Narrative of captain Leon Poretzky

The famous hero of the General Bor uprising in Warsaw, Captain Leon Poretzky, tells the story of how he  and his family fled Hrubieszow.

During the night before the big and last fight in Hrubieszow, I fled together with my wife, mother and two brothers, Frank and Joszek, to Abrawietz, in order to wait for the end of the battle, which was about to break out. My mother and my late two brothers remained in the village, whilst I and my wife decided to go to the woods. We left Abrawietz and brought devious and terrible roads found our way to the Bilgoray Forest, where we joined a partisan guerilla formation. Thus it was that I started living as a Goy with the name Porezky. Once we were surrounded by German bandits, and only by a miracle we were able to break through and reach Warsaw. There I joined the underground army of General Bar, in order to avenge myself on the bandits.

My comrades-at-arms thought I was mad; but they used to whisper to each other that possibly I was a "Jid", because there never was a fight in which I was not in the front ranks. We liquidated the police-school in Tcheppel Street.

This happened during the uprising in Warsaw. After occupying Grzybow Street, I was summoned to headquarters and told that as we had run out of ammunition, there was no way out, except attack the school where the police were stationed, and deprive them of their arms. We were four companies strong; it was suggested to us that we draw lots.
The feeling for vengeance was strong in me; so I stood up and asked to be entrusted with this mission. The other officers were only too happy to accede to my request in view of grave perils involved. That meant, literally, courting death. Nevertheless, I was told that the houses on the other side of the street were in our hands, so that at least our rear was covered.

We fixed the zero hour at 9 p.m., so that the Germans should not be able to estimate the strength of the attacking force. I went to my battalion and conferred with my colleagues on the details of the operation. We had then 50 rounds, with 10 rifles, 6 Sten-guns, 4 pistols, and a small supply of hand-grenades of our own manufacture. We had no idea how many Germans were stationed at the Police station; we only knew one thing; that there was plenty of arms and ammunition there.

At 8 p.m. we left Grzybow ruins and started crawling one by one to the school. My plan was to take the bandits by surprise, blow up the gate and, on the wave of explosion, penetrate into building.

As we entered the Tcheppel Street, and being secure in the feeling that our friends were in occupation of houses facing the Police-station, we attacked with great verve. But just at that moment a withering fire was opened on us by the Germans precisely from those houses, so that we had to face an attack from the front and the rear.

You already hear the moans of the wounded; you cannot retreat, because hell has popped all around you. I see that we shall be mowed down to the last man. I took three of our hand-grenades and a German one, tied them together; then leaping up from the ground, cried out; "Follow me, everybody!" with that, I threw the bundle of grenades at the gate. A big bang followed and the gate crashed to the ground.

We burst in, raising such a racket that the Germans were convinced that they dere attacked by considerable forces; they soon hoisted a white rag to signify surrender. I demanded loudly that they all come down to the courtyard and lay down their arms. The Germans across the road stopped shooting, too, for fear of hitting their own comrades.

One by one the German came down and laid down their arms. Only then did they perceive that the attacking force was not more than 30 strong, whilst the Germans who were lined up against the wall with arms raised over their heads, numbered 350.

I carried out a selection: Wehrmacht to the right, S.S. to the left. A good many pretended to be of the Wehrmacht, but this ruse did not succeed, because they denounces each other. We put the S.S. into a cellar and on the spot shot 140 bandits. We captured an enormous quantity of arms and ammunition. For this operation I was awarded the highest decoration and promoted to the rank of Captain.

The famous hero of the General Bor uprising in Warsaw,Captain Leon Poretzky, who was later awarded the highest possible decoration, was no other than Lolek Peretz, the son of the Hrubieszow photographer, Hershl Peretz.