Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Zofia Szostak - 1985

The Underground

Now what did it mean to be in the, be in the Underground? You didn't move from where you were living, did you?

No. I--first of all, and one of the most important--we learned that we had to act like everybody else. We couldn't walk with something, you know, looking very mysterious. We were taught that we have to blend in, you know, and uh, so okay, and uh, looked not very suspicious. And then, we had to, on certain meetings, we had to learn how to, how to take care of the wounded, in a case of some uh, uprising. Uh, I learned how to shoot before the war, you know, but we had to brush up a little bit more on, on that, you know. But in my section, my, my was uh, section specially for those who were supposed to be taking care of the wounded. Was just five of us, and one of us only communicated with another unit, maybe another five, you know, but we, we worked in uh, exact, exact section of five. And then, just like, I was in a small town, so I knew everybody anyways, you know. So, okay, we had what we called pseudonyms; our, different, different names. Now I was at that time, I was Inga; this was my first, first one. And, um, the other one had different, different kind of names. And this is what we used uh, we used just like during our communications. But in bigger cities, you know uh, people really didn't know each other, they didn't know their own where, you know, you just met this person only at a meeting, and you were very careful not to find out where this person was, was living, or, or never was, you didn't ask anybody, you know, "Hey, what is..." you know, who you really are or anything, you know.

What, what were the activities of the group?

So we were at this time, we were only preparing uh, preparing for how to, in a case of the uprising...

I see.

...general uprising, how to take care of this. And then also occasion, we were sent with messages here and there, you know, to other, to other people, you know. But, not, not everybody, not all the time, you know. And uh, in fact, later on, I was already working, but in different, different unit, and working for different group. Another time I was, I was Andrzej you know, this was my, my other name, was a boy's name. And uh, I don't know why I picked this up, boy's name, you know, and uh... so, I was, I was going with messages and really, I was being groomed to, to work at this I learned stenography, you know, this--how do you call it--stenography, you know, and uh, I knew how to type, so I was supposed to sit by the, by the radio and pick up the messages, you know, and write them up quickly, and relay to somebody else was supposed to base their, their, the next uh, issue of a paper, you know, for, for the people.

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