Chapter III

Table Companions in Lublin

Food, not money, was the basis of life in Poland. Six free dining rooms for upper civil servants were the cornerstones of the state. Similar dining rooms for municipal employees and factory workers ensured that these necessary groups should survive. The wages and salaries paid in paper zlote counted for little. Permits to eat three times a day in some dining room were much more valuable than any amount of printed cash.

The dining room to which I was assigned as guest correspondent was one of the best. Our diet was solidly based on substantial amounts of dark rye bread and potatoes – Poland's two staples – garnished with small amounts of meat, cereals, and root vegetables. For luxury we had sugar in our tea, a limited quantity of butter on our bread and an occasional dessert of cooked apples. A little milk was reserved for those whose health demanded it; the pleasant elderly woman who ran the dining room was so thrilled by the presence of an American that she regularly offered some to me.

As long as these meals sufficed me I had no need for a cent. The first Polish money I spent was for a newspaper in my second Lublin week. But when potatoes and rye bread palled and I sent the housemaid to market for some butter and honey, I found that either of these cost the legal equivalent of some fifteen dollars a pound. I also found that I could sell a new but ordinary pair of silk stockings – prewar $1.25 in America – for eighteen hundred paper zlote, legally one hundred and fifty dollars, equal to ten pounds of butter or honey. I then understood how all persons in Poland with any reserve of clothes or usable commodities had lived for the previous five years.

"We all went in for speculation," said Dr. Waclaw Rabe, a pleasant, portly man, one of my table companions. "We studied the fluctuating value of bread and potatoes in terms of shirts and shoes. Now that these dining rooms are established, we can concentrate on our professional work." He was president of the new State University.

Around the table I became informally acquainted with many Lublin leaders. People came at irregular hours, snatching the day's main meal any time between twelve and four. There were no reserved places; the dining room could not have accommodated half its clients at a single sitting. We ate at two long tables – boards raised on trestles – wherever we chanced to find room. This brought me automatically into contact with a changing succession of people, all of whom met me without formal introduction, talking eagerly about their work. This was the expansive period, typical of any new regime that feels itself revolutionary and wants to explain itself to the world.

One of the older men was Casimir Czechowski, chief of the "justice resort." His appearance, that of a typical, staid, middle-aged government official, gave little hint of his highly revolutionary past. He was one of the founders of the Peasant Party, having organized in 1915 under the German occupation of the first World War a local group in Piotrkow which later merged with others into a nation-wide organization. When the Kaiser's army collapsed the young Casimir helped organize the new Polish state.

"Rogalski and I made that first government in Lublin in 1918," he told me, "the first independent Polish government there had been for a hundred years." That was in the pride of his youth. His memory of it was darkened by regret. "We didn't put the land reform through then, so all was lost. The landlords’ dictatorship came to power. That is why I now disagree with Mikolajczyk – he is also of my party – who wants to postpone the land reform again." Unlike many aging progressives, Czechowski had not lost his early fire. At the risk of his life he went as a delegate to the first illegal Rada, held secretly in Warsaw on New Year's Eve of 1944. Four months later he flew with General Zymierski to Moscow on that adventurous trip when the first airplane crashed and the Germans hunted five days through the woods for those who had failed to take off. It was hard to imagine this quiet, stoop-shouldered man in dark glasses hiding five days in the woods.

Through him I met Henry Ciesluk, prosecuting attorney in the special tribunal for war criminals. He beamed in greeting me and told me that he had five brothers in Detroit working for Ford. He was full of hair-raising tales of Gestapo spies and of people who helped torture or murder prisoners. "They all claim that the Gestapo threatened them with death or jail, but this is no excuse for treason to one's country." Trials of such criminals were proceeding in three different cities of the liberated area; they were considered a safety valve lest an outraged populace take punishment into its own hands. The judges were nominated by the "justice resort" from lawyers of at least two years' practice; their appointment was confirmed by the presidium of the Rada. Each judge had two citizen assistants, chosen from teachers, trade-unionists, and other responsible persons to fill a function similar to that of a jury.

"The first jury trials ever held in Lublin," gloried Ciesluk, explaining that tsarist Russia, to which Lublin once belonged, had no juries and that under the Polish republic Lublin was not a judicial center.

