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SOVIET BETRAYAL OF THE HOME ARMY: FINAL PART
‘Wacław Beynar, a former Home Army partisan, was arrested in 1948 and found himself in an airless cell in the Rakowiecka prison in Warsaw. So humid was the cell that prisoners, among them many veterans of the Warsaw Uprising, removed their shirts and waved them in the air to create the illusion of a breeze. There was no toilet in the cell, and prisoners were taken out to use one only twice a day, a system that quickly became a form of torture for those who got diarrohea from the prison food. During interrogations, Beynar was beaten “primitively”, hit in the face, kicked in the iside, and given a death sentence, which he heard “with neutrality: I just couldn’t believe it, that I’m a criminal”.
‘Eventually Beynar was reprieved, given a long prison sentence, and sent to Wronki, a much larger prison near Poznań that held some 4,000 mostly political “criminals”. Upon arrival, “we all cried like children”, he remembered, though the prisoner who suffered most was one who had been in the camp at Dachau. To him it felt simply like déjà vu. Another fellow prisoner was Stanisław Szostak, arrested along with General Wilk outside Vilnius in 1944, then rearrested in Szczecin in 1947 and immediately thrown into a cell with Nazi collaborators. Wronki, he recalled, was “full of lice, lacked air, was hot in the summer and cold in the winter”. Both he and Beynar would be freed only in 1956. Lublin Castle, a forbidding medieval structure that had been used as an emergency prison and execution site for Home Army soldiers in 1944 and 1945, also remained open until 1954. Its gloom, dirt and silence were thought to increase prisoners’ terror.’
~ Anna Applebaum