Janina Kalińska
Class 4
Wisznice, Włodawa district, Lublin voivodeship
21 June 1946

My wartime experience

During the German occupation, our school was taken over by military policemen, we had to study in barns and Jewish houses. A lot of innocent people were killed because of these gendarmes.

In 1943, people aged from 18 [to] 60 were ordered to come to our little town. No one knew why, everyone thought they might be shot to death. After a while, one [of the gendarmes] said that 30 [people] would be shot. How difficult was the moment of hearing the shot. We all felt chills down our spines.

On 21 July 1944, the rumble of cannons could be heard from afar and the glows of fires could be seen. The front line was drawing nearer and nearer to us, the army was progressing without stopping. I grazed the cows, and when I came back, I saw the cannons set up around our buildings.

The first shots with incendiary shells were fired from our place, then we saw the neighboring village burning, then we sat in the shelter and prayed for this difficult moment to pass. In the evening the Germans started to prepare to leave, and by the morning everyone had run away.

The next morning we saw a Soviet patrol, and the difficult moment was over. And since then we have been liberated from German oppression.