That morning when I woke up and went into the kitchen I saw on my mothers face that something had happened. It was a day I was going to remember until I died, September 1st 1939. The Germans had invaded Poland my mother told me, but I think not even she could at that time know how big consequences it was going to get for every citizen of Poland. I was young only twelve years, but the invasion was going to affect my life a way I would never had imagined.
Jaric was my best friend, and he had been for my whole life and Jaric and his family were Jews witch I never imagine that would have consequences. My father and I were at Jaric’s house one day to listen to the radio for some news from the war, but yet it was no news today. When we were on our way out we saw German SS troops were walking around the village and everyone with a star on their arm, yes all the Jews were taken away. My father told Jaric’s father to hurry and bring everyone over to their house and that they could hide there. As we ran I was wondering why all the Jews were arrested when they had not done anything, how was this possible.
As we ran towards our house we saw the SS shooting down a mother trying to save her son away from them. It was 1943 and yet after a long tome with war in the country this was the first time it hade came to our village. As a few Germans saw us running away, it looked like everyone was going to make it. But suddenly Jaric’s mother tripped and fell. I saw that Jaric was about to turn and help her but his dad screamed that we had no time to stop. As we ran away we saw that she was taken by German troops.
When we got home dad opened a trapdoor in the floor of our sitting room. Jaric and his family went down there, Jaric’s father was full of grief in his face when he tanked dad for letting us stay here.
Almost as soon as we had closed the trapdoor someone knocked the door, my dad opened the door and SS troops said that they were suspecting us for hiding Jews and that they were going to search the house. Do our great relief they did not manage to find the trapdoor. In the evening I asked dad why the Germans had taken all the Jews, but he just looked away mumbling something I didn’t quite understand about Germans believes about one superior race.
The following day or maybe weeks, I had lost track of time now as I rarely left the house. But my father was gone almost all the time only home during night. He had much news from the polish rebellion. The general Stefan Roweki codenamed Grot had been murdered an had been replaced now with a man called Taduez Komorwoski codenamed Bor. Jaric’s dad thought this was a good thing because Bor would be much more aggressive than Grot had been, he actually knew Bor himself.
The next morning that came home only two hours after he had left, but he had brought a man with him. I found out that it was a man who had escaped from the place they took all the Jews and as he told us how it was there I became more and more shocked. The place was called Auschwitz and was a concentration camp, when they arrived there women and children were sent one way and the men were sent the other way. They were set to work very hard and the guard there said that the only way out of Auschwitz was trough the chimney. Yes many people died there he said, he didn’t knew how they killed them but he said he had heard rumors about them being gassed to death in big chambers.
Everyone sat stunned after hearing what he had said unaware that this was the last night we were all together, because tomorrow all was about to change.
The first thing I heard in the morning was my mother screaming and gunshots. I ran out in the sitting room and saw an SS officer and some other SS there they were threatening to shoot my mom if dad didn’t tell them were we were hiding what they called the “Jew scum”. Suddenly the trapdoor burst pushing the SS’s standing on it to the ground, and Jaric, his brother on six and their father ran out the door. The SS’s officer snapped now he ordered his soldiers to run after them.
Then he turned at dad looking mad at him while speaking German, suddenly that said NO but it was too late I think she had died before she hit the ground. He had shot my mom straight trough the head. In the moment I didn’t feel any pain just extreme anger on the Germans, and as I kicked the German officer his gun slipped, as dad caught the gun he fired at once without hesitation right in the Germans shoulder.
He screamed out in pain as I ran out with my dad following me, but only to see that Jaric’s family had been captured. But there was no time to stop and help them so we ran out in the forest; we didn’t stop until it was completely dark.
As we sat down my father started to tell me about what he had been doing when he had been gone for long time earlier this month. He had joined the Polish Home Front rebellion and was now an officer and had done many important jobs. And now it had gotten mom killed.
I had never seen my dad this sad before and it was a new him. We stayed no place more than one day now; my dad told me that it would not be safe as we were heading towards a rebel base.
The evening we arrived the rebel base but I was so tired that night so I barely remember anything except the bed I was told to sleep in. Next morning I was introduced to Adam S. the leader at the base he was a high man with much beard and scars all over his face his fists were hard as steel when I shock them, and I realized that this was a man of war. We stayed at the base for a long time and we had small opportunities to get any news. But now as the year 1944 was over we had stayed for a year and dad had planned for us to leave soon. As we left Adam told my dad that children not should come in the middle of these conflicts. Dad said that we were going to Krakow and stay there in a safe house until the war was over. It took us two days to get there and as we got there we could see on the German soldiers that they didn’t have much hope left.
My father did not permit me to leave the house unless it was an emergency. But at least he now shared all news he could find with me so I learned that the Soviets were near and that it looked like liberation was to come in not to long. He could not have been more wrong. But two months after the Soviet did come and German was pushed out of Poland. Dad was happy that day; it was the first time I have seen him smile since my mom died.
He said that we were going to Auschwitz to look for someone. I can’t member my journey to Auschwitz but I sure remember coming there. It was horrible and enormous prison it seemed from the outside. When I got in it seemed even worse it was ruins now from blown up buildings. I suddenly noticed that dad was gone, but even before I didn’t even get time to become afraid I saw him running towards me and behind him was Jaric and his little brother. I was so happy I will always remember that moment. We all went back to Krakow.
Jaric’s father had died in the camp so his brother and he were going to live with me and my dad. My dad had seen the Soviets as liberation but that was not for long. As they took control over Poland my father mumbled every day for himself; “They are no better then the Nazi government”.