R.G.O. the number of Horodynski's sons killed was
escaped death. During the slaughter their mother, Zofia, managed to hide the boys in an emergency hiding place in the attic. She had just managed to cover the hiding place with boards and loose onions when the Germans burst into the attic. They killed the mother and sprayed bullets at random in case someone was hiding there. The boys were slightly wounded. Bloody and
hungry they remained hidden for three days. They finally emerged when the Germans were gone. They were taken into hiding by Mr, Oleksowicz who
took them to his house. Later they hid in the forest ranger's house. them eventually made it to Warsaw and joined the AK.
SENTENCE The massacre at Zbydni6w shook everybody.
- a Gestapo
| still carried my cyanide pill.
and his family moved
| was again tormented
a piece of metal
decided to continue the immunological war, on my own. We were encouraged by the news from the outside world. The Americans were bombarding Germany and had entered Italy. There were rumors that Mussolini had been captured. One could sense the nervousness of Germans. Their situation was getting worse, on all fronts. Acts of sabotage continued. In the Stalowa Wola Steel works the Polish underground continued to be quite active. That resulted in the transfer of a Gestapo officer Rudolph Zimmermann situation.
Mielec to Stalowa
Wola to deal with the
a Volksdeutshe, was raised in Poland.
From the moment
Germany occupied Poland he had become a Gestapo informant. He reported all of his friends who were involved in the early days of the resistance. All of them were executed and rumor had it that many were executed by his
By his actions he earned the Germans trust and was enrolled into the ranks.
of his excellent
knowledge of Polish language and customs. Immediately after his arrival to Stalowa Wola he reported to Fuldner. Fuldner told him who among the local Poles could be trusted. Fuldner recommended Wozniak of whom he had a good opinion. Zimmermann began to visit Wozniak. Wozniak immediately informed his AK superiors who advised him to gain Zimmermann's
and report everything.
On the 13th of October, 1943, Mrs. Fuldner went shopping. The Fuldners were entertaining her husband's boss, Herr Weber, an elderly man of the old school, who had come from Krakéw. In the next room his son Horst was playing, supervised by his nanny. Around 3 pm a carriage
stopped at the front door and two German officers disembarked. entered the living room and came upon Horst who was attracted
They by the
uniforms; the nanny followed. "Hande hoch!" ordered one of them waving nis gun. Mr. Weber thought it was a joke and the officers were Fuldner's riends.
"Lie down!" ordered They obeyed. “We are not here to Polish Underground Court entire family of the estate among
the officer. kill Germans. We are here at the orders of the of Justice. On the 23rd of June in Zbydniéw the owner, his guests and employees were murdered,
children and the elderly.
Our court has ruled that the
crime was committed by the here present will be a witness to the execution."
The sentence was read in Polish and German. Fuldner, his wife Marta and their son Horst had been sentenced to death. After the reading of the verdict, Fuldner and his son were shot. Mrs. Fuldner was out shopping. Mr. Weber, as a witness, had to sign the document stating that the sentence was carried out. Both he and the nanny were instructed not to leave the room and not to contact anyone for an hour. After that time Weber was to
inform the Gestapo. The officers then left. They were soldiers of AK, one of them was Inio (Zbyszek Horodynski), alias "Fredro." Before the "officers" had arrived all telephone lines had been cut. The front gate was guarded by AK soldiers. Whoever entered or tried to leave the estate was stopped and locked in the garage. Mrs. Fuldner's carriage came back. She was stopped and ordered to wait for the "German officers.” They came, read her the sentence and executed her. She was shot against the wall of the former
The nanny reported the events to Wozniak without skipping a detail.
She said that when the hour was up she informed Mr. Weber. He looked at his watch. "You are wrong. We have six more minutes to wait," he said. During one of his conversations with Zimmermann, Zimmermann told
him that Fuldner's death was so well planned that it could only be the work of British intelligence. Zbyszek Horodyhski (Inio) and his brother Andrzej lost their lives during
the action at Warsaw
in the Summer
We all feared the retaliation for Fuldner’s death.
RETALIATION On the Charzewice estate, behind WoZzniak's house there was a meadow and from Wozniak's attic window one had a pretty good view of it. One day when Wozniak was entertaining Brother Kosma, a convoy of German trucks entered the meadow and stopped. Wozniak and his guest ran up to the attic to watch.
hear the shouts
lead a group of people.
that (from the canvas
They lined them up and shot them.
as the people fell.
for their souls. . So died the hostages from Tarnobrzeg in a retaliation for Fuldner's eath.
Wozniak marked the place with a stone and planted two oak trees. In Zabierowski's
there are photos
following caption "Citizens of Poland....on the Saturday, 20th of October 1947 there will be an official exhumation of the bodies of 22 men and 3 women shot by Hitler's thugs on October 20, 1943 in Charzewice." (| want to point out that the expression "Hitler's Thugs" was used in Communist Poland because of the ideological friendship of Poland and Communist
not referred to as
They were referred to as "Nazi," "Hitlerites" or "fascist crimes."
Unfortunately these expressions are used to this day by most of the world. They are forget he truth. | feel sorry that my great children will learn that in 1939 it was not a German Army that invaded Poland but the armies of some
Nazi nation that came to Europe from some other planet.) In retaliation for the actions of partisans in Wawrze, where police sentries were executed along with their Commander, the Germans shot 65 hostages. What
in the future?
In fear for their lives no one slept in
their own homes. Our shelter was in Stalowa Wola where we sent Olenka to be taken care of by her aunt and Helenka. Murka's Mother's house was always hospitable. After Murka's father's death his friends were always visiting the widow. They were good Polish patriots. Bridge was their favorite pastime.
all trusted each other,
but our conversation
the discussion of world politics and Bridge.
CATS During those dangerous times after seeing to my patients and feeding our menagerie, Murka and | often went to Murka's mother's house in Stalowa Wola. There we were greeted by cats, Jasia - the elegant cat lady, and
Kuba - the typical male troublemaker and Casanova. Kuba was in the habit of disappearing for several days. He would come back filthy, tired, full of battle wounds and happy. Jasia as did many wives in such situations, patiently waited for her husband. She would not use the proverbial rolling
pin but her claws.
