EVENTS OF SEPTEMBER 3 AND 4

KNB4 GB

WŁODZIMIERZ KAŁDOWSKI

e-mail < w.kaldowski@yahoo.pl >

(fragment from the memories entitled ”Save from sinking into oblivion”)

EVENTS OF SEPTEMBER 3 AND 4

We lived in the Szwederowo District in 26 Stroma Street, between Orla and Kossaka Streets, near Kozi Market Square. A wave of fugitives from the borderland rolled by the city. They were convincing people to escape.

On Saturday, September 2, the city became deserted. Offices were evacuated. Along Stroma Street, from Poznański Square. We were packed and ready to escape. However, at the last moment mother decided that we would stay and thank God we did it. Nobody knows what would have happened to us. Many fugitives were killed near Kutno, mowed down by Nazi airplanes, but also many of them saved their lives because they escaped.

On Sunday 3, around 10 o’clock a.m., a gunfight started. At the first moment we could not realise what was going on. The Nazis covertly were firing at the retreating armed forces and civilians. They were firing from gardens, roofs, and the Protestant church located between Leszczyńskiego and Ks. Skorupki Streets. I went down the tree and ran into the street. I was so surprised to see soldiers escorting three individuals wearing Polish uniforms of the Red Cross from the garden. ”But they are Poles!” – I shouted. They did not pay any attention to me. They took these men in the direction of Piękna Street, and there, at a dump behind a pond, put before the firing squad. The first one wept and asked in Polish not to kill him, and said that he was a Pole; the second one was killed with his head lowered, and the third one – straight and arrogant cried out with his hand raised ”Heil Hitler!”. And this convinced me. For the first time I was a witness to such a scene. When I got home shocked and trembling, for a long moment I was not able to climb the tree – my vantage point.

On Monday, September 4, volunteers wearing white Home Guard armbands appeared in the streets. Because one could not count on any help from the authorities, which had left their stations a long time ago – the civilians decided to take matters into their own hands and not allow shooting them like ducks.

From my vantage point I noticed that they were firing again from the church tower. An all-terrain vehicle with four soldiers stopped. I heard gunshots again. They went into the church again, but without result. ”What can we do? They must have some secret passages.” – ”We set the church on fire” – the soldiers decided. ”Everybody into the church! We pile up the pews!” Somebody from the vehicle brought petrol. The entire church quickly caught fire. It was on fire until Tuesday, September 5, in the morning. I was there at 10 o’clock, and I saw women from the adjoining rectory carrying out heaps of white plates and bed linen.