1 June 1946, Warsaw. Investigative Judge Halina Wereńko, delegated to the Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes, interviewed the person named below as a witness. Having been advised of the criminal liability for making false declarations and of the significance of the oath, the witness was sworn and testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Stanisława Koprowicz|
|Parents’ names||Stefan and Zofia, née Górzyńska|
|Date of birth||17 November 1908 in Dobrzyń, Lipno county|
|Education||did not attend school but can read and write|
|Place of residence||Warsaw, aleja Niepodległości 118 A, flat 1|
|Religious affiliation||Roman Catholic|
On 1 August 1944 around 5.00 p.m. I went to my garden plot in Pole Mokotowskie. Unaware of the outbreak of the Uprising, I was startled to hear shooting from Ochota. Trying to get on my way home, I went in the direction of Rakowiecka Street, but I noticed that a smoke bomb had been dropped there. I burst into the Jesuit Church at Rakowicka Street. There were already 13 people there whom I didn’t know. Apart from the civilian population, 25 priests arrived in the church.
Having learned about the outbreak of the Uprising, I spent the whole night in the boiler room behind the church. I wish to note that the Jesuit monastery is next to the Jesuit Church at Rakowiecka Street. The boiler room I mentioned above was situated in the monastery yard, between the farm buildings.
The following day, on 2 August 1944 at about 9.00 a.m. I heard someone bang on the door from Boboli Street. Kosibowicz, the Parish priest, ran upstairs and bumped into German soldiers who having battered the door down had already entered the church. Six soldiers and the priest went down into the boiler room. The soldiers frisked everyone, apparently searching for weapons, for they didn’t rob us of our jewelry. Then they left, accompanied by the priest.
After a while the priest returned and told us that the Germans said that we could stay there and that they would do us no harm as long as no shot was fired at them from our direction. At about 11.00 a.m. three Germans in green uniforms burst into our place. I failed to see whether they were Wehrmacht soldiers or SS-men. Before entering the boiler room the soldiers threw grenades into the church. One of them took up his position in the boiler room, the other one in the corridor, and the third one stood by the second or third doors down the corridor leading to the part of the basement which had a grated window and some pieces of furniture – a wardrobe and a narrow bed. It seemed to be a punitive or penance room for priests. It was the smallest room in the basement. With a wave of his finger the German who entered the boiler room ordered all of us to come out. The priests were the first to come out, then 13 men and women. Finally the German waved at me. I don’t know the names of these civilians. There were more women than men. Apart from the priest Kosibowicz, I also knew the priests Bieńkosz, Kisiel and Mońko. I came out of the boiler room into the corridor where I saw a young woman standing by the wall. She had come to the boiler room along with her mother. She said she lived in Unii Lubelskiej Square. I stopped next to her, which elicited a violent reaction from the German who slapped me in the face and shoved me into the smallest room – the one which probably served as an penance room for priests.
I don’t know what happened to the woman in the corridor. Was she taken somewhere and raped? I didn’t see her dead body later. All the people whom I had seen in the boiler room were now gathered in the small room, into which the German pushed me. The door was ajar. As the German started throwing grenades at us, I jumped into the space behind the door. I must also add that as we were leaving the boiler room the Germans stole all our jewelry and other valuables.
The moment the German began throwing grenades I grabbed a blanket lying on the wardrobe. I covered my head, opened my mouth and leaned against the door. People in the room were dying, torn apart by grenades. At one moment I felt I was getting hot. I noticed blood flowing down my leg. I was harmed by grenade shrapnel, sustaining five wounds in my left leg and one in my chest.
Now I am cured. I only have some light scarring left from the wounds.
After throwing several grenades the Germans left. Then I saw a priest break into a run: Bieńkosz or Kisiel, and also a man after him. They both escaped. Later I learned that the priest took shelter in the boiler room and the man was killed in the corridor. I had not yet decided to move. I was still hiding in the wardrobe when, after a while, the Germans returned and threw a few grenades on the people lying there.
When they were gone, I ran out into the corridor and took shelter in the boiler room. I found the three priests: Kisiel, Bieńkosz and Mońko. Today Kisiel stays in Warsaw, living in the Jesuit monastery on Rakowiecka Street. The priest Mońko lives in Gdynia. Last year Bieńkosz stayed with the Order, but I don’t know where he is now.
After some time, an older man with a 20 year-old son, named Jurek, appeared in the boiler room. I don’t know their surname. The man carried his wounded son out of the room that had become the execution site. He told me that after my escape the Germans came back again to finish off those still alive. It was at that time that he sustained two wounds and his son had his legs shot through. They survived because they were covered by a pile of dead bodies and the Germans didn’t bother to check if they were still alive. After firing a number of shots at those lying and checking the pulse of those on top of the pile, the Germans left.
The six of us spent the whole night hiding behind the pile of burning coke. We had neither food nor water and our wounds remained undressed. The following day, on 3 August 1944, we again heard the Germans throw grenades into the church. Then they rushed into the basement and set dead bodies on fire by throwing incendiary bombs. We had to shut the boiler room door a little to protect ourselves against the suffocating smoke. We stayed there until 5 August 1944. On the night of 4 – 5 August the priest Bieńkosz went out to bring female nurses from the apartments at Fałata Street. They arrived on 5 August 1944 at 12.30 a.m., moving stealthily to avoid attracting the Germans’ attention. We were all taken on stretchers by two nurses. On the way out of the boiler room I saw the dead body of a man in the basement corridor. This was the body of the same man who escaped with the priest from the execution site. The church and residential buildings were on fire, but the church refused to burn down and was set alight a couple of times. Female liaison officers from the anti-aircraft defense took us to the first-aid treatment point at Fałata Street (I can’t remember the number) where we had our wounds dressed.
On 14 August 1944 I returned home to aleja Niepodległości 118A. Until 26 September 1944 there were insurgents in my house. On 27 September 1944 the Germans burst in and marched all the residents to the fort in Mokotów and thence to Wierzbno and the transit camp in Pruszków.
On 1 October 1944 I was deported to Germany as a forced laborer. I had the task of digging trenches near Wrocław.
The report was read out.