A Polish Deportee Recalls Her Ordeal
Expulsion of Poles from their village in territory annexed by Germany.
Account by a Mrs. J. K. of her expulsion to the General Government from the port city of Gdynia, part of the Polish lands annexed directly to Germany in 1939. This deposition appeared in the Black of Poland, a publication that chronicled Polish suffering under German occupation.
On 17 October 1939, at 8 A.M. I heard someone knocking at the door of my flat. As my maid was afraid to open it, I went to the door myself. I found there two German gendarmes, who roughly told me that in a few hours I had to be ready to travel with my children and everybody in the house. When I said that I had small children, that my husband was a prisoner of war, and that I could not get ready to travel in so short a time, the gendarmes answered that not only must I be ready, but that the flat must be swept, the plates and dishes washed and the keys left in the cupboards, so that the Germans who were to live in my house should have no trouble. In so many words, they further declared that I was entitled to take with me only one suitcase of not more than fifty kilograms in weight and a small handbag with food for a few days.
At 12 noon they came again and ordered us to go out in front of the house. Similar groups of people were standing in front of all the houses. After some hours’ waiting, military lorries drove up and they packed us in one after the other, shouting at us rudely and also striking us. Then they took us to the railway station, but only in the evening did they pack us into filthy goods trucks, the doors of which were then bolted and sealed. In these trucks, most of which were packed with forty people, we spent three days, without any possibility of getting out. I hereby affirm that in my truck there were six children of under ten years of age and two old men, and that we were not given any straw, or any drinking utensils, that we had to satisfy our natural needs in the tightly packed truck, and that if there were no deaths in our transport it was only because it was still comparatively warm and we spent only three days on the journey. We were unloaded, half dead at Czestochowa, where the local population gave us immediate help, but the German soldiers who opened the truck exclaimed “What! Are these Polish swine still alive?’
From Polish Ministry of Information, The Black Book of Poland (New York,1942), p.184.
Main Commission for the Investigation Of Nazi War Crimes Warsaw Poland