Class IV

My memories of German crimes

On 12 and 13 July 1943, a whole column of German soldiers descended on the village of Michniów. They took people to various houses and barns, which they then set alight. The barns and houses burned, and the people burned alive in the flames. They wailed in pain, while the children cried. Those who could tore out planks from the barn walls and fled. But the Germans caught the people who were trying to escape and killed them. Others tore out planks from the roofs of barns and jumped to the ground. Some died jumping from the roof, while those who survived ran to the forest. Those who were bruised crawled into the potatoes, where they waited for nightfall. The next day the Germans left. People from other neighboring villages gathered up the bones of the dead and put them in coffins, which they then buried with great solemnity at the site of the slaughter.

My mother’s family was murdered in this very way. The Germans came to their house and took five people and the children. People were rounded up in barns together with the residents of other villages. Later they led them all from the barns into the field and shot them dead. They buried little children alive in the ground. These children would dig up the soil and call for their mothers – who lay dead. People from other villages asked if the corpses could be buried in the cemetery. The Germans replied that they could bury them wherever they wanted. People gathered up the body parts, placed them in coffins and took them to the church. The priest blessed them, and they were buried in the cemetery.