When Kuba finally showed up he was met with a series
of deadly assaults from his wife that would be the envy of the best boxers. Kuba would quickly run to his favorite sleeping place and fall asleep. Jasia would eventually follow and with patience and tenderness lick him clean and
finally curl up next to him and go to sleep. Murka recounted to me an adventure of Kuba's and Jasia's that she had witnessed. Murka's father hunted a lot. In the Winter the hares were hung
on the porch to age.
one of his girlfriends over.
His girlfriend was nibbling on a hare while Kuba admired her. All was well until Jasia came. She threw herself on the "slut," Kuba then threw himself on Jasia to defend his friend. In the midst of a dust storm they fought. The
girlfriend escaped and Kuba and Jasia continued on until they noticed that there were only two of them. Both cats froze in place and after a few
moments they started to apologize and lick each other's wounds.
НММЕЕАЗТАОТ In the Zamos¢ area the Germans expelled over 100,000 people from 300 villages in order to build a modern city called Himmlerstadt. Most of the men and women were deported to the Reich for labor. The stubborn ones were
sent to Auschwitz or Majdanek. The elderly were shot on the spot. The children had it the worst. Isolated from their parents thousands died of
hunger and exhaustion.
The Germans did not forget about racial purity.
From the ranks of the "lowest of the Slav race" they picked the most Aryan looking children and sent them to Germany to raise them in "pure race" insti-
tutions for breeding. The news of a train full of children standing on a siding at the Gdansk Station in Warsaw spread rapidly. A spontaneous raid on the train resulted. The cars were forcefully opened new homes in Polish families.
| was scared for our child. The awful thought that Olenka could be kidnapped or lost tormented me. | decided that, just in case, | whould mark her in such a way that we would be able to identify her after the War, but how? All ways seemed very barbaric but one. | vaccinated her for small
pox not on her arm,
but on her left ankle.
SUMMONS One day a nondescript looking young man came piece of paper sealed with the White Eagle of Poland.
by and handed me It was a summons
"Father Jan's" AK camp. "You have to go," said Murka, "Do not worry about me and the child." | did not know how long | would be gone. It was
| could still ride my
| left to see a
"patient" Mr. Chmura in the village of Jeziorka on the other side of the San. There "Marta" was waiting for me with a horse-drawn wagon. "Climb on, lets go," she said. She was young, energetic and drove well. The trip was rather long. We passed several villages and young forests. Finally we reached some deep woods where we were stopped by two young armed men. They exchanged code words with "Marta" and let us proceed.
reached the camp.
officially but warmly.
by one more
| was led to the commander. He was
a slightly built man,
"Father Jan" welcomed few years older than
He was wearing.a Polish uniform with the rank of Lieutenant. In his tent | met Kazimierz Mirecki (alias "Tadeusz") who was an energetic organizer of N.O.W. in the surrounding counties. "Father Jan" thanked me for supplying the medicines and dressings. He explained that | was summoned in order to take care of the sick and wounded and to teach the soldiers basic hygiene. "Father Jan's" partisan unit had been involved in several skirmishes with the Germans. | was surprised to find that there were very few lightly wounded. | was told that the seriously wounded were scattered among the villages under the care of local doctors. | was sure that some of them were under my care. Only one of the soldiers in the camp was seriously ill. He
was Cadet "Jagoda," Wozniak's brother-in-law.
| recommended that he be
transferred to his family in Charzewice and put under my care. The camp was in deep woods, well hidden from German
two tents among the trees, one for the Commander and the other probably for his officers. The soldiers slept in lean-tos and sheds, several of them
slept was made slept
outdoors oh brushwood bedding around the campfire. The campfire made with tree logs arranged in radial positions. The ends of the trees up the center of the circle. They glowed for a long time. The soldiers with their feet toward the fire. When the flame went out, instead of
to push the logs toward
out to sleep with the others next to the campfire. stars, but there were none. Jan"
| wanted to look at the
All the furnishings of the camp were temporary and primitive. "Father often changed campsites to try to deceive the Germans. He stayed
away from the villages in order to protect the villagers from German retaliation.
Despite the primitive conditions the camp was well run and the soldiers were well disciplined. The soldiers were young volunteers from the
Among them there were conspirators from the Stalowa Wola Steel
of local underground,
from the prisons and Jews
that had managed to escape the massacres. There were even Russian soldiers that had escaped from German prisons. | saw among the Polish officers two Russians. camp.
The unit was made up of platoons. Each platoon had its own subThe entire camp was surrounded by a line of outposts. The intel-
ligence from nearby villages informed the camp about German movements. After a short conference with the orderlies | began my lectures to the platoons. First | talked about the organization of the network that took care
of the wounded away from the camp. | told them that the wounded were placed in safe houses under the care of doctors and nurses from the under-
the patient. own
| even told them about the surgeries performed in hiding by
after hiding the identity of
| lectured about first aid in case of injury (everyone had their
first aid kit).
| told them
about the prevention
and care of frostbite,
how to avoid contagious diseases, and how to treat drinking water in order to avoid diarrhea. | warned them about the danger of lice and their role in carrying typhus and taught them how to avoid or get rid of them. them,
Among the partisans | felt like | was in the pre-War Army. Many of especially the officers, wore Polish uniforms and if not complete they
wore some parts of the Russian or German uniforms. They were armed with various weapons. Some carried Polish arms that had come from hiding in various villages. Some had German arms and ammunition either captured or bought from German soldiers. They had rifles, pistols and machine guns. They even fabricated their own from stolen parts from the Stalowa Wola mutitions factory.
During the meals | had a chance to meet many officers, NCOs and soldiers. | sensed their tremendous respect for the commanding officers and in general The
it was a very friendly atmosphere. camp was well supplied with food.
the first time in my
that | sliced the meat of a roasted pig hung from a tree branch. been
one of the Liegenschaft.
