Warsaw, 29 March 1946. Judge Stanisław Rybiński, delegated to the Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes, interviewed the person named below as a witness. Having advised the witness of the criminal liability for making false declarations and of the significance of the oath, the Judge took the oath, following which the witness testified:
|Name and surname||Emil Kipa|
|Parents’ names||Sebastian, Elżbieta|
|Date of birth||17 March 1886|
|Occupation||MSZ advisor [Ministry of Foreign Affairs]|
|Education||Doctor of Philosophy|
|Place of residence||Warsaw, Żoliborz, Mickiewicza Street 18, flat 14|
|Religious affiliation||Roman Catholic|
At the outbreak of war in 1939, I was still employed in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs [MSZ]. At the beginning of the occupation, I took up a post in the Municipal Board as a vice-chief of the Presidential Office. Knowing the German language, I always accompanied mayor Kulski as an interpreter during his conferences with German authority representatives, mainly Ludwik Leist, the city starost and the direct supervisor of the Municipal Board. Due to this, I had the opportunity to get to know Leist better along with his attitude towards the Poles.
Undoubtedly, Leist – having some strong support in Berlin – rose through the ranks of the German administration, selfishly taking advantage of the circumstances, but avoiding any involvement or actions that could possibly put him in danger in the future. He had a broad life experience in relations with people and he knew what to do to save his skin without exposing others. I must state that if it hadn’t been for him, the Municipal Board in Warsaw wouldn’t have been maintained, it would have been dissolved and there would have been a lot more casualties. Leist’s interventions, in many cases, saved Polish officials arrested by the Gestapo. He wasn’t in favor of closing off the Jews in the ghetto. Mainly because dividing the ghetto from the city was diminishing the city revenues, while Leist aimed to increase them. He couldn’t stop an order issued by Berlin though, which was to be executed by Fischer and the local Gestapo head. In a private conversation with Kulski and me, Leist said that Jews are human too, so he didn’t approve of the policies exercised against them. Similarly, he told us that he had never handed over or exposed anybody to the Gestapo. And it was true. If Leist considered repressive measures as necessary at any point, he issued salary reductions which usually didn’t have any result. Alternatively, he ordered Kulski to finger-wag his subordinates. Finally, in some cases, he would speak harshly and tell off people whom he considered responsible, maybe saving them from becoming a point of interest for the Gestapo. In the Blank Palace there were many Gestapo informants around him and he had to watch his back not to be accused of idleness. Such snitches were his oft-changing adjutants working in the room next to his. He also had to be careful with his deputies, undoubtedly engaged in SS or Gestapo operations. Thanks to his connections, Leist was promoted to SA – not SS – Brigadeführer. The Sturm Abteilung (SA) was an NSDAP members’ organization, who volunteered to join. Only the most trusted from the SA were accepted into the SS. Leist was proud of his title, which also enabled him to stay on the surface. It helped him when he intervened in matters regarding some of the Municipal Board officials. He saved mayor Kulski from getting arrested by the Gestapo three times. He got Kulski’s son, who was a member of the Armia Krajowa, which the Gestapo found out about, out of prison and saved his life. The major Nazi perpetrators, whom Leist had to respect, were his deputies Bacher and Dürrfeld, who did real harm to the Polish population.
Regarding Leist, I’m not sure whether he took any valuables belonging to the city. At least in front of me and Kulski he promised he wouldn’t take anything from the Blank Palace. Leist kept the belongings of his predecessor Dengel, which were supposed to be sent back to him in 18 chests. After a search, it turned out that among Dengel’s stuff there were a lot of things belonging to the city and taken from the Blank Palace.
Becher and Dürrfeld were Leist’