This moment has been captured in the frame by photojournalist Sylwester Braun “Kris”.
Unit of insurgents marches down Chmielna street. Snapshot captures smiling guys marching in twos. There are residents of building on the corner of Chmielna and Szpitalna streets watching them. The photo was published after the war dozens of times and it was usually signed: “The beginning of the Uprising – the group of ‘Chwats’ from cover unit of a printery marching through the intersection of Chmielna and Szpitalna”.
“This is a mistake. The soldiers at the photograph are not ‘Chwats’. Instead they are my shielding unit of Military Publishing Works” straightens Wanda Traczyk-Stawska “Donut”, who went at the end of the group on that day. She remembers the moment captured by “Kris”. It was a sunny morning of 15th or 16th of August 1944. After overnight fighting at Powisle my unit was returning to our billet at Sienkiewicz and Boduen streets. At the head of the unit marched our commander, Edmund Grzywinski “Leon”, whose subordinates called “Smoczek”.
“We were a unit at disposal of Colonel “Monter” . We fought in different parts of the city, wherever help was needed. That night we were summoned to the power station at Powisle. There we had supported an attack on German positions. In the morning we were drenched in coal, tired and hungry. On our way back, the commander, instead of quarters, led us to the “Diana” baths at Chmielna. So on the picture we are clean” explains Wanda Traczyk-Stawska.
After cleaning up squad presented very well. “Leon” came up with that we will come back singing a song. After a night full of action however the soldiers did not have the desire to sing and they just growl something under their breath.
“But when we saw the reaction of people who stood on the sidewalks and out on the balconies to smiled and waved at us, we started to belt it out. I guess it was “Heart in a backpack.” That was a favorite song of our previous commander, who died a few days before” says Wanda Traczyk-Stawska .
“Leon” did not survive the uprising. He died of his wounds after the bombing of the troops’ quaters on August 28th.