One man brought to trial, a former soldier of the Polish Army named Misselski, had been in charge of the center at No. 6 Krokhmalnaia Street, where Poles from the rural district were collected to be sent to Germany as slaves. There was testimony that Misselski raped girls there and kept them for several weeks for himself before sending them through to Germany. It was also proved that he withheld from the prisoners the food sent to them by a committee of Lublin workers. No young man dared bring this food lest he also be seized. Old women carried it; Misselski beat them, kicked them out, and threw the food on the ground. During the trial Misselski was recognized by six people in the courtroom who came to the stand to add their testimony.

"He's been executed. I myself attended," finished Ciesluk.

Helene Daczko, another of his cases, would have been unbelievable in the most bloodcurdling horror story. She took the stand, with dark chestnut hair freshly waved, challenging the court with her sex. It was shown that as a Gestapo agent she had betrayed her stepmother and half brother to death, reporting that they took food to the partisans in the woods. Helene's own father asked for the death sentence on her.

She fought hard for life. When condemned she petitioned President Bierut for clemency. When he refused, she appealed, claiming pregnancy. "This gives her a respite while a doctors’ commission examines," said Ciesluk. "If her claim is true the execution must wait. The Germans never delayed for such things."

The prize picture in Ciesluk's rogues' gallery was a woman spy named Misterskaia, who betrayed many near neighbors. "She was bold as brass throughout. When she reached the gallows she removed her front gold bridge and asked us to give it to her sister. As her last wish she wanted her sister to have all the things that she hid. When asked what things, she said: 'The things the Gestapo let me keep when I turned in Jews.' She began to list these things saying: 'Wait, wait, I remember his name now and the place where I hid them. Six jeweled rings are there.' She was playing for time before death but she actually believed she could will these things to her sister!"

Two of my table companions were experts on the fate of the Jews under the Nazis. Dr. Emil Sommerstein, with his white hair, white beard, and benevolent air, was chairman of Jewish aid, while dynamic Dr. Szlema Herschenhorn, who had been a member of the Lublin City Council before the war, was special adviser on the Jewish situation. They told me that of three and a half million Jews in prewar Poland there were less than one hundred thousand left.

They went into details. “In Lublin itself there were once forty-two thousand Jews; we found only fifty when we liberated the city. In the entire liberated area we have so far listed only eight thousand Jews, but probably two or three times that number have not yet made themselves known. At the outside there may be a quarter of a million Polish Jews scattered in various places of the USSR. It is clear that more than three million were killed. Besides these, large numbers of Jews were brought from all parts of Nazi-occupied Europe to death camps in Poland.

"Poland was made a vast cemetery for European Jewry. Together with our people every vestige of our culture, our press, our schools, was destroyed. Even our graveyards were obliterated. In the old Jewish cemetery in Lublin the century-old gravestones were torn up for sidewalks and foundations. In the new Lublin cemetery there was left one broken vault jammed with bricks – the grave of Rabbi Meyer. He was the last Rabbi in Lublin."

Henry Altman, in charge of labor problems and social care, was a living example of this tragedy. I saw his slight, unobtrusive figure slipping in and out of the dining room many times before it occurred to me to ask him about his work; then the deep lines of suffering in the peaked face under the thin, dark hair attracted my attention. I learned that he had been a member of the General Council of Trade- Unions before the war.

"I'm the only council member left in Poland now; the others either fled to London or were killed." When I asked whether I might use his name in news cables many of my table companions objected lest it endanger relatives still in the hands of the Germans – I received a shock. Altman said quietly: "There's no objection. All my family and relatives have already been killed." Without further comment he continued the discussion of proposed new labor laws.

Edward Bertold, chief organizer of the land reform, was irregular in the dining room, since he took many trips to the rural districts. When I saw him he was usually absorbed in discussions; it was from others that I learned that he was a peasant's son who became a rural schoolteacher, later graduating from the law faculty in Warsaw in 1934. I saw him several times in public meetings where he was a compelling speaker. If I nabbed him in passing he would hand me a few statistics in a brisk, decisive manner, but they seldom dovetailed. This was not surprising, for Poland's boundaries have changed frequently, while farm boundaries have been affected by several agricultural crises; not even the number of peasants could be given with finality until it was known how many would be repatriated from the eastern areas and how many would survive to return from German slavery.