The pig had
of the food
“requisitioned” from the farmer's co-op run by the Germans or from cattle on
route to Germans.
In general, though, the food was bought from local
from the Germans
and shoes. Often "requisitioned" wheat was traded for flour and groats. Very dear were razors, pocket knives, tools and parts of farm machinery illegally produced in Stalowa Wola. ones.
lean and some
to hit the fat
The main object of the unit was, of course, to fight Germans. Different platoons developed their own specialties. One destroyed roads and
railroads in order to stop the German troop movements. Another "requisitioned" supplies and destroyed German arms storage places. Occasionally
the platoon would get involved in an actual battle with German troops. The local people trusted "Father Jan." They would come to him for advice or to tell him about collaborators, informers and young ladies who got too friendly with the Germans. ished by whipping, major ones
Minor offenses by collaborators were punby death. The ladies were punished by
shaving their heads and occasional lashes. involved in the elimination of bandits and, moonshine. Finally | completed my assignment.
The partisan units were also
in the villages, they destroyed | reported to the commander.
had a long talk with "Father Jan" on the subject of further cooperation in organizing medical care for the wounded and sick. We said our goodbyes and he promised to arrange for transportation to my bicycle.
THE RETURN On the way back | thought about how "Father Jan's" soldiers were well armed and kving in the safe environment of the forest while | am returning to life among the Germans. What was | going to face if one of the 200 soldiers in the woods was a German spy? | was riding on a path along the highway. Around the Electric Works in Ozet | saw a German convoy of tarp covered trucks escorted by fully armed Military Police vehicles coming from
the direction of Stalowa Wola. Soon after the mobile military unit went by, | rode on unnoticed when suddenly the vehicles stopped and soldiers began
disembarking. No one paid any attention to me and | arrived at Rozwadéw without any trouble. The next day | found out what the convoy that | passed was doing. In 1941 the Germans began to deport the villages South of Stalowa Wola. In the village of Stany stood an old church. The local Poles wanted to save the church by transporting it to the Stalowa Wola and to everyone's amazement Mr. Sholze, then director of Stalowa Wola Steel Works, agreed. | am sure it was not with any sympathy for Poles in mind but as an antidote to communism. The local Poles provided volunteers and funds and Mr.Scholze donated the trucks for transporting the dismantled church parts. Emotionally the Poles waited for the opening of the church on the 12 of December, 1943. The Germans used the occasion for propaganda purposes. Several dignitaries and a film crew arrived. The Germans also used
the occasion to spread terror.
At the same
hour that the church
cated and the first mass was performed, the Germans shot 10 hostages in Ozet. It was a convoy of death that | had passed on my way back. Among the hostages was a friend of Murka's sister, Wiesio Zagozdzinski. A few days before his arrest we met him at my mother-in-law's house. He gave Murka a recipe for chocolate cake. The last words on the recipe were "bake it and invite Wiesio."
TO THE POINT After a few days of recuperating at Wozniak's, "Jagoda" found out about the German pacification of the forests across the river (Dec.17). He
wanted to join his comrades. | convinced him that he was still too ill and that it was impossible. After Christmas | would examine him and we could decide then whether he should go back. We celebrated Christmas Eve and Olenka’s first birthday in Murka's mother's house among our friends. Olenka could not take her eyes off of the tree decorations. She was so enchanted that she took of her shoe and threw it in a tureen filled with borscht. After the holidays | examined "Jagoda”" and still would not let him return to his unit.
still too weak.
He should stay and
rest at least
through New Year's. | sent a message recommending extended leave to his commander through "Pliszka." "Jagoda" did not listen to me. He rejoined his unit and was killed together with 10 other soldiers in the battle of Graba on the 27th of December, 1944. Later | found out that the wounded from
that battle were treated
by Dr. Hernich
in a carefully concealed
| took over most of Stasiek's patients from the Zbydniéw area.
but not once
did | forgot about our commitment
It had been easier to manage when there were two of us.
that winter was
here | had to procure
to the typhus
cases than in the previous
ter. | worked very hard and the cases of positive Weil-Felix reactions increased. Every time | received a telegram informing me of a positive reaction | informed Dr. Herbold and the Oberleiter of the Liegenschaft in Charzewice. Because of the danger of epidemic Dr. Herbold appealed to the Drs in Stalowa Wola to be on the lookout for typhus. More and more telegrams came and the Germans became more and more nervous. Wozniak warned me that Zimmerman was inquiring about me. We
measures against the disease. | could not tell her that the epidemic was not as bad as it looked.
CONFRONTATION The benefits of the "epidemic" for the local population were enormous,
especially the delivery of the required food quotas. The profits of the Volksdeutsche who had profited from delivering food to Germans decreased
suspicious to them
and they informed
the Germans, who formed a commission to investigate. Dr. Rzucidlo, the county doctor, heard about the report. He felt that something was not right and he decided to warn me. He could not do it over the phone. He came to me in person and gave me a warning. | thanked him and managed not to show the fear that overwhelmed me. "Very well," | told him. "Let them come." It was
easy to Say it and
hide the fear.
would take Murka and Olenka but where ? To the forests?
