Words by Birgit van Hasz
Photography unless stated from the album of Inge Theodorescu (née Fellgiebel)
Lead Photograph: both Amurath Sahib and Staff Sergeant Hans Schulz were on the trek in 1945.
Luckily this time no one has to risk his life.
You just have to show character!
At 1.23am on 14 February, the first of 529 bombers reached the city of Dresden. The bombing lasted 31 minutes. Per minute, approximately 20,000 thin stick-type firebombs, in packages up to 100, pattered from the sky. Each one weighed 1.7kg and had a length of 57cm. Additional bombs were released, called ‘blockbusters’ because that was exactly what they did with their blast. All of these also struck in a distance of around 5km in direct line from the Semper Opera. There, among the treks of refugees and citizens of Dresden, grooms of Janów Podlaski stood under the open sky hoping to survive this inferno. As if that hadn’t been enough, each of them desperately tried to hold two of the country depot stallions of Janów. Since it is not possible for one man to hold just one panicked horse if it really wants to break free, never mind two, many ran off. But some of the horses must have learned to trust their humans, even in the hell of a bombardment.
|Amurath Sahib taken around 1941.
Erich Fladewas named 21 of the Polish staff that took part in the evacuation of Janów Podlaski in his book. But he didn’t mention who attended the group that rode the depot stallions while leading the others on the trek of 13/14 February back in 1945. Only Jan Ziniewicz is remembered as one of those who could prevent their stallions from running off. In her first book, Erika Schiele reported what he described to her:
“Around them, bombs detonate, shrouding them in smoke and fire. The stallions are maddened and break free… Nearby, a fire bomb goes off, flames leap onto Witraz’s tail, he screams and rears, but Ziniewicz doesn’t let go. Blood flows over his hands, but he hangs onto them [the stallions]…”
To this man, we owe the survival of the Janów main stallion Witraz (Ofir x Makata) and the depot stallion Wielki Szlem (Ofir x Elegantka). To underline the historical significance for the Arabian breed worldwide, Bask (Witraz x Balalajka) should be just one clue.
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