The building known as the Mortgage House (Gmach Hipoteki) witnessed every major battle in and around Old City. This includes a dramatic attempt “Radosław” and “Sosna” units made to break out of Old City and reach Śródmieście. The building was erected according to Henryk J. Gay’s and Mikołaj Możdzeński’s project. Adorned with reliefs created by Zygmunt Otto, this monumental building still bears the signs of the struggles that took place here in the last days of August and beginning of September 1944.
Three weeks after the Warsaw Uprising began, the situation of insurgent forces fighting for Old Town, a district cut off from the rest of the city by German troops, became dire. Constant air raids stripped the remaining population of shelter, forcing people to flock to the increasingly overpopulated cellars. Insurgent troops, decimated and fighting for survival, were being pushed back further and further into Old City. They held out, waiting for outside support, which never came.
On 28th of August 1944, the commanding officer of “Połnoc” Group Colonel Karol “Wachnowski” Ziemski decided it is necessary to lead as many soldiers as possible out of the Old Town area. His plan proved impossible to realize.
The operation was supposed to begin on the night of August 30/31. The operation was supposed to begin on the night of August 30/31. A squad under Jan “Radosław” Mazurkiewicz, who had to be replaced due to injuries by Major Jan Andrzejewski, was to move out from the vicinity of the Mortage House and Polish Bank building. Because of a great deal of confusion and panic that struck the civilian populace, a group of soldiers under Major “Sosna” regrettably failed to reach their position on the right column of the insurgent force.
It took three hours more than expected for the first and second company (respectively “Maciek” and “Rudy”) of “Zośka” Battalion to move out. Second Lieutenant Andrzej “Morro” Romocki, a subordinate of Jan “Rudy” Bytnar and Tadeusz “Zośka” Zawadzki in the underground movement, commanded the second company. Soldiers under Cpt Eugeniusz “Trzaska” Konopacki advanced with him. They reached Bielańska Street but were quickly pushed back to their original positions. In the early hours of the morning, “Radosław” informed “Wachnowski” that the assault collapsed, leaving many injured or dead. After he refused to pass on an order to resume the attack, the operation was called off. A hundred soldiers fell during this failed attempt at reaching Śródmieście, including many commanding officers (among others, Major Jan Andrzejewski).