– a petite blonde, always smiling, and Zenon – tall, lean, dark-haired with
sad and tired eyes. Exactly two days before the Uprising, on a Sunday, 60
years ago, they saw each other for the last time. They met half a year earlier.
First, she heard him. He was singing so beautifully, that she just could
not fail to notice him. Later she did not even remember what he was singing
at the time. She was just mesmerized and kept looking at him. He was standing
by the piano and was looking deep into her sparkling eyes. Afterwards he
walked her home. He wasn't saying much. Three months later he invited her
to a small café at Woolskin Street and proposed. Outside a German patrol
was marching away and they declared to be faithful to each other. She did
not get a ring. They loved each other – a promise was enough. He was 17 years
old and she was one year younger.
They talked a lot, but never about conspiracy. Lucyna had been participating
in clandestine classes since 1941. The famous Maria Stypulkowska-Chojecka,
pseudonym ‘Kama’, who was working out Kutschera's* case, introduced her to
them. "I was observing those girls. First at occasional meetings. Sort of
parties. I was checking whether they could be trusted," recalls ‘Kama’. "I
was in the seventh grade and they in the fifth. Gradually the parties changed
into resistance work. Lucyna adopted the pseudonym ‘Anna’. She was carrying
resistance bulletins and was training to become a paramedic." The paths of
‘Kama’ and ‘Anna’ parted. ‘Kama’ never met Zenon. "Even if we would continue
meeting each other, she still probably wouldn't have introduced him to me.
At that time people seldom spoke of their feelings even to loved ones, and
moreover to a stranger," recalls ‘Kama’.
They holding hands during walks demonstrated that they were in love. "He
never kissed me. He was too embarrassed, just like me," recalls Lucyna Maciejewska.
They were doing everything to meet as often as possible. Maybe that's why
he wasn't writing any letters to her, or maybe he was embarrassed of them
just as of the kisses.
Even when he
left to join the Uprising he did not tell her where he would fight. He just
asked her to wait for him. He promised to find her. She went to the Uprising
in a dress and sandals. Only the shoulder bag filled with dressings could
reveal that she was someone more than just a petite sixteen-year old. Young
boys were dying in her arms and she prayed that her sweetheart would not
be one of them. She was afraid that she would recognize him among one of
these children's faces. In mid-August one of the girls brought her a letter
from Zenon. "Actually it was a small piece of paper with a few lines scribbled
on it. It was difficult to decipher. The words were forming a unreadable
line," says ‘Anna’. He wrote that he is wounded and in a bad condition, that
he has to hurry and that would like them so much to be together. He wrote
the letter in his own blood. "I was told that he was hit in the left arm.
He was bleeding heavily. He only managed to writ e a few words," says
It is not known when and where
he died. The girl, who brought the letter, said that he was fighting in the
ghetto. But died at the end of the fighting in the Wola district. In the
database of the Historical Museum of Warsaw there is just a brief mention
about him: "Taken into captivity on August 5." The same day executed at Gibalskiego
Street. Fighting in ‘Waligora’ squad. It is not known who provided this information.
The ones who survived from the squad do not remember Zenon. However, they
do not believe much in the execution at Gibalskiego Street. "I was there
on that day. They did not execute anyone because our soldiers were still
there," says Jan Kieszkowski ‘Blyskawica’. And the boys from ‘Waligora’ squad
are not surprised that he is not mentioned in the Warsaw Uprising Encyclopedia.
"Mainly boys from workers' families were fighting in the Wola district. They
were first to shoot, but they weren't apt at writin g. There was no
one to write down our names, and now the memory is gone," says 82-year old
Zdzislaw Wladynski, pseudonym ‘Pius’, and resigned inhales a cigarette.
Lucyna does not remember exactly how she survived the Uprising. However,
she remembers well the moment she left Warsaw. "The commanders were asking
us whether we were carrying any items that could give us away as having anything
in common with the Uprising. I had this letter from Zenon. When they learnt
about it they would not leave me alone. They were telling me all the time
to destroy it because we all would get killed. I could not stand it anymore
and tore it to pieces," says ‘Anna’, but she hasn't forgotten her sweetheart.
She never got married because she promised to be faithful to him. She just
missed having children. However, she overcame this problem as well. She started
to work in a kindergarten. She resides in
a two square meter room in one of the Warsaw Social Assistance Homes at 6
Elekcyjna Street. A cheerful young woman is looking from a photo on the wall
and a sad face of the Virgin Mary from the desk. "I am very happy because
what happened was the God's doing," says the old lady in a beautiful red
necklace as we bid her goodbye.
General Franz Kutschera, a chief of police and SS in Warsaw, assassinated
by members of the Polish Home Army on February 1, 1944. [ed.]
Photo: Albert Zawada / AG