Class 7
Zwierzyniec, 18 June 1946

My experiences from the period of German occupation

One day, the sun was rising beautifully and its faint glow flooded the blue sky. The air smelled like flowers and herbs, and the silence embraced the world.

Around noon that day, an odd sound of shots broke the silence. They intensified rapidly. An hour later, a great battle ensued. The western neighbors tried to withdraw but were halted by enemy fire. A great battle broke out.

Upon seeing the raging battle, people went into hiding. With bullets raining down, chaos and commotion ensued in the streets. Everyone was running away blindly. My mom, siblings and I managed to run to the Wieprz River and make a stop there. The evening came slowly. We could see the glow of the fire consuming the whole of Zwierzyniec. Apart from the groans and prayers coming from all around, we could hear the loud and terrifying sound of gunshots. Begging for some kind of a change of fortune, people looked up and felt remorse upon seeing the growing fire and soldiers walking on both sides of the river – tired, hungry, and unable to find any time for rest.

In the morning, rays of sunshine pierced through the clouds and black smoke. The fight quieted down, but the silence was broken from time to time by the popping and banging noises made by the falling rubble surrounding Zwierzyniec.

In the morning, when the sun was shining in full, we could hear people sigh and cry from happiness, because we were finally free – the chains clenched around Poland came down.