The land reform, said Bertold, aimed to give every peasant family at least twelve acres. "We consider that a farming family with rational use of land backed by state credits and co-operative purchase of machinery and seeds can live well on twelve acres. In Holland they average from five to seven acres but the soil is very intensively cultivated. In Czechoslovakia they have eighteen to twenty acres; in Denmark ten to fifteen. We can reach the Denmark standard only through the addition of East Prussia and other lands to the west."

Father Borowiec, a picturesque figure in black clerical robes, was conspicuous in our dining room whenever he came to town. He was president of the Rzeczow District Rada – governor of a small-sized state. In prewar Poland he had been locally prominent in the Peasants' Party. During the years of occupation he had kept in touch with the Polish underground. Now during the land reform he traveled from village to village "counseling with the peasants to see that they divide justly." He was the father of his district in more than a religious sense.

One noon I ran into handsome George Strachelski, voyevod of the Bialystok district where the industry had been almost completely destroyed by the Germans. “Three fourths of the factories have to be rebuilt from scratch; the others can be eventually repaired.” He had organized the industrial workers to hunt for machines and spare parts in the ruins and was finding some usable machines even in the rubble. In land reform his district was the first to complete the division. "Our land was easily divided, for the Germans had seized it all, forming large German estates of about a thousand acres each; these owners fled as the Red Army came in. There wasn't enough to give every peasant family twelve acres so they are moving into the Suwalki district just north of us where many farms were abandoned by German colonists."

The vice-chief of health, Dr. George Morzycki, was a worried-looking man. He nodded towards the dozens of civil servants hurrying through their meal. "Those folks are full of optimism but I tell you I'm afraid of epidemics," he declared grimly. As head of the antityphus fight in the great epidemic during the occupation he knew what there was to fear. He had seen things that the world had never been allowed to know.

"Poland has lost too many people already. Land reform and progressive laws are all very well, but first of all the Poles have to be kept alive. Of thirty-three million people at least eight million died in the death camps and from epidemics. Do you wonder that I'm worried? I visited counties of a hundred thousand population where thirty thousand were sick with typhus. In some villages the entire population died. I'll never forget one peasant's cottage where I found the man and woman dead and a dying baby just born from the woman in her last agonies.

"The Germans caused it. They shipped several million Poles from the west into the General Government, giving them neither housing space, change of clothing, soap nor medical supplies. Epidemics spread from this filth and poverty and from the hunger and overcrowding in the ghettos. After 1941 they spread from big camps of Russian war prisoners dying of hunger. I saw such a camp in the Carpathians where of eighty thousand prisoners, sixty thousand died in one month. When the typhus reached its height – three or four hundred thousand cases – the Germans feared for their army. So they let us fight it even among the Polish population but they allowed us no vaccine for our medical personnel. This was one of their methods for killing off Polish doctors. We had twelve thousand doctors before the war and now there are only four or five thousand."

Dr. Morzycki found a way to cheat the Germans. The laboratories of the Warsaw Institute of Hygiene, where he had worked for ten years, were taken over by the Germans but continued to employ the Polish personnel. The Poles organized an underground university and laboratories; Dr. Morzycki was professor of bacteriology. "We made vaccines secretly in the cellar to inoculate all our sanitary personnel fighting typhus; the Germans would have killed us if they had known. Later I became a doctor among the partisans of the People's Army. We doctors have modern knowledge but our conditions today are those of the Middle Ages. Babies are dying of diphtheria while all Poland has only one hundred fifty ampules of antitoxin."

The chief of the “school resort,” a rangy, carelessly dressed midwestern type, was an educational enthusiast. "If I had another life I'd be a teacher again," he told me. When he knew that I wanted to hear about the schools he invited me to his office after supper; he would have time for an unhurried interview then, since the curfew kept casual visitors away. He gave me the password, bending over and whispering "Bomba." Curfew passwords were usually easy to remember, because they had to be understood by both Russians and Poles.

Dr. Stanislaw Skrzeszewski found it harder to teach me the pronunciation of his name; we tried it that evening in his office with considerable mirth. Despite his two degrees from Cracow University and the Sorbonne in Paris, his progressive views and activity in the Teachers' Union kept him from a steady position in prewar Poland. He taught for years in a teachers' training school but was never regularly on the staff. "I had only one happy summer vacation when I knew in advance I would teach next autumn." Fleeing east from Cracow when the Germans struck in 1939, the doctor prepared Polish textbooks for the grammar grades in Lvov. Later, under the Union of Polish Patriots, he organized schools for Polish children throughout the USSR. Now he was starting schools in liberated Poland.

