A Tribute to Jadwiga and Tadeusz Książyk
From August 1 to October 2, 1944, during 63 days, the Poles launched an offensive to liberate Warsaw from German occupation. The Warsaw Uprising was a heroic and tragic event that remains a turning point in the history of World War II. During this desperate combat, Jadwiga and Tadeusz Książyk are two siblings who sacrificed their lives for dignity and freedom.
During the two months of the Warsaw Uprising, the Książyk Family was still living in their appartment located 12 Świętokrzyska 12 ( 12, Holy Cross Street). They were trapped in one of the epicentres of the battles against the German occupier and the only way out was through underground water channels.
Most young Poles were engaged in combats, some of them aged 10 and even less. Jadwiga and Tadeusz joined them. Girls had activities related to meals preparation, logistics support, and medical care.
Born on October 25, 1921, Jadwiga was 22. She died on 8 October 1944. The Warsaw Uprising had ended only the week before, on October 2. Jadwiga probably died from a wound received during the last combats. There is no information about Tadeusz. He was born on January 15, 1925. When he died, he was 19 years old. The official registry does not specify when and where he was killed. This situation suggests that he might have been arrested and executed by the Germans.
War Around The Corner
The Warsaw Uprising was a terrible combat waged on several fronts across the city. A large majority, Insurgents were engaged in their own neighbourhood. They fought where they lived, in their streets, near their schools, in their churches. This proximity is crucial to understand the determination of the insurgents.
The colorized pictures above show insurgents in the neighbourhood of Świętokrzyska 12. The colorized pictures are located at the corner of ul. Czaskiego, in Napoleon Square (Plac Napoleona), near the Great Post Office (Poczta Głównaj), beside the Prudential Tower and ul Warecka - close to the last place of Jadwiga.
The official registry mentions that Jadwiga died ul. Szpitalna 10. This is a just 5-minute walk from her home at 12 Świętokrzyska 12. Most probably the building of the Książyk family was badly damaged by the systematic destruction of the town by the Germans. Today, number Szpitalna 10 has disappeared. The street ends with number 8, the beautiful building of the Wedel tea parlor.
Tribute to Heroes
More than 16,000 insurgents and 200,000 civilians died during and immediately after the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. Survivors tell that there were so many deaths that finding a place to dig a decent gave was quite impossible. It took weeks to reach back those who had died from lethal gas attacks in the sewers. It took months to exhume bodies and transfer them to cemeteries. It took years to know the number of victims. Many people were buried in mass graves. More than 75 years later, the identification of the victims is still an ongoing process.
Jadwiga and Tadeusz have their names written on a column of the Warsaw Insurgents Park. The 93 columns remind the Heroes who fight against of German barbarism during the Warsaw Uprising. Thousands of victims are buried nearby with their names written on immense gravestones. This beautiful park is located next to the Insurgent Cemetery. A visit to both places is a moment of intense emotions.