Run away? |
| reflected further: The Germans did not arrest me immediately after receiving the report, so they were not sure whether | was the one responsible. The process of sending the blood samples to the lab, the sending of the
telegrams to me and the Board of Health with the results would not show any wrong doing. They could only suspect that | took samples of the infected blood and distributed it into several test tubes and marked them with different names before sending them on for analysis in order to increase the number of cases. In any case, the goal of the investigation would be to check on the
patients, taking blood samples and analyzing them in their own proven laboratories. What would happen if the specialists in those laboratories would
find something specific in the serum of these patients? 1! decided to face the commission with a cyanide capsule in my pocket. We would see. | received summons to report to the commission in the village of Turbia. | immediately contacted "Kruk." | did not tell him about my work but only that the commission might find something and that | didn't feel safe. A
contact teacher time to for the
from "Kruk" came over. If | remember correctly he was Mr. Batko, a from Pilchéw near Turbia. Before | had to report there was plenty of get ready. | visited all my patients in Turbia who had tested positive Weil-Felix test. | checked all my charts. | planned the order in which
| was going to present the patients to the commission.
the oldest, sickest and skinniest.
| would start with
one patient with a blotch on his
forehead from a "Cupping glass" which was used by peasants to relieve headaches. | made sure that other patients would show blotches. Mr. Batko and | came up with a plan of action. In order to impress the Germans,
the village elder would
welcoming party with plenty of food and drink. When the Germans arrived he would then ask them to the feast. | would urge the Germans to visit the
if | were
arrested they would
rescue me. The Commission's visit took place during the first week of February. The day was very windy and cold. | arrived at the village elder's house way
ahead of schedule. The house was warm and more importantly the tables were laden with food and drinks. | saw that my contact was there and | felt
The German's came in the officer's car along with the truck full of
did not expect the army.
village elder enticed them into the house and | dutifully said how delighted | was to get help in fighting the epidemic and encouraged them to see the
there were three doctors
captains), one infantry officer and two NCOs.
The colonel made a decision.
The two younger doctors, one NCO and three soldiers would with me and the rest would partake of the feast.
| warned the Germans about the danger of getting infected with lice by
with the patients.
Our first stop was
an old man
In addition to the regular treatment he had been injected
with the laboratory suspension
had received with the positive reaction.
| warned the Germans again about
the danger of lice. The warning worked, without examining the patient they took only a blood sample. This procedure was repeated in a couple of other houses, and because of the bitter cold we returned to the party. The house
and everyone had a jolly time.
on their way.
We ate and drank.
My private immunological war was wonl!
THE FRONT me.
On the day of the commission's arrival Murka was very worried about She would have worried much more if she had only known the entire
My reaction to that emotional day was a deep sleep. The "Epidemic" could not suddenly end with the exit of the commission. In Spring | had to gradually decrease it and | was not sure what | would do in the Summer. The eastern front was getting closer. With the decrease of their mili-
terrorist tactics increased.
were more and more common. Soviet Army units appeared in the forest which had been the domain of the partisans. The relationship between the two groups had to be established. Both the Partisans’ and the Soviets’ goals were to defeat the Germans. But there were also known cases of the Soviet's betraying our partisans. The AK was put in a very fragile situation. The unit of the Soviet Army in the forest was of Division strength. “Father Jan"
with the commander
of that division.
established a working relationship. Together they decided the role that "Father Jan"and his soldiers were to have in the Stalowa Wola action, the destruction of the Electric Works in Ozet. Not much damage occurred to the Electric Works at Ozet; however, fear was increased among the Germans, especially the civilians. They were convinced that the Russians would attack Stalowa Wola. It did not happen; the division retreated into the forests. The Germans were less sure of themselves on the western shore of the San. "Father Jan's” unit, besides their normal activities, launched several attacks on local Police stations and jails to free the arrested. In March (1944) one of the AK cells in Stalowa Wola fell to the Germans and that resulted in several arrests. From our side of the San we could see the concentration of the German Army. We were sure that there would be a battle.
During this same period we decided that Warsaw would be the safest place for our belongings during the last stages of the War. We took advan-
tage of our friend Tadzio Wegrzecki's
truck and sent everything that
we felt was valuable to Warsaw including 6 paintings by Taranczewski and my stamp collection. Everything arrived at my parent's house safely and burned during the Warsaw uprising.
ZIMMERMANN | had met Gestapo agent Zimmermann at Wozniak's. Zimmermann had praised me for my devotion in fighting the typhus epidemic. In the eyes of Father Potaczala that praise meant that | was safe from the Germans because
He decided to include me
in his plan to free his
brother, an underground activist, who had been arrested at the train station in Rozwadé6w. The Priest's plan was rather simple. Zimmermann liked the local restaurant in Rozwadéw. The next time he went | would be alerted and as if by chance, | would go in. Father Potaczala was sure that Zimmermann would notice me and ask me to join him. If he bought me a drink, | would buy him the next, etc. After a few drinks | would complain to him that he
arresting innocent people and ask him to release the man in question. | wasn't thrilled with the plan. After my last visit to that restaurant | had sworn to stay away from it. This is why: | had been called to attend the
restaurant owner who was sick. To get to the owner's apartment | had to walk past the bar where two young man were drinking. When they saw me they stood at attention and saluted. They had recognized me from "Father Jan's" camp. | got very angry. "For God's sakes!" | hissed through my teeth adding several unmentionable expletives. What if there had been a German around and he noticed the exchange? Anyway, | could not say no to Father Potaczala. It happened just as
the priest had
in civilian clothes
sitting at a
table and asked me to join him. He bought some vodka and started to converse with me in Polish. He was interested in the typhus epidemic. asked me whether | was vaccinated. "No, vaccihations are only for Germans," | answered. (| hoped he offer me the vaccination, but no luck). He ordered another round and | ordered the next with some food (to slow down the alcohol's affect). | lot and tried to drink slowly. | noticed though that he was making sure
he did not "Heil Hitler."
After a few drinks | was still pretty sober, and slurred my words. He seemed pretty "Why don't you like Germans?" He "People complain that the German's mured.
He would |
though | pretended to be drunk drunk. asked. are persecuting them," | mur-
"Only the guilty ones," he said and leaned closer on the table. thought he had dozed off. "You are arresting innocent ones," | said. He lifted his head. "Never!" | heard.
our saintly priest's brother at
the train station." "What am | to do?" he asked after a while. "Let him go," | said using my drunkest voice. He gave me a sharp look and said. "All the documents of your saintly priest's brother are fake...... They say that in fear a man's skin gets numb. It's true, | felt it. Zimmermann reached to his pocket (gun? manacles?) and took out a piece of paper, wrote something on it and handed it to me. It was a release for the priest's brother. "Good-bye Doctor." He bowed and left the restaurant completely sober.
