Filomena Górska
Class 6
Wisznice, Włodawa district, Lublin voivodeship
22 June 1946

Memories of the German occupation

1939 was a very sad year for me, because on 23 March 1939, my dad got his draft papers and went to fight on the border. We stayed home with mum, and every day we expected to hear that dad had died. I was very sad, although there was no war yet, so I only prayed fervently to God, so that He would let dad come home. Dad came home after four and a half months, but in the last days of August there was a draft again, and dad went to see the draft committee in Biała again, but it was scarier this time, because they were already bombing and destroying this town. However, they let dad go this time, and on that year on 1 September the war broke out and the uncertain days started anew.

On 12 December the Germans ordered us to leave our house. When mum and dad went there, the Germans saw that there was somebody home and would come and yell – it seemed that there was nothing we could do. But we had to manage somehow.

And not only did they force everybody to leave, they also burned down houses. One night, when we saw that a house was on fire [and] we wanted to put [the fire] out, the Germans laughed at our attempts. But fortunately, the Germans did not spend too much time in our homes, because we were able to return in May 1940.

In 1941, when the war between Russia and Germany was about to break out, cars and tanks passed along the road, and on the next morning planes started to fly and bomb Biała and Brześć. At 11 a.m. before noon they started to fight in the air and flew over Wisznice, and we could see planes flying in flames. One crashed nearby and the house where the pilot crashed caught on fire.

Apart from the destruction caused by the war, the Germans organized various “shows”. In the spring of 1944, they ordered people from several municipalities to the market square and brought 30 men in a car. First a German delivered a speech, saying that [those men] were bandits and would be shot. I didn’t see it, because I didn’t go, but mum told me and I felt anger towards the Germans.

The Germans also drove around the villages and murdered people for any reason – for [undelivered] contributions, for taxes and so on. In some cases, when the wagon did not arrive on time, they killed somebody for it. And in 1944, when they had to flee, they burned entire villages – and I know it well, because even my mother’s family village was burned.

Suddenly, on 23 July, we were free, as the allies from the east – the Soviets – came to our aid. On that day, churches across Poland, including our small church, sang the thanksgiving song Boże, coś Polskę [God Thou Hast Poland].