world war 2: warsaw uprising 1944



Sylwester Braun 'Kris'. Stories Behind the Photographs. In: Reportaże z Powstania

Warszawskiego (Warsaw Uprising Reportages), KAW, Warsaw, 1983.

  pages: [1], [2], [3], [4], [5] [ exit ]

The Capture of an Armored Car

On August 14, on Na Skarpie Boulevard, an armored car was captured from the famous SS 'Viking' division.

The Germans most likely got lost. They were spotted by wounded in the insurgents hospital on Konopczynski Street as well as by people in apartments whose windows overlooked Na Skarpie Boulevard. They sounded the alarm. Whoever could rushed to the windows and started shooting. The falling rounds were mostly from pistols. The Germans, in a panic, rushed to escape, leaving their armored car behind.

During this time, I was at the primary barricade on Kopernik Street. Suddenly, right in front of us, on our side of the line, we saw people running toward Krakowskie Przedmiescie. We were worried: were they our people or Germans? By the time we realized what had happened, the Germans had disappeared around the corner of Kopernik Street. It was the armored car’s crew escaping.

The car was driven in triumph across our position. Within a short time, as the Polish armored unit “Jas,” this car played an active role in action at the [Warsaw] University, led by the commander of the car, the brave resistance fighter 'Szary Wilk' ['Grey Wolf']. From that moment on, the captured armored car bore his name.

Translated by Piotr J. Rytwiński

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On the German Side

The buildings of Haberbusch brewery and those on Krochmalna and Wronia streets were on fire. I came for the food that was usually distributed there. Nobody was fighting the fires. I went through a half-open gate, and suddenly I was near Chlodna Street, where German columns were riding. I quickly turned back and reached a huge barricade on Zelazna Street, with troops from the ‘Sosna’ group. The barricade prevented access to Chlodna Street. I told the boys about my walk and learned from them that I had been on German-occupied territory, occupied by the infamous Dirlewanger’s division composed mainly of criminals. Since Germans could not needle their way through Jerozolimskie Avenue, which was defended fiercely by the Warsaw insurgents, all that remained for them was an artery leading from Wola to Praga through the Kierbedz Bridge. Capturing this artery, which led to the front beyond the Vistula River, was a necessity for the Germans. They achieved this by murdering civilian citizens of Wola.

Translated by Kamila Pajer

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[First two photos are from the German sources]

On August 18, a block of houses on Moniuszki Street, from Marszalkowka to Jasna Streets, was evacuated and surrounded by resistance positions. The reason? A shell from a super-heavy caliber 600mm ‘Thor’ mortar had hit a building housing ‘Adria.’ ‘Adria’ had been an elegant nightclub before the war. During the Uprising, it was transformed into a military shelter. The shell ripped apart the entire building, embedded itself into the dance floor, and failed to go off. I ran inside; water was pouring out of the walls, and metal rods were hanging all around. In the floor I saw an enormous shell; someone was taking it apart using a hammer, with only a flashlight for light. I took a picture – 1 sec, f=3.5. The perturbation was unavoidable; indeed, there was no choice. The person who was taking apart the dud was an expert from the Head Command of the Home Army, specially assigned to this dangerous task.

Translated by Piotr J. Rytwiński

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