Many years later, in 1979, Wozniak visited us in Chicago. It was an emotional meeting. We spent hours reminiscing. | taped a lot of our conversations. | knew, for example, that Wozniak was a member of the same
underground Liegenschaft were Michal Sroczynski), members
unit that | was, but | had no idea that his house in the center of was a meeting place for the underground. His regular visitors Wozniak ("Boruta"), "Kruk" (Kusinski) and "DAB" (Eward one of "Father Jan's" officers. Several other high ranking
of the underground
also frequent visitors.
trials, took place in the house. As a director of the Liegenschaft gardens Wozniak had an office on the first floor of his house. There were always people there so the place seemed safe. Often Zimmermann would come and order flowers for his girlfriends.
"One of his girlfriends," related Wozniak, "was a beautiful young woman. | often saw them together and he occasionally brought her with him to my gardens. One day | was returning on my Wola. On the way | stopped at a small tavern.
Zimmermann and his girl were there too. He noticed me and asked me to join them. They were both in an excellent mood. After one drink | had to go. Zimmermann walked me to the door and said, "| am going to buy her a couple
| will take her for a walk in the woods,
order her to
dig a grave and shoot her." 1! took off in a hurry. Zimmermann did exactly what he said he would do. Wozniak had no idea who the woman was or why she had been killed.
out about the incident in a book
by Dionizy Garbacz
"Occupation and Underground in Stalowa Wola 1939-1944" (pages 86-87). In this reference the woman was named Helena Bizon and her role was not clear. She worked in the Siedlungsverwaltung, the management of the settlement, where she made the acquaintance of Gestapo officers in Stalowa
Wola. That close contact enabled her to obtain important information which she passed along to the AK and NOW. It was probably because of her that
many conspirators avoided mass arrest in May of 1944. She was asked to inform about the next wave of arrests in April. She passed on that
information and pointed out that this would mark the end of her activities. The Gestapo executed her in the forest behind the tavern not too far from the railroad tracks.
Zimmermann's crimes kept on multiplying. Enough evidence had been gathered for the Polish Court of Justice to sentence him to death. Wozniak
related the charges
and the plan for carrying
"Kret" was in charge.
out of that sentence.
The executor's headquarters was in a closed up
movie theater in Rozwadoéw. A first attempt to poison Zimmermann had failed. The second attempt a trap was set on the road between Rozwad6éw
and Stalowa Wola. Zimmermann changed his plans at the last minute. The third attempt was planned to take place in the forest between Turbia and Zbydni6dw. Zimmermann was to travel that way by car to Sandomierz. This
time they planned very carefully and were sure they could not fail. The executors took their position, but again Zimmermann never showed up.
before Turbia, Zimmermann's car broke down right about the time the train
to Sandomierz was due. Zimmermann left the car, walked to the train station, and boarded the train. They never killed Zimmermann.
GUESTS couple code.
Father Potaczala informed me that | was to have overnight guests, a of young
were to identify themselves
with a prearranged
They came separately. Our house was cramped but we found a place for them to sleep. They were hungry. Murka soon had supper ready and even a bottle of alcohol appeared. They were intelligent and had good sense
of humor. We ate, drank and talked late into the night. It had been a long time since Murka and | had such a good time. Suddenly there was a sharp knock on the door. Our guest jumped up from the table and positioned
themselves in strategic corners. They were armed. | opened the door and was rudely pushed aside by three armed German soldiers wearing helmets.
"Напае hochl" - | was sure that my guests would shoot them down any second. Instead of shots | heard Murka's loud laugh. She walked straight into the nearest Germans gun. "Gieben Sie"- give it to me!" She said. The Germans were dumbfounded. Murka took the gun away from him and put it in the corner. She came back and took the other soldier's helmet from his head and saying, "Geben Sie dieser Nachttop," and put the helmet оп a chair. The Germans burst out laughing. We did too. | asked them to join us,
telling them that it was Murka's birthday. They put their rifles against the wall and sat down. We ate some more and drunk to Murka's health. Even-
tay they left. table.
Murka ordered us to go to sleep and began to clean the
18 there was
a shoot out at the old Rozwadéw
Germans had discovered the headquarters of the regional AK. There were 9 men inside. Two of them were killed, seven managed to escape. One of the killed was "Kret.”
From some railroad workers, who had witnessed his death | learned that he had been running through the railroad yard hiding between the cars and shooting back at Germans. He failed to notice a Ukrainian guard, who shot him in the back while "Kret" was pulling out the pin from a grenade.
He died with the grenade in his hand. The second men died from his wounds in Dr. Krason's office where he was brought by the Germans not because they were humane but because they wanted No one heard any last words from the dying man.
It was a very serious loss to the underground because the Germans a stash of arms
and secret papers
in the cinema.
go into hiding or run to the forests in order to avoid arrest. The typhus epidemic was in full swing and the German anti-epidemic
orders were in effect. As the natural course of epidemics dictates the epidemic should die out in the Spring. It was all in my hands. In the beginning of June we were awaken by an explosion. The partisans had destroyed the switch station and the water tower. Soon
the railroad tracks between Rozwad6w and Stalowa Wola were damaged. Toward the end of the month the Germans staged a roundup. We saw them arresting several
they took them
to the prison in Stalowa
We heard from radio broadcasts that the allies had entered Rome and
importantly, they had
Eastern front was getting closer and closer.
that the War would
be over soon
There was great joy in knowing
and that Germany
On the other
hand there was a great fear that in retreat, the Germans would plunder and kill. We did not know what to expect from the Soviets. There were conflicting rumors. In Stalowa Wola there were new arrests. Among the arrested was the hospital's surgeon Dr. Trojanowski. We
tried to lead a normal
| also worked
extinguishing the epidemic which would soon disappear.
| spent my time
seeing patients and vaccinating the monks in the monastery against typhoid and cholera. There were no orders coming from the AK. More and more
often Murka and | talked about going back to Warsaw.
