From World War II Today: Julian Engeniusz Kulski: Dying, we live: The personal chronicle of a young freedom fighter in Warsaw (1939-1945):
The Germans have marked the day [May 3] by placing three times as many police patrols as usual on the streets, filling the city streets with open trucks loaded with SS police, and installing machine-gun emplacements in front of every German military building. The Germans are more jittery now because of the huge Russian offensive opening up on the Eastern Front.
Even on this special day the Germans will not permit people to attend the May Mass in church after curfew in the evening. This service is held throughout the month in honor of the Virgin Mary, but has to take place before the curfew hour. Moreover, both the singing of patriotic hymns in church and the preaching of sermons making reference to politics are strictly forbidden.
This afteroon I decided to attend the service. Saint Stanislaw Kostka Church in Zoliborz was crowded. Shafts of mellow sunlight fell from its tall, narrow windows onto the people below. The sheltered archways were banked with red and white flowers, and soft candlelight cast flickering shadows on the white walls.
I went straight up to the top gallery, which was also full, and stood by the door leading to the organ loft. I had decided that it would be grand if one of the oldest Polish melodies could be played during the holiday service.
So, near the end of the service I knocked on the door, and after a while the violinist opened it and asked what I wanted. I showed him that I had a pistol under my jacket. The pistol was not loaded, of course, and I wouldn’t have used it here anyway, but I hoped he wouldn’t know this.
I was let in at once. The door was closed behind me, and I approached the organist who was just ending one of the melodies specially intended for the May service. While the organ sheltered me from the sight of the congregation, I again showed my pistol and asked the organist in honor of our great day to play the hymn “God, Who Hath Poland Saved,” which had been our national hymn since the Uprising of 1830.
Neither my words nor my pistol would persuade the organist. He said he could not do it, for if he did, the priest and he and all his family would be executed. While talking to me he did not stop playing.
I explained to the organist that he would have witnesses — the violinist and the vocalist — to the fact that he had had to play the hymn at gunpoint. To my delight, when he had finished the one he was playing, he struck the chords of our national hymn, and to everyone’s surprise and joy we heard the stanzas of the melody that touches the heart of every Pole.
They were all so taken aback that nobody even moved. The people in the gallery were the first to begin singing, and they were soon followed by everyone else. The whole church then reverberated with the melody and words of the hymn....
I did not wait any longer. I vanished from the church into the twilight, the last emotional words of the hymm resounding in my ears.
The people realized, of course, what might happen to them. In five minutes not a living soul remained in the church.