Elżbieta Lobert

* 1929

  • "It was peaceful and everything was OK when suddenly on the 19th of January 1945 – the first bombing of Olsztyn. My mother and also my father lived in Olsztyn. My father worked in a railway company. That day my mother with our neighbour walked down the hill to the place where I was staying and everything was fine. The bombing lasted throughout Friday and Saturday. On Sunday it was peaceful. The evacuation had already begun and they told us to leave. The farmers did not want to leave their land and their livestock so I also kept saying: No, no, I will not go. Kieśliny was at the front line. They were some fights there. My aunt – my father’s sister started killing her ducks and geese and cooked them. Everyone was getting ready to leave".

  • "On Monday, the 22nd of January at half past eleven we departed using two long carts. At first we headed for Morąg. Unfortunately, already in Dywiki, the army was based in an inn. They told us to go in the direction of Dobre Miasto. Again, we were thrown out of there. Early in the morning, at five AM, a soldier dressed in brown clothes came and told us: Raus. You have to move forward. The snow was knee-deep. It was cold, even as cold as minus thirty degrees. We went like this: Dobre Miasto – Worneta – Święta Siekierka and as far as the frozen reservoir in a place called Różne. The army based there. They told us to throw out from the carts all the needless things to make the carts lighter. People had a lot of different stuff. During the night we rode on the reservoir. It was really peaceful. One by one, people were marching or riding. At the moment the sun rose, the Soviet aircrafts approached and started shooting machine guns. The sound was as if someone was cutting through the crops on a field. Thank God we managed to get uninjured to Kąty Rybackie. From there we separated from the rest of the group and took a narrow-gauge train to Gdańsk. There we were herded to a cinema where they registered our names. We found a family there and passed the night. We thought we would be able to wait until everything is over and just go back to Olsztyn. Unfortunately, it did not happen. There were ship tickets left yet only for my mother and me so we sailed. My mother did not want to leave without my father but eventually we left. This way we got to Copenhagen. We sailed on a ship which was basically transporting the wounded but also some people who ran away. The corpses were unloaded there. Afterwards, soldiers who were more or less capable of walking by themselves got off the ship. We were one of the last people to leave the ship. We were driven to Holstet Bin which is more or less Idland. 06:50 It was the southern part of Denmark. We spend a year and a half there".

  • "In Denmark we were living in guarded barracks, surrounded by the barbed wire. There was no exit or anything like this. One room was inhabited by ten people. We had no idea how Poland looked at the time. We were thinking that nothing had really changed there. They used to speak Polish and it was all right. We used to live all together. After we had received that letter, with the help of the Red Cross, we were driven to have some photos of us taken. We had to do it, otherwise we would not be able to leave. All the paperwork was completed very quickly and we received the documents we needed We were taken to an international camp, which was located in a sports hall. There – it was freedom. It was finally allowed to go out and we also received some packages. They contained some of the things we had not seen in years. The packages contained: chocolate, cigarettes, sausage. We did not even have any clothes because all the stuff was left in Olsztyn. Neither me nor my mother brought anything with us. Just after a few days it turned out that there are transports back to Poland: - Please get ready to leave. This way we left that paradise and arrived in Gdańsk. We were received by the army. They registered our names. My mother was shouted at, she was told what kind of mother did not teach her daughter to speak Polish".

  • "In the meanwhile I was studying, graduated from a university and got a job. My first workplace was in Górów Iłowiecki. This period of my live brings happy memories. There were a lot of very good people in that place. Afterwards, when I graduated from a university I was looking for a job in Olsztyn. I got a job in the Department of Education. In the old times, or maybe even today it [the local authorities] used to be divided like this: the district of Olsztyn and the city of Olsztyn. I used to work in the inspectorate, in the Department of Education of the district of Olsztyn. My position was the head of the kindergarten section. I had to take part in different kinds of audits and attend meetings. It lasted five years. It was required to go there by train to Baczew. Truth to be told, the train schedules were decent back then but still I had to take a ride and then from the train station walk for a long time to get to the Presidium. So I thought that I would try to get a job in Olsztyn. I was accepted for the same position there. I had spent five years in Baczew and then three years in Olsztyn. The job was rather hard. After all, it was working with people. And the people were different then they are nowadays. Meanwhile, next to a children’s hospital on Wyspiańskiego street a new school was established and so I applied there. I was one of the founding organizers of the school. I was in charge of a kindergarten. In 1968 a new hospital was built and it exists until today. We relocated and I had been working there until I retired. Working there was fine. I was quite young when I retired, because I took advantage of a moment when it was possible to retire at the age of fifty. I have been retired since 1979".

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    Olsztyn, 09.08.2012

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This way we left that paradise and arrived in Gdańska We were received by the army They registered our names My mother was shouted at, she was told what kind of mother did not teach her daughter to speak Polish”

Elżbieta Lobert
Elżbieta Lobert
photo: Pamět národa - Archiv

She was born in Olsztyn on the 16th of May 1929 in a catholic family. She had two older brothers - they both served in the Wermacht. Her father was a railway man and her mother was a stay-at-home mother. In 1944 she graduated from the elementary school and started working in the country. The peaceful period of her life ended on the 19th of January 1945 when the Russians bombed Olsztyn. The evacuation of her family began. Elżbieta Lobert with her mother went to Denmark where they spent a year and a half. Their ship was torpedoed but it did not sink. Her father stayed in the Olsztyn area. Elżbieta and her mother decided to get back home as they were certain that nothing had changed in their neighborhood. However, the family lost their pre-war apartment and moved to the room located in the Sanitation Institute where her father worked. The family managed to get back the house in 1956. Ms Elżbieta learnt Polish very quickly, graduated from a university and got a job - at first in Górów Iłowiecki, afterwards in Olsztyn. Since 1979 she has been retired. She never wanted to leave her homeland - Warmia.