JULY-1944 The house of the Kajzers was in mourning.
On the 8th of July their discovered
place. He was hit as he was jumping a fence. Both Kajzer brothers Jan("Wierza") and Zygmund("Maly") were brave soldiers of the AK. Zygmund was in charge of the deployment of the Perimeter Command of the AK. He excelled in risky actions making him one of the bravest soldiers
The traffic on the highway between Stalowa Wola and Nisko increased dramatically. Cars were loaded with bundles and people were heading West.
The German civilians and Volksdeutche and even the police were on the move. Among them were wagons full of people from central Asia. They were escaping the communist paradise. The men rode little horses alongside wide wagons carrying women and children. They looked very exotic in their fur-side-out sheep skin coats. Proud herds of camels went through Rozwadéw's square. Soon after, the Kozaks rode into town. They were a tall slim
people wearing capes with wide shoulder pads and gray caracul with red brimmed
out in Rozwad6éw
The train station was mobbed. Train after train loaded with Germans and Russians and trains with the defeated German Army were all heading West.
Everywhere they were retreating. Return to Warsaw was impossible
Everywhere there was panic. now. With pleasure we watched
Germans at the train station shoving and pushing each other to get West. |
had tons of patients all over. | treated cuts, fevers, boils. | examined many people in their wagons. | tried to help everyone. | even delivered a Russian
baby on the filthy floor of a freight car.
train left. A few days later the highway We could hear the sound of Russian The German artillery was stationed drove by through the town square. of my office. A German in fatigues patient-gendarme, the Jew killer.
As soon as the baby was born the
was full of regular German Army units. artillery from the other side of the river. on our side of the San. Officer's cars A military motorcycle stopped in front ran into my office. | recognized the
“Doctor, run, you are on the Gestapo hit list. inate you." "Why?"
They are going to elim-
loyally as a Doctor."
“Zimmermann knows..." and he mentioned my helping wounded tisans. "Do what you want," he said and took off.
Why had he warned me? It turned out that during the retreat many Germans wanted to help Poles in order to save their own skins. Murka
caught on right away. She grabbed our child and headed for the hole in the fence. | followed as soon as | opened the rabbit cage and took Brysia off her chain. She followed me. | ordered her to stay. She looked at me through
the hole in the fence and this is how
up with Murka.
| never saw
division facing the San. We made it to Stalowa Wola and in Murka's mother's house, we felt safe. Through the window we could see a mob raiding German warehouses. The wind scattered rolls of toilet paper on the trees and roofs. The people were not afraid of the Germans any more, and the Germans were afraid to shoot at the mob.
FIRST DAYS and
Murka suddenly became very weak.
felt hard to the touch,
and rapid breathing. had to be operated
had a high fever
It was a severe inflammation of the peritoneum.
People were running back and forth.
She had a severe stomach ache,
like a rock.
Near by we
hear the artillery.
The only surgeon in Stalowa Wola, Dr.
partment in the hospital was closed.
We had to take her to the hospital in
Nisko, 8 kilometers away. But how? The artillery fire was getting closer and there was no transportation available anywhere. Murka's Mother recruited friend of Basia to help us and he came back with a wheel chair. Another friend of Basia's came over and we actually wheeled Murka all 8 kilometers to Nisko. We were accompanied by artillery fire as the Russians
and Germans shot at each other across the river. The missiles flew over our heads. Dr. Malek, an experienced surgeon and the head of the surgery department agreed with my diagnosis. He did not want to operate while the
hospital was in the line of fire. We had to wait. Murka was assigned a nice room on the second floor of the hospital. Her bed was by the corner window. The artillery fire became too dangerous and all the patients were
moved to the basement.
Murka refused to leave her comfortable bed.
experiences in Warsaw had taught her that she would rather die quickly from a bullet than slowly in the ruins of a building. We were alone on our floor. If not for the noise it was a very pleasant room. There were flowers on the
window sill and we could see trees and blue sky. The explosions of missiles and grenades came closer and closer. | heard Murka's calm voice -"Take me out of here" | picked her up and carried
her to the basement.
| had just put her down
on a cot when
shook the building. The ceiling crumbled and the lights went out. This was the last missile of the battle. It hit the corner of the building in which Murka's bed had been placed, the wall and the bed were gone. | went outside. There were Russian soldiers running along the walls. After the battle there were many dead and many more wounded. | went to the field with a group of nurses as a P.C.K. patrol. We wore red cross arm bands.
We begun to take care of the wounded
both Russian and German.
looking cars arrived at the battle field. (It was the first time | saw an American Jeep.) We were hoping they brought Russian doctors to help. The stopped by us and asked.
“Who are you?" "Гат а doctor working for the Red Cross. “What are you doing?" “Dressing wounds." “Germans too?"
“Of course." "German, NOI"
They got out of their cars with their guns. They spread out into the field and shot every wounded German in the head. When they were done they boarded their cars and left.
THE CONCLUSION Murka got better. She did not have to have surgery. We returned to Stalowa Wola. Kuba, the Siamese cat which had bravely hissed at German airplanes, was dead. He had been sitting in the warm sun in front of the house when a Russian officer went by. "What a monster!" he shouted, pulled out a gun and shot him. We
heard that the Soviet Army
Soviet Army reached the Vistula the Warsaw Uprising started. The AK command did not realize that it would stop the Soviet offensive and give the Germans a free hand to ruin the Polish Capitol together with thousands of hated
In Stalowa Wola, Polish flags flew over the city courtesy of the Soviet
Communists. It*was a tragic symbol of false independence. however, and threw my cyanide capsule into the stove. The
| felt safe, partisans came
out of the forests. | was not too careful and asked one of them about "Father Jan." "That fascist bandit who has been working for the Germans is still hiding but we will get him," he said with a strange look. Tarnobrzeg
Prince Jerzy Lubomirski was arrested and probably murdered in prison. Jézef Wozniak was also arrested. Many of our friends
and acquaintances from the underground went into hiding. disappear. We did not have to fear arrest by Germans Polish communists.