"Schools under the occupation were few and of poor quality," he stated. "Primary schools had only six grades with an average of eighty children per teacher. There were no general secondary schools and no universities. Illegal teaching went on widely; even adolescent boys became enthusiasts for learning in illegal schools." The doctor smiled at "the boys" and then added: "These schools were disorganized by Gestapo raids. Children learned to evade the Gestapo; when caught with school books they said they were taking them to market to sell for food. Those years left our children mature beyond their years, but lacking in formal education.

"We start schools the moment an area is liberated. Our teachers have done a heroic job; they've organized parents and children to repair buildings, make furniture, and hunt books. Often the classes have to be held in the teacher's own room; everywhere there is a shortage of desks, of textbooks, of paper and pencils and, worst of all, of shoes and warm clothing. Many children have to stay at home in bad weather and I've even seen teachers coming barefoot in districts near the front. Schools are also affected by the battle line. In Praga many were closed for several weeks in September when the main streets were under direct enemy fire. Our teachers show considerable ingenuity; by holding smaller classes in their own rooms so that children need not cross dangerous streets they were able to open some schools even when Praga was still in the front lines.

"In spite of these difficulties we have nearly a million children in school this autumn in a total population of some seven million people." One felt his confidence.

The office door was suddenly pushed open by a tall, lanky man with rumpled sandy hair and tie askew. It was Janusz, de facto vice-president of Poland. He approached the doctor with the manner of an embarrassed schoolboy. Then a stream of words burst forth, after which both men smiled and shook hands energetically. Janusz left with a triumphant look. "What's up?" I asked.

"I'm organizing a little excursion to Moscow for fifty of our leading lights to get acquainted with Soviet culture. Janusz is going; he wants to take his son. I have agreed since we have several vacancies. Some of those invited turned us down on the ground that there was no culture in Russia to see." The doctor grimaced.

It remained for my friend Dr. Rabe to tell me about the new universities. A former zoology professor in Lvov, now organizing the new Curie University in Lublin, he came to my room after lunch. He brought with him Dr. Edward Grzegorzewski, a graduate of Johns Hopkins, who was organizing the college of medicine. Other professors for the new university had come from Vilno or Lvov or across the German lines from Warsaw and Poznan.

Lublin had never had a university. There had been a small Catholic college in the city which, like all institutions of higher learning in Poland, had been closed by the Germans. This had reopened with the aid of the Committee soon after the Red Army freed the city. Its faculties were, however, limited to divinity, law, and the humanities. The Committee therefore decided to open a state university with the scientific faculties: agriculture, medicine, pharmacy, and veterinary medicine. They put a former high-school building with sixty rooms at Dr. Rabe's disposal and gave him several rooms in a hospital for a clinic; this was all the Committee could give except its blessing and plenty of students. Six hundred immediately applied.

"They are all graduates of prewar secondary schools or of underground courses held during the war. We cannot possibly take them all without much more equipment. We are also organizing advanced work for more than a hundred students sent to us from the Polish Army – young folks who, on the basis of two or three years' medical training, have been doing emergency surgery. We must help them qualify fully.

"But how can we run a university without books? Without microscopes? Without charts and laboratory equipment? Americans wonder why Poland's first request to the American Red Cross and the UNRRA was for university equipment flown in by plane. We didn't get it; they said we needed food and clothes first instead of all those frills. Can't they realize" – it was the only time Dr. Rabe spoke with passion – "that the mental and spiritual life of Poland is at stake? The Nazis have murdered our physicians and scientists. Unless we can at once make use of those we have left and multiply their brains in the next generation, the Nazi aim of destroying Polish culture will succeed."

"What do you get with the building beside bare walls?" I asked.

"Plenty of fresh air," answered Dr. Grzegorzewski, with a wry smile. "Lots of broken windows, and Poland has as yet no factory for making window glass. We have repaired or boarded over the windows; we have made desks, tables, benches. Local physicians have donated microscopes and thermostats; but we need two hundred microscopes and in all Lublin we found only half a dozen. The Nazis took the rest."

“Worst of all is the lack of books and modern scientific periodicals,” supplemented Dr. Rabe. "Our professors must teach many things from memory. This isn't so bad in literature and the humanities, but imagine trying to remember scientific formulae and technical medical details. Especially when your memory is broken by five years during which Polish intellectuals lived the lives of hunted beasts.”

