Warsaw, 8 August 1947. A member of District Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Warsaw, Acting Judge Halina Wereńko, interviewed the person named below as a witness, without an oath. Having been advised of the criminal liability for making false declarations and the obligation to speak the truth, the witness testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Arkadiusz Lubicz, former prisoner of the concentration camp in Gross-Rosen, no. 30 962|
|Date of birth||14 February 1897, in Bobrujsk, Minsk Grounds.|
|Religious affiliation||Roman Catholic|
|Place of residence||Warsaw, Ząbkowska Street 39a|
|Occupation||merchant, shop owner|
In June 1944, before St. John’s Day (I don’t recall the exact date), the Gestapo took me from my house at Bielańska Street 9 and brought me to Pawiak prison. I was not a member of any political organization, though I was helping an underground organization print a brochure entitled “Radio News”, keeping a copier at my place. Upon my arrest, the search conducted by the Gestapo didn’t turn up any evidence against me. After being arrested, during my stay in Pawiak, I was not interrogated, and I stayed there until the evacuation that took place before 30 July 1944 (I don’t recall the exact date). On the day of the evacuation, each prisoner was given a loaf of bread. We were hustled into the courtyard, lined up in fives, loaded into cars and dropped at the Gdański Railway Station.
I’m not exactly sure if the transport included all the prisoners of Pawiak, or whether we were evacuated in groups. I hadn’t seen women in the transport. 80-90 prisoners were loaded at a time onto a dirty freight wagon. There were over 30 wagons. My wagon was in the middle. All wagons were covered in barbed wire and locked up. The escort consisted of Germans with skull symbols on their hats. From the Gdański Station we went to the Eastern Station in Praga [district of Warsaw], and they kept the train there for three days. There was enormous heat at the time, prisoners being squeezed into the wagons, standing next to each other in the locked-up wagons with no toilet or water. The journey took seven days.
On the way, the wagon would sometimes be opened, and at least once we were given water, although I don’t remember exactly. At the beginning of August (I don’t recall the exact date) we arrived at Gross-Rosen station. While offloading our wagon, 20 corpses of prisoners who had died on the way were carried out.
I saw corpses being carried out of the other wagons too. According to what prisoners were saying, about 250 corpses were carried out from our transport, which I would estimate was between 2.5 and 3 thousand prisoners.
Whether dead bodies were thrown out from other wagons along the way, I don’t know. The corpses weren’t thrown out of our wagon.
At the Gross-Rosen station we were met by an officer and SS men with dogs who came from the camp. In groups of five, we were led three kilometers on foot to the roll call square of the camp, where they recorded our personal data, assigned us prisoner numbers (I received the number 30 392), hustled us into baths and gave us prison uniforms – pasiaki – and then assigned us to blocks 8 and 9. I was put in block 9, which was extremely tight. Three prisoners had to sleep in one bed, and about five hundred inmates (the block contained around a thousand) were sleeping on the floor, on paper pallets. Zugangs, that is, newly admitted prisoners, had poorer food rations compared to the working prisoners, as they only received coffee in the morning, while the workers were given a piece of bead with margarine or a piece of horse sausage. Zugangs were taught how to drill on the roll call square, being beaten and pushed. In October 1944 I got into block 16, where the block senior was Lewaszenko, a Ukrainian from near Kiev, a young man, aged around 35, cruel. He beat the prisoners so badly that they would die not long after taking the blows. I don’t remember the date, but one night in October 1944 he woke everybody up and beat them one by one. As a result, in the following days, more than a dozen inmates died.
I don’t recall the surnames of the deceased.
Initially I was employed in the Neue Leitung, that is, a komando at the barracks construction site. We were carrying rocks from the quarries situated two kilometers away, and bringing iron and wood beams which were needed at the site. We were forced to lift the heaviest rocks and to run with them. Every day, a different Vorarbeiter would watch us. In November 1944, due to the planned transports to other camps, I was put in front of a medical committee consisting of two doctors – a German and a Pole. The prisoners considered healthy with the I category were qualified to be transported. Having received the III category, I was directed to work in the Weberei (weaving mill) komando and to block 8, where the block senior was Paweł Morgała from Silesia, infamous for his brutality.
