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A Messenger Boy in Warsaw, Part II

George Turlo, Holocaust Survivor

During the uprising in Warsaw, I was messenger boy, and I was heavily wounded and I was in hospital. On October 2 [1944] insurgents gave up the fight and surrendered to General [Erich von den] Bach with condition that we not [be] supervise by any nationality, not German, like Ukrainian, or Russian. There was a Russian division of people who came on the side; they were criminals, mostly, and they massacre Polish people during the uprising. They—I don’t want to even say what the horrors were there.

Anyway, the Germans found in my pockets several ammunition pieces for German part of this pistol, and I was declared a combatant and I was taken unconscious from hospital to the train and, after, to some German hospital. I never know where the German hospital was. I was mostly unconscious because I was several infection, ready to die, and the German doctors trying to save me. So they gave me an injection after one operation and removing another fragments of bullets. So, I was very, long time in German hospital. After, I beg the doctor to let me go because I am underage, and so he let me go. This was somewhere in December, or whatever, I don’t remember. I have a very bad memory from this time because I was malnutrition, also, at the time.

And I found my mother in February 1945 in Łódź with my sister. We were starving, but I remember I was going through all garbage places where the people dump their garbage, looking for potato peels where it be not rotten. And we are hunting for rats. I was dissecting the rats, and my mother, from the legs of the rats, can—she have a little handful of flour. She make so-called żurek—soup, Polish soup. This was our mainstay in the food. We finally cry for help to my grandmother in Białystok. She came, she got some bread from Russian soldiers—this was a big feast—and after, she got the permit to occupy some Baptist church in Aleksandrów and the position of the teacher in Aleksandrów.