My name is Skiba Józef, I
live here in Sieklówka, number 167, I am 80. I would like to tell
you about the deaths, the genocide; my family and neighbours were
shot. Seven people were shot in all, it was the 30th
August in ‘44.
The front got to us on the Assumption of Mary, the 15th
August. It was then that they gave us orders to leave our houses
until the 25th. Then everyone formed groups with who they
could. It so happened, that my sister had just given birth, she had
a baby girl, we managed to baptise her in the church here: she was
born on the 19th August, and on the 22nd we
were getting ready to leave. But my sister had just given birth and
we prepared a cart pulled by a cow for her, we didn’t have a horse.
Anyone who had any form of transport would use it to take some
belongings with them.
We didn’t take much with us, we simply didn’t have room. When we
were on our way we met a German who spoke Polish, he was an honest
man and said: “don’t go too far, when you go down the hill to
Bieździatka, in around 4 kilometres, take a left turn to Gośćce, we
are going to be here for maybe a week and then we will move on,
don’t go far”. And that’s what we did. We got to Bieździatka, and to
the so-called Łazy, Kąciny, we lived there with people that took us
in. But we didn’t take any food with us, there was also extreme
poverty in Kąciny, and my mother said: the field here goes up to the
forest, the wheat has been harvested so we’ll have something to
prepare, some grub. Both of my brothers-in-law went, as well as my
mother and brother, who determinedly said he would go too. He was 12
at the time. I took the cow to graze in the forest. So they went to
collect the wheat and then came back and at Gąsior’s place here by
the forest, next to the house whose owner, she was shot as well with
her five-year-old daughter, they sat down, waited around, rested. It
was there that the police attacked them, they were carrying some
sort of metal sheet, they just dived in. They took them away to this
place here, to this creek, and shot them all.
We returned from that displacement in January, on the 17th
we were liberated. In the spring we went back and looked for them,
because they didn’t come back and we knew that something must have
happened to them. We looked in the fields where there were bunkers.
We dug up various people, from Lubla even, there was another guy
from Warzyce who was also shot here.
On the 10th or 9th June, there were ongoing
religious celebrations, farmer Skórski was going along the road with
his son. They got to this place and turned to go into the forest.
His son got to the place of the murders and said: "Daddy there’s
something here, the ground is soft in this place". They poked the
ground with a stick, and it wouldn’t budge. It was five in the
afternoon, they let me know, we immediately went there and started
to dig up the area, and then after a moment I’m saying: "my
brother-in-law Jasiek’s lying there, I recognise him by his shoes".
We dug out everyone, but it was night, we cut down some small trees
and covered the bodies so the foxes wouldn’t get at them, and we
went to the priest, and then we went to dig a grave at the cemetery
and started to look for wooden boards to make some coffins. Some
local carpenters made them. At five in the morning two carts came
with the coffins, we put them inside, the bodies, and we buried them
at the cemetery. Then we went back home.
The houses were deserted, windows and doors had been pulled out, we
had to move on and find a place to save ourselves. There were two
sisters with small children, I had got there earlier, because we
were in Gamrata, I managed to secure a room for us and then they
arrived. There was poverty from the outset.
Before it was different, the trees were much bigger. Today the whole
forest has changed, the tall trees with large trunks have been cut
down, everything here is just young trees which have grown, it
looked totally different than it does today. It was here that we
found them. She was murdered, my mother Józefa Skiba, my brother Jan
Skiba, he was 12, my brother-in-law Jan Maziarz, 28, my other
brother-in-law Skórski Mieczysław. The boys were in the army, one
was in the cavalry, the other in the Highlander Brigade. My
neighbour Stanisława Maziarz and Gąsior Anna, she was 45, as well as
her daughter, aged 5. They were holding hands, they were all shot by
a machine gun, because when we dug them out my brother-in-law Mietek,
he was tall and was shot in the chest, and by brother Janek and
other brother-in-law Jasiu were shorter and they head wounds on
their heads. And that daughter still had a small basket of flowers
which lay by her feet. That’s what it looked like.
And that’s all I have to say about that.