| decided to
- but by
THE LAST ASSIGNMENT Dr. Hernich's small provisional hospital in Rudnik became our temporary shelter. This is where | was informed by the AK that an officer of the Polish Army in the West who had parachuted down, was wounded and had ended up in the Soviet Military Hospital in Jaroslaw. He was obviously one of the special elite officers selected from the Polish and British Army for training by the Special Operation Center (SOP) in England. They were trained
in guerrilla warfare tactics.
played a very important role in special units of Polish underground as instructors and leaders. They were important to us and were very dangerous to the Germans. The
especially the N.K.V.D. were to be discovered tortured and eventually were to rescue him. It swiftly.
by the Soviets
(equivalent to the German Gestapo). If his identity in the hospital, he would be arrested, questioned, killed. He was in danger and my orders from the AK was a very dangerous mission and had to be done
| was told who my contact was in Jaroslaw's underground but there was no mention of how seriously the parachutist was injured. | would have
to find that out on my own. It was obvious that | had to get the patient to the hospital in Rudnik and put him in the care of Dr. Hernich. | trusted him.
We had worked together during the German occupation as doctors in AK. knew
a brave and good
in secret locations and under
primitive conditions operated on the wounded. He assured me that if | brought the patient to Rudnik he would treat him. | also talked the situation over with Murka. We discussed how to proceed and decided to go together to Jaroslaw. My Red Cross documents were were
still valid, so we donned our Red Cross arm bands. We hoped beyond suspicion. | would, as a civilian doctor talk to Soviet
authorities and suggest that since their patient was a civilian | would take responsibility for the him and thus they would
have an extra bed for one
more Red Army soldier. Murka was to play a part, depending on circumstances, either as my nurse or as a relative of the patient who would insist that | should take care of him. On the same
day that | received the orders,
Stalowa Wola to Murka's to Jaroslaw. Once there exchange of pass words and was wearing a heavy
we took our daughter to
mother and boarded a train for the 6O0km journey we had no difficulty finding our contact. After an we were told that the parachutist had a broken hip cast.
The story was that he had been involved in an accident where a Soviet truck had hit his.horse-drawn cart. The Russian soldiers had taken him to
the closest army hospital. He was lucky because Soviet Army drivers often, in order to avoid responsibility, shot the victims of accidents. We also found out what name and other personal data the patient had given to Soviet personnel upon admittance to the hospital. He had not felt hospital so had very cleverly sent word of his identity via a lady to the local AK cell. The same woman described to us his bed was in the ward and what he looked like. She also
safe in the Polish cleaning precisely where placed herself in
the role of a lookout. She was to report immediately when she noticed any changes in the way the patient was treated. We
that on the day we
were to visit the patient she
told us that he had had a long conversation with a strang individual. Finally with that unknown conversation hanging over us we set out for the hospital with Murka playing the part of the patient's cousin. We were directed to the hospital commander's office. He was a gray haired man wearing the rank of colonel and was very polite to Murka. We talked to him through a translator. Murka was giving the Colonel her most charming smile. During our conversation another Russian officer walked into the office and whispered some thing into the Colonel's ear. They both looked at me and | shivered. The officer left. We kept on talking. Finally the Colonel
decided to put the wounded man into our care. He called in one of the sergeants and told him to take care of the appropriate papers and to arrange
for an ambulance to take the patient to the train.
the officer whispered
nothing to do with us. Accompanied
to the Colonel.
by the sergeant,
| was still wondering what
hopefully, that it had
went to the ward.
of devoted cousin threw herself into the patient's arms.
even too well.
in her role
She played her part
with her outburst of love
but the Soviet soldiers in the ward were quite 'moved' by her scene. The orderlies carefully laid our Murka's "Cousin" on the stretcher.
left the ward
via the entrance
main door and put the stretcher into
the awaiting ambulance. The worst was behind us. Our contact walked up to me without attracting any attention and said "Congratulations - you made it! If anything goes wrong we're ready to blast hime and you out of here," and walked away. At the train station we gave the ambulance attendant a bottle of vodka in exchange for the stretcher which we laid on the straw-covered floor of the
During the trip back to Rudnik our patient complained
itching and the tightness of the cast. Our "cousin" was admitted to the hospital in Rudnik under a new
Slonhski, and with a new
set of identification
Dr. Hernich removed the cast we found it was infested with lice.
We burned everything in contact with the lice. Washed, shaven and with a comfortable cast in place, our patient quickly began to feel better. Our life was enriched by his tales of life in the West, about England and the English.
We laughed at his jokes and listened to the stories of our "Western" soldiers. He told us about the Polish Army in West, what uniforms they wore, how
they lived and what songs they sang. We never found out what he had been and where he had landed, what he did there. He had dropped down from the They
He never said anything about himself. doing in the horse-drawn cart, when with is parachute or why he was sky and that was all!
This was Murka's and my last mission. The Soviets now ruled under the disguise of the Polish Government.
made up of Communists. Ujazdowski
Palace survived the Warsaw
later under the orders of top Communist
Party member Kazimierz "Gazrurka,"
as he was
called by the
anti-Communists, means in Polish 'gas pipe.’ Before his career in the Communist Party, he was a repairman and had at his disposal gas pipes. He acquired the nickname "Gazrurka" because he often threatened to use that ‘instrument’ to ‘brain’ all intellectuals. He was reminescent of Josef Goebels who, it is said, declared that every time he heard the word ‘culture’ he would reach for his pistol.
FATE OF GRADUATES
With Dr. Roman Jakubowski's help, the secretary and chronicler of "SPS Club" in London, | managed to put together the following statistics of what happened to many graduates of SPS during WWII. During the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, 459 graduates and 295 cadets on SPS campus were ready to service in the Military Health
of the Polish Army.
