Class V
Sławatycze, 17.06.1946

My experiences from the War

I remember one of my wartime experiences very well. Late in the War, the lands which the Germans had occupied were being taken by Soviet armies. One day I and three friends were walking along the road. We stopped at an enormous oak, with branches that reached the ground. There was a house nearby, and next to it grew a swath of rye. We sat down under the tree, listening intently. Soon, we heard rifle fire, and we immediately assumed that the Soviets had started fording the River Bug.

The shooting had been going on for half an hour or so when all of a sudden there was a terrific boom right behind us. I looked in the direction of the noise – there was no-one there, but further away some Soviets, uniformed and armed with rifles, were emerging from the bushes. All four of us lay down. The firing intensified, and the bullets flew by closer and closer. The Germans were shooting ferociously at the Polish and Soviet soldiers. While I was lying there, hugging the ground, all I saw were clods of black earth flying through the air and leaves falling from the oak.

All at once, I felt an immense pain in my leg. Slowly, I crawled back towards the rye. Next to me I saw one of friends lying prone on the ground. Hearing my voice, he lifted himself up with difficulty; he was covered in blood, and there was blood streaming along his cheeks and chest. In the distance I heard the voice of another of our friends.

The house was close by, and we made an effort to drag ourselves to the entrance door – the door was open, and so we entered the building, although we were very afraid. I looked at my friend; he was reeling, and there was a pool of blood right next to him. We needed to find him some help. After some time we heard a groan, and I saw a father carrying his son – one of our friends: the boy was missing an arm and his chest was crushed. I looked at the friend next to me; he was pale, and his eyes were closed.

At that moment, I ran back to my home. There was no one there, everyone had run for shelter to the hideout concealed in the swath of rye. I left my home with difficulty: there was no-one in sight, and all I could hear was the whine of bullets zipping past. I had to go to the hideout and find my parents, for by then my leg was hurting terribly. Getting there was a challenge, but when I stumbled in and saw my whole family sitting by the wall, I felt a measure of relief. An hour later, some Soviet soldiers appeared and told us that the Germans had been forced back. I and two of my friends were then sent to the doctor; the fourth boy from our group had been killed by the Germans.

This memory and the scars that I carry on my body will remain with me forever.