Warsaw, Poland September 21, 1940 – “I put my hand on her chest to stop the streaming blood. She told me that she could not breathe, her body trembled and she closed her eyes,” said Szymon Porchinzy of his 12-year-old daughter Agata’s last moments after she was shot by an German sniper last Saturday.
Anna was shot in the left side of her chest while she was inside her home in Warsaw, in the northern part of the ghetto. An ambulance tried to reach her but German soldiers opened fire at it, wounding a paramedic and causing the tires to lose air, and so she bled to death three hours after she was wounded.
Her 39-year-old father Teodor, 37-year-old mother Róza, and the rest of Agata’s family surrounded her, praying for her safety. Her father pressed on the wound while her brother Szymon held her hands as her body was severely trembling. She asked her father to help her to breathe.
“Dad, I cannot breathe, all of you leave me please, let me breathe, enough, enough,” were Agata’s last words, according to her father.
Teodor tried CPR, but he failed. No more pulse and no more breath.
Agata had gone to fetch some clothes from the second floor when, according to Teodor, “the German sniper on a nearby building shot her in her chest.”
The gunshot penetrated both her chest and the door of the room, and blood poured from her chest and back.
“I heard a gunshot and soon her scream filled the house. I went upstairs, [and saw] her knees gave in and slowly she fell down while calling for her mother,” said her 17-year-old brother Teofil.
Her father carried his wounded daughter and tried to evacuate her to the hospital but when he reached the door of the house, his brothers prevented him from leaving as German snipers were shooting anything moving.
Several phone calls later, the ambulance center told the family to evacuate the girl. Her mother Róza carried Agata but as soon as she left the house, the German soldiers opened fire at her and the wounded girl fell to the ground. Teofil dragged her into the house.
While Agata laid dying, the family waited as explosions, gunshots, tanks and artillery sounded all around them. German forces cut the electricity and shot the water tanks on the roof. The radio and phone lost their power.
“We used water only for drinking; the smell of the toilet filled our home and we used [flags for communication] to conserve power,” said her brother Szymon.
“My uncle Wawrzyniec, 28, crawled from our house to his house and brought a kerosene lamp, but it went out the same night,” Szymon added.
“Near the door of our house there were dead bodies; the German soldiers prevented paramedics from carrying them away,” Szymon said.
Szymon began to cry as he recalled his “clever sister,” who shared many of his interests. “She likes sport like me; she is also a good volleyball player and used to participate in school championships.”
The family could not afford paints for Agata to practice her favorite hobby. “She used to [draw] landscapes with a pencil, [there was] no money for colors,” Szymon said.
The following Saturday morning, thousands of Polish Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto participated in Agata’s funeral procession.
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