Alina Bytow
Class 7
Sławatycze, 13 June 1946

My wartime experiences

A few years ago our Homeland was attacked by cruel and bloodthirsty Germans. Poland was under their rule for six years. They exacted revenge upon the Polish nation in a terrible manner – they built ovens where they burned people or kept [people] behind the wires where they suffered from cold and hunger. It was a tough time, and they wanted to destroy us completely. But the Polish people defended themselves as much as they could. The Germans caught young Poles at night and took them to Germany.

The worst among them were the SS – they were the ones who walked with whips and beat up innocent people. As the front line was approaching, five SS [officers] came to us and took our horse and wagon. It was a sad day for us, because they had already taken two horses and carts. My neighbor’s house was burned down.

The front line passed close to us, we were sitting in trenches all the time. The bullets flew over our heads. Near our house, the Germans set up their cannons in the grain. They defended themselves in vain, as they lost anyway. They wanted to conquer all of Europe, but they failed. Our bloodthirsty enemies thought that they were the strongest in the world, that no one would conquer them – yet they were defeated.