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Zygmunt Klukowski

In the interwar Poland, Klukowski was editor-in-chief of two magazines, “Teka Zamojska “and “Kwartalnik Regionalny “in Zamość.

Zygmunt Klukowski

In the interwar Poland, Klukowski was editor-in-chief of two magazines, “Teka Zamojska “and “Kwartalnik Regionalny “in Zamość.

We are deeply saddened by the news about mass executions in Warsaw, Lublin, and other cities. I am particularly affected by the death of people who I used to know personally from my scientific work or social events.

The entire day Soviet soldiers have been passing through the city in the direction of Frampol. The soldiers look quite unpresentable, they are poorly dressed and look poorly fed. The Jews from Szczebrzyshiny greet them enthusiastically, they stand in the street and shout "Long live the Red Army!". They give the soldiers apples, tell their children to welcome the Bolsheviks with open arms. I notice that the soldiers are indifferent to the greetings and joy of the Jews.

Yesterday the road to Zwierzyniec was full of military vehicles until 11 p.m., and in the direction of Błonie, near the hospital, there were cavalry units. Then suddenly it all got quiet.

Before noon, the road to Zwierzyniec was crowded with soldiers. In the afternoon, it got empty once again - apart from a few cars and motorcycles. At 9 p.m. Germans have finally left Szczebrzeszyn. They are still saying that the Bolsheviks are coming. I still can't believe it.

On Wednesday/Thursday night, at one o'clock Dr. Krysiak receives an alarming phone call from the city commander: "The hospital remains an international institution, do not move the sick, individual and free evacuation." The steward claims that immediately afterward he was ordered by the commandant to evacuate the hospital.

In the afternoon Szczebrzeszyn was heavily shelled. In the evening the Germans arrived.

On Wednesday, everyone truly panicked. The governance of the city has already been completely taken over by the military authorities. Some lieutenant became the commander of the city and by giving conflicting decrees, he contributed to increasing the commotion. For example, he said that "no one was allowed to move" and at the same time sent carts to evacuate patients and personnel. Civilian patients were discharged from the hospital.

In the morning, I drove to Lublin. I came back around 7 pm, exhausted as I had been on my feet all day and I hadn't even had dinner. Today, Lublin looks downright bleak. All streets, especially the main ones, are crowded with cars of every brand and type. Suitcases and bundles are piled on the hoods, bumpers, wings… Petrol stations are under siege, not many people will manage to get any fuel. Military depots dispense petrol, but only to those who have the right paperwork. I saw huge lines of cars near such stores, inching their way from both sides. Often they formed such a bottleneck that none of the cars or carts could move. I also saw several cars pulled by horses.

The news is ghastly – Cracow, Zakopane, Czestochowa, Lodz, Bydgoszcz, and Grudziadz are taken. German troops are relentlessly pushing on Warsaw. Some goods are harder and harder to find, such as tools and travel equipment. Restaurants and coffee places are packed but once you push through, you can get something to eat.

I left at 7 am yesterday. The entire hospital saw me off and they gave me flowers. I'm going to Lublin by car with my wife and my little son. There's heavy traffic on the roads - even though it's Sunday. The closer we get to Lublin, the more peasant wagons we see going in the opposite direction. There are also a lot of buses coming from Lublin, overcrowded with people, piles of suitcases and bundles.

10:00

The third day of mobilisation, the second day of war. Terrifying announcements: “Hello, hello, attention, attention, danger is over...”, or “...danger approaching...”. The radio announces: “100 German tanks and 37 German aircrafts destroyed”, and then later: “12 Polish shot down...”. Air-raids of German bombers are coming closer – on Lublin, on Lviv. It is said that the German aircraft had even already been over Zamość. Because all of this, people are preparing even more actively against air raids. The staff and are digging trenches in the hospital garden . Things are heating up.

12:30

At noon I went to Zamość, for a uniform. Everyone there is only talking about the war, but in a good mood, without doubts, everyone believes in our final victory. The gossip about the occupation of Gdansk by Polish troops is uncertain - unproven – but already people are joyful and it helps to lift spirits. 

In the afternoon I went to Zwierzyniec. Here the mood is the same. Everywhere I go in the hospital as well, they are making preparations for the defense of gas and air, obscuring and sealing the windows etc. Despite the calls, nobody did it at first, everyone ignored them, as if not believing in the possibility of a rapid outbreak of war. Now everyone has gone to the shops for black paper, but you cannot get it anywhere. In Zamość some items are already scarce - kerosene, salt, matches, candles.

Everybody expects something important. It is said that general mobilisation would be announced tonight.

Around 3 p.m. I was informed by phone that mobilisation posters were being put up in the city. I ran out to the street. Unusual rush. Groups of people everywhere. Some women in tears but there is no panic. See more

We are living in exceptional excitement and nervous tension. I am waiting to be called up for service any minute. I am afraid to be left in Szczebrzeszyn. All around and all the time people are talking about being called up for service. Even doctors older than me are called up.

Everything suggests that war hangs by a hair.

The start of the school year has been postponed for an indefinite period. However, it is officially said that only for a few days. All civil servants and local government officials were recalled from holidays. We excitedly listen to all radio announcements. Yesterday in Zamość around 200 reservists were called up. It is said that today a part of the 9th infantry regiment left Zamość. Where did they go to? Nobody knows.

At night in Szczebrzeszyn more than 40 reservists were called up for service, including doctor Jóźwiakowski and judge Sokołowski. Excitement is great. We accompanied leaving reservists to the station. Those called up were in a perfect mood. I am completely thrown off balance. It is difficult for me to do ordinary everyday work. I am getting carried away.

This August we have no doubts that war with Germany is inevitable. Nervous tension increases every day. Today the 9th Legions infantry regiment stationed near Szczebrzeszyn and Klemensów was unexpectedly called back from manoeuvres.

In the afternoon I was in Zamość. I was given an order to cancel leave of all hospital employees, by the district head.