The younger doctor showed me a letter received from the Rockefeller Foundation in 1941. In the customary formal words it stated that the funds granted to Dr. Grzegorzewski in 1939 for scientific travel in Europe had lapsed, because "due to unfortunate conditions" he had been unable to make the trip. It was a masterpiece of understatement; the "conditions" were the most frightful war in history.

"If we had a little of that money now," said Dr. Rabe as they rose to go.

One of my most amiable table companions was Jan Karol Wende, a young Polish writer who was assistant chief of the “culture resort.” He lived in my apartment house directly below me; I went to his room when I needed to use the telephone. He told me whimsically that he was trying to develop a reading public "if only so that we writers may live." More seriously he added that even the best Polish writers could not make a living before the war by writing; they worked at other jobs and wrote in their spare time.

"Our educated class was small. The Polish people didn't buy books. The upper class bought them, but only as wall decorations. Just now a lot of landlords' villas come to us in the land reform. Their owners are allowed to take things out of them. They take quantities of furniture but they always leave the books. I collect these books and make public libraries with them. To us whose libraries were destroyed by the Germans – in the Warsaw public library alone two million volumes were lost – these books are life!"

He began to roll a cigarette from newspaper. Holding it up, he remarked: "My salary as vice-commissioner is fifteen hundred zlote a month – five dollars on the market. It almost keeps me in cigarettes! Towards the end of the month I roll my own. Can you imagine those London guys rolling their own from newspaper?” Both of us laughed.

One day after we were well acquainted Jan took from his pocket a newspaper clipping that had been folded and carried until the fold was almost worn through. It contained a poem with his signature. “I wrote this in 1938 and it was given to me five years later by a Polish Jewish lawyer in Central Asia. It is one of the most precious things I own.”

I waited for the story. He saw that I really wanted it so he went on: “I had been in Anders's army but when he went to Iran I wouldn't leave the USSR.”

"Were you free to stay behind?"

"Oh, and how! They could sell my place to plenty of Poles who had no army connections and therefore no claim to be cared for. There was quite a traffic in vacant places of soldiers and officers who didn't go. Well, after Anders left I looked around in Central Asia and organized a secondary school for the Poles there. This made my presence known. This Jewish lawyer sought me out and handed me the clipping, asking whether I remembered when I wrote it.

"Certainly I remembered. There was a congress on child care in Warsaw that year. Polish fascist gangs chose that moment to beat up Jewish children; they threw little babies out of baby carriages and knocked school kids senseless. So I wrote this poem in a little democratic weekly saying that child care must begin by caring for all children regardless of race.

"The Jewish lawyer said: ‘I cut out your poem. And when my little daughter asked me – she was seven years old – Papa, why are they beating up Jewish children? I told her that only bad Poles did it and that there were good Poles who were against it. I read her your poem because I didn't want her to grow up hating Poles.... But after all she never grew up. I left her with her mother in Warsaw when they ordered the men to leave the city in 1939. I never got back. Both of them were killed long ago. This clipping is the only thing I have left from my little daughter. It's like having her photograph.’ "

In the long silence that followed I looked at Wende and then at the clipping. “You took it away from him,” I said reproachfully.

"We both of us wanted it. But the father said that if I would write out the poem in my own handwriting and sign it he would take that as a fair exchange between two Poles, a Jew and a Slav, both against race hatred. I think that is really how I came to this work in the 'culture resort.' I want to influence the thought of the next generation."

The most romantic story I heard during those Lublin weeks was that of Captain Stanislaw George Letz. A prewar popular writer of satirical poems, his adventures during the war would fill a detective "thriller." He escaped from the concentration camp in Tarnopol by “a major miracle,” survived as a partisan fighter by a succession of day-by-day minor miracles, being under death sentence both of the Gestapo and of the NSZ, the Polish reactionary terrorists. In the spring of 1944, as staff officer of the People's Army in the Lublin area, he received Polish parachutists and airborne weapons dropped by the Red Army in forest clearings. He was now a captain in the regular Polish Army but his radioman had been dropped further west to a partisan group in occupied Poland.

Letz showed me a neat little card that bore his picture and official proof that he had worked three years in a Warsaw power station, each year signed with a different official signature and stamped with the municipal stamp of the General Government and with the German eagle. He smiled.

