Tadeusz Kościuszko public primary school no. 1
The most memorable moment from the years of the occupation
It was 29 June 1940. The weather was warm and pleasant. There was indescribable activity in the streets of our town. German cars were driving ceaselessly this way and that way. The Poles did not dare to go out into the streets because they knew what would happen to them. The criminal Germans had spent the previous few weeks going from house to house with a list, dragging young Poles outside and sending them off for torture and suffering. Crying and mourning could be heard everywhere. Afternoon came. Our school was filled with people who had been arrested. It was there that our fathers, brothers and other relatives were tortured. I remember the moment a truck pulled up outside the school, picked up the prisoners and took them away. As I was walking past [the school], I noticed the car. People were trying to hide behind the bushes, waiting for the end, terrified and with hearts hammering. They were waiting, looking for someone dear to them. I remember it was a horrible moment when I saw a mother running behind the truck shouting “my son!”. Nobody answered her. At the same moment, a second truck pulled up to the school building. My heart was hammering with fright. I hid amongst the bushes in the garden and cried. Mom told me to be quiet and to stay calm. I heard my heart beating; I looked constantly to see if anyone had seen us. I saw young people in handcuffs being led to the truck by German gendarmes. One of them was a scout of [around] 14 years of age. He was pale, thin, and his hands were bound. I asked my mom: “what is that boy being arrested for?”. I was young, I had no idea why they would want to torment the children. The scout went obediently where he was told to go. Truck after truck rolled up until everyone had been removed from the school. They were taken away to be killed. Those moments have been engraved most deeply into my memory. I do not think I will ever forget that deplorable German crime.