- 16 died during the September
- 25 died in AK actions (including the Warsaw and service in the Polish Army
- 14 were
tortured to death
of the Gestapo
- 78 were murdered by NKWD; their bodies were found mass graves at Katyn and Charkéw.
at the hands
- 2 perished in Soviet Gulags -68 to this day (1991) are unaccounted for. The loss of 27%!... This data encompasses friends, who at the end of the War, like for
example, my friend Wacek Swiatkiewicz (in absentia my daughter's Godfather) returned after the War to Poland from German prisons, labor camps or “unhuman soils" in the East and soon after died of their wounds, diseases or exhaustion.
As soldiers, the graduates of SPS fulfilled their duty to their Country: 34 were awarded the Cross of the Order of Virtuti Militari, the highest Polish Military distinction. From the 295 cadets whose studies were interrupted by the War, during and after the War, 168 finished their medical studies. Fifty-five in post War civilian life became tenured assistant professors
at universities in and out of Poland.
| am not sure whether | belong to this group because | taught at these universities in the United States or because | earned the degree of "Docent" (European post Ph.D. degree equivalent to tenured associate professor in the USA) in Communist Poland. The title of Docent was awarded to me by the Scientific Board of the Institute of Mother and Child in Warsaw. The title was approved by the Certification Board of the Ministry of Health, and was
signed by the Health Minister Dr. Jerzy Sztachelski. Because of "ideological" differences, the Communist Party did not approve of the title. | became very proud
of the situation when
out that the Party did not approve
title of Docent from Lublin's University to Karol Wojtyla (the future Pope John
POSTSCRIPT - AMERICA We lived in Communist Poland for 14 years.
| did not know
We left Poland in 1958.
Eventually, | found out that he was a professor of Radiology at Kinshasa sversity in Zaire. We exchanged correspondence and caught up with each other. 135
In 1975 | described our "private war" in London's "Orzel Bialy" (Nr. 135-1282) titled "Diversion of Doctors i.e. "Immunological Action." No one paid any attention to the article. In 1977 Stasiek and | published an article in English in "The American Society for Microbiological News" titled, "Serendipitous Discovery of Artifi-
cial Positive Weil-Felix Reaction
A positive review of the article was published in "The British
Medical Journal" (September 17, 1977). The Reuter Agency picked it up and sent it via teletype to newspapers around the world. The humanitarian
aspect of this discovery in "Private War" was noticed. Many articles dealing with the subject showed up in the American "Parade," a Sunday insert in 131
with a circulation of 22 million), the Polish-
American, Polish and German press. The real tribute to me were the letters | received from the public praising my work. ! was very touched. Chicago, July, 1992. wo
Index PREFACE AUTHOR'S
OGG ANM > > ->о
POLISH ARMY MEDICAL CADET SCHOOL SPORTS CADETS CLUB FIRST EXAMS SUMMER CAMP GOOD TIMES MOURNING HALF OF A DIPLOMA THIRD YEAR RELAXATION THE COLOR GUARD FRIEND CZARNOHORA | MEDIC'S CLUB PREVENTION IGLOO FOURTH YEAR PARADES COMPETITION CZARNOHORA Il SECOND MEETING INCIDENTS AT THE UNIVERSITY ITALY AUGUSTOWSKIE LAKES SHOCK ZAOLZIE ENGAGEMENT FINAL EXAMINATIONS ON VISTULA INTERNAL MEDICINE AGAIN WAR! MARCHING ORDERS FORTRESS OF BRZESC HOSPITAL TRAIN No.95 BUDSLAW BATTLES SURRENDER TRAP ESCAPE BORDER CHELM
PART | MEDICINE IN UNIFORM
PART Il FIRST YEAR UNDER GERMAN TWO HOURS ECHO OF VENICE PRINCELY CARRIAGE RETURN TO WARSAW NOVEMBER 14, 1939 - WEDNESDAY SUMMER OF 1959/DIGRESSION ZDZISIEK OCHOTA HONEYMOON THEFT GERMAN RULE WINTER 1939/40 FINALLY CAN'T WAIT UNTIL SPRING RAKOWIECKA JAIL SUMMER (1940)
OCCUPATION 47 48 48 49 51 53 53 54 55 55 56 57 58 59 60 62
PART III ROZWADOW ROZWADOW CLINIC ALLIANCE CHANGES NEW FRIENDS RADIO AND PRESS SOMETHING IS HAPPENING THE HOLE IN THE FENCE NEW ACQUAINTANCES AND FRIENDS LIVE INVENTORY BRYSIA BRIEFING PATIENTS EPIDEMIC TYPHUS ACTION EQUALS REACTION STASIEK MATULEWICZ'S LABORATORY FIRST "TYPHUS" CASE SERUM LIFE GOES ON PAINTINGS HORST COUNTY DOCTOR HEDGEHOG THEY ARE AFRAID! TWO BULLETS THE PLANS RABBITS WINTER OF 1941/42 SPRING OF 1942 REQUISITION Index (continued)
65 66 69 70 71 73 74 75 76 78 78 79 80 82 84 85 87 87 88 89 89 90 91 91 93 94 94 95 96 96
= = 2d 3
MILITARY POLICEMAN TRIP AT MY PARENTS AK GOOD NEWS THE CAPSULE? EINE GRUNDLEGENDE LOSUNG/ THE FINAL SOLUTION KRAKOW OTHER NEWS SIGNET RIVER BANK THE HUNT JOY COMPLICATIONS GOOD FRIENDS ACHTUNG,FLECKSFIEBER! CHRISTENING REVOLVERS APRIL OF 1943 MY PHARMACEUTICAL CABINET 16-17% DAYS OF SADNESS ZBYDNIOW SENTENCE RETALIATION CATS HIMMLERSTADT SUMMONS THE RETURN TO THE POINT CONFRONTATION THE FRONT IS CLOSER ZIMMERMANN GUESTS SPRING-1944 JUNE-1944 JULY-1944 FIRST DAYS OF AUGUST - 1944 THE CONCLUSION THE LAST ASSIGNMENT FATE OF GRADUATES AND CADETS POSTSCRIPT - AMERICA