B.C. Biega - "Thirteen Is My Lucky Number" - excerpt from Chapter 5 .
WEDDING - August 13, 1944
...(Dr. Miroslaw Vitali1)... had just been put in charge of a new, smaller field hospital that had been set up in the basement of a stationery store at Moniuszki Street 11, opposite the Adria Night Club. The next morning I and several other wounded were moved from the P.K.O. (Postal Savings Bank) into the new location. Here we even had beds to lie on. Dr. Vitali put my hand together as best he could without the benefit of X-ray and with only primitive equipment. My arm was encased in plaster of Paris with a small window over the wrist for changing dressings. Whenever Lili had a free moment she came to visit me, at least once a day.
Frasza (Franciszek Szafranek), the Company Commander, had also been wounded during the fighting for the Post Office, on the afternoon of the second day. My friend Staszek Brzosko was now the acting Company Commander. Frasza lay in the next bed and we wiled away the time discussing all the events of the previous days. We, and all the other wounded, were apprehensive about the future.
Several days later we were both making good progress. I had even been able to walk with Lili's assistance to the P.K.O. for my arm to be X-rayed. When I returned, and Lili had gone back to the Post Office, Frasza asked me, "I've watched you two for some time. You're both obviously very much in love, why don't you get married?"
Rysia Vitali, the doctor's wife and constant assistant, made arrangements to get me a suitable uniform for the ceremony. Lili was in a stage of shock when she received the totally unexpected message, but her friends rallied to help her, gave her a clean blouse and skirt. My father came by visit me (his office in the Government Secretariat was only a few blocks away on Mazowiecka Street). When I told him the news he was vehemently opposed.
Thirteen was still lucky for me. That was the date of our wedding day -- August 13. A field altar was set up on bales of paper in the store upstairs. The borrowed uniform was pushed and pulled onto me over the plaster dressing of my left arm. Finally, I was ready just as Lili arrived with an honor guard composed of six of her girls, holding a bouquet of rather wilted gladiolus in her hand. An attack on our positions had occurred that morning so none of my colleagues, not even the best man, Stas Nestrypke, could come to the ceremony. However, the Propaganda Section, which was quartered in the night club Adria, just across the street, sent over a film unit. The entire ceremony was filmed, to the annoyance of the Battalion Chaplain, who disliked the bright lights and noise. Lili saw the whole film, two days after the ceremony, in the Cinema Palladium, which at that time was still operating......
......We exchanged wedding rings, not gold but brass curtain rings. After the brief ceremony the Chaplain wrote up the marriage certificate using our assumed names of Pałąk and Jarmuz. My father had the presence of mind to say that the time of secrecy had passed, the document must be in our real names, otherwise later on we would have serious problems proving we were legally married. A new document was typed up and signed by Chaplain Corda2. Then, all the participants and the other patients enjoyed a wedding breakfast composed of French sardines and paté on biscuits captured from the stores of the German garrison in the Post Office. The obligatory toasts were made in vodka.
The attack had been beaten back. Lili and I ducked behind the barricades, which were under constant sniper fire, to the Company command post, where another party had been prepared in the luxurious suite of the (pre-war) chief postmaster. More toasts were drunk, then we ducked back past the barricades to the hospital.
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