Halina Barańska
Class 5a
Elementary School No. 2 in Hrubieszów

My wartime experiences

It was a sad year, 1939. The Germans took Poland captive for a good few years. They tormented the country and did not allow children to be taught in Polish schools. They closed all the colleges and universities, while in the elementary schools they confiscated all the textbooks and forced children to learn from an obligatory journal, the Ster.

At the beginning of the war there were constant air raids, which the people observed with fear and dismay. Then the arrests started. The Germans would take the men, leaving the women and the children alone and helpless. Some time later they started rounding up youths alone for labor in Germany. The younger people had to hide in the forests.

In the second year the Germans evicted Poles from their own farms, where Poles had been living for generations past. They were sent behind the barbed wire and to the camps, where they were murdered and then burned in special furnaces.

The occupier also incited the Ukrainians’ hatred towards Poles. As a result, the Ukrainians engaged in murder and burned down Polish towns and villages. Each night you could see the glow of fires. The residents of small townships and villages lived in constant fear. It all started in Volhynia, and spread from there to this side of the River Bug.

The Germans also took large quantities of wood, entire industrial plants and numerous other things from Poland to their country. This all lasted five years. In 1944, the Uprising broke out in Warsaw. Despite a heroic struggle, Poles did not succeed in liberating their capital from the enemy. A great many Poles died in the Uprising. Poland regained its freedom only thanks to the help of the Russians, and the Germans were defeated.