"All of it false. Our People's Army had a bureau for making them. We raided the magistrates for the proper blanks and stamps. Sometimes we had our people even in the magistrate's office supplying us direct. This pass was only good with the ordinary military police that stopped you in the street. If they checked it at the Gestapo office, I was lost. For big money you could get a pass that checked even with the Gestapo records."

Letz was betrayed in the autumn of 1943 while editing an underground newspaper, Soldier in Battle; he was living of course under an assumed name. “I learned from our Intelligence that the NSZ had me on their death list under my right name. We immediately left the house where we issued our newspaper. Next day the Gestapo surrounded the house but caught nobody. This sort of thing showed up the link between the Polish fascists and the Gestapo. I was sent at once to the other side of the Vistula to put out a paper under a different name. It was called Free Folk; we printed it in barns from one village to another.”

Letz's prize exploit was his escape at Tarnopol. He was confined in the concentration camp there for nearly two years. "A hungry, filthy place, as much of a death camp as Maidanek but without the efficient technical arrangements for mass murder. My command of German – I was born in Lvov when it was part of Austria – got me the job of orderly in the hospital. When the place got crowded from typhus, the patients were shot to make room for more. I knew I'd get typhus, working there without vaccine, so I arranged with another orderly to hide me; we hid each other in turn when sick. Thus I escaped one of the clean-ups when the typhus cases were shot.

"From a newspaper in a German doctor's office, I learned in the summer of 1943 that the Red Army was near. We had a little underground group of six – old schoolmates who could rely on each other. We knew that the Germans would slaughter the prisoners before retreating; when they were drunk they boasted openly that we would never live to see the Red Army come. Our group made several unsuccessful attempts to get away. One of us got an SS uniform by bribery; we had a vague idea that it might come in handy.

“They chose to liquidate the camp on the night of July 22nd. They took us all to a big field and made us dig a long deep ditch for a grave. We had to kneel along the edge while SS men walked rapidly along, shooting the prisoners in the back of the head and kicking them into the ditch. Quick and efficient, one motion per murder. Suddenly a lot of us were running away, and the Germans shot at us. I don't know who started it, whether I first yelled or another. I don't know how many got away. Five of my buddies got to the camp; probably the Germans shot less in that direction, thinking they would get us later. We hid in a shack in camp for a day.

“The next night I put on the SS uniform – I wore it because of my perfect German – and drove my comrades as my prisoners out of the camp. The Germans were already demoralized. We passed one patrol after the other. The uniform lacked the belt and the cap; if they saw my prisoner's belt and ordinary cap we were all dead men. We came without incident to the bridge over the railway in Tarnopol – our only way out, guarded by picked SS troops.

"We marched with a certain confidence because we considered that we were armed. We had stolen two rusty revolvers and a couple of hand grenades from the camp. We thought that at worst we could blow ourselves up along with the guards. Now that I know what real arms are, I shudder. We hadn't a chance!

"Then came the miracle! The guard shouted ‘Halt.’ We marched ahead regardless. He shouted ‘Halt’ again and came over to us. Then I stepped forward – I was at the rear – and he flashed the light on me. It hit my chest and reflected from my face. An inch higher or lower it would have shown the belt or the cap.

" ‘Ach! Das sind Sie! Verzeihung!’ The light was turned off. I’ll never forget his tone. He must have taken me for someone very important who was not accustomed to being challenged. I couldn't even answer. I ordered my prisoners, ‘Jungens, vorwaerts.’ We went ahead two miles before we remembered to breathe.

"That was greater satire than anything I ever wrote. It was a miracle, and from this miracle I lived. Later I came through a lot of tight places through a certain carelessness toward death that had grown in me. Once I walked right through the German police in Warsaw after curfew by simply saying breathlessly that it was too late to stop. Death had become meaningless; I had seen too many dead men. Death is a monotone; it is life that has terror and variety."

Letz, it was plain, had not ceased to be a poet. "I wrote satirical verses in the worst days in Tarnopol. They are lost now, for I have forgotten them and the copies are buried under the earth. My best friend had them in his breast pocket when he was shot and kicked into that ditch. He always expected to survive; he was saving my work for posterity. I myself never expected to get out alive."

Through chance, through courage, and through miracle, the Lublin leaders had survived.

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