I don’t remember the date, but no more than a few days after joining the block, when I asked where to sleep, as there wasn’t enough room, Morgała knocked me down on the ground and trampled me with his boots, breaking two of my ribs, and then jabbed me in the chest with a sharp stick. Even though I was extremely unwell after he beat me, Morgała didn’t allow me to go to the camp infirmary, but hustled me to work, asking the Vorarbeiter from the Weberei to give me the heaviest chores. Only after three days, upon the request of the block doctor Szadurski, did Morgała agree to send me to the infirmary, provided that I wouldn’t tell anybody he’d beaten me up.
The Vorarbeiter in the Weberei was a Gypsy prisoner, I don’t remember his surname, who would beat the prisoners so badly that either they couldn’t recover for a long time or they died.
In October or November 1944 (I don’t remember the precise date), a public execution by hanging was carried out on two prisoners, a Pole and a Russian, for an attempted escape.
I don’t recall the hanged prisoners’ surnames.
In the hospital, there were two of us lying in each bed. The relations in the hospital could be described by Józef Pietrzak (residing in Warsaw, Grzybowski Square 2), currently sent for two months to Zakopane by the Society of Former Political Prisoners, who had the number 1000, was a senior prisoner in Gross-Rosen and had worked in the infirmary for a long time as a medical assistant.
The camp’s evacuation began on 27 January 1945 with moving out transports of healthy prisoners. Some few guards stayed in the camp and a couple of block seniors – Vogel from SK [Strafkompanie] and Ziege, a senior from block 2, and two thousand sick prisoners, including me. The only Polish doctor who stayed was Dr. Pritz, currently deceased.
There were rumors that the prisoners were to be shot, then the orders supposedly changed, but as it turned out in February the sick were left without any care, and two days before the evacuation they weren’t given anything two eat.
On 9 February 1945, Germans who were still residing in the camp ordered the patients who were able to walk to leave. The severely ill were put on stretchers and loaded onto carts. This way, none of the sick remained in the camp. Having crossed the gate, we received a loaf of bread each. At the Gross-Rosen station, we were put into open coal wagons, 90 prisoners being squeezed into one. I was travelling in a shirt, barefoot, covered with just a blanket from the camp. I heard that upon the camp’s departure, the SS men had piled up some clothes and allowed the prisoners to take them.
After six days, the transport reached Belsen. We were riding in rain and snow. Half of the patients died on the way. In Belsen around 40 bodies were thrown out from our wagon, with colonel Bronowski from Żoliborz among them. The transport, now including around a thousand prisoners, was moved by trucks to the Belsen camp (a well-known death camp). Barely alive, we were thrown into a barrack with a concrete floor, with no windows, no water, no lights. We weren’t given beds or mattresses, it wasn’t until after a week when they brought some heather to make pallets. At five a.m. a roll call woke us up, everybody had to show up in the roll call square, the dying ones being carried in stretchers and often dying on the square right away. Among others, a prisoner named Piasecki died in Belsen, the owner of a chocolate factory in Kraków, who had come to Gross-Rosen with me. We were held at the roll call until ten, eleven. After coming back, our block senior would almost every day knock over the pot with the coffee to the ground. We were able to drink coffee about once a week.
I don’t recall the block senior’s surname. I was in block 14.
We were given half a liter of rutabaga for dinner and a piece of bread with coffee in the morning. More than 100 thousand prisoners were amassed in the Belsen camp at that time.
Out of our transport consisting of a thousand people, around 150 survived. The Belsen prisoners were dying from starvation, exhaustion and illnesses, caused also by sleeping on the bare concrete floor. The corpses were burried in huge ditches.
I don’t remember the German functionary prisoners’ surnames from Belsen.
In the first days of March, along with 5 thousand prisoners, I was taken to work near Hamburg. On the way to the Belsen station I saw a couple thousand corpses from Belsen of people who had died of exhaustion on the way from the factory to the camp. Near the city of Parchim in Mecklenburg, I jumped out of the wagon and hid; I was in a labor camp near Parchim, then in Szczecin, and finally as an ill worker in Lübeck, where the English army freed me on 4 May 1945.
The circumstances described above can be confirmed by Bolesław Suski, who left the Gross-Rosen camp with me and stayed in Belsen. Suski has not come back to the country yet.
The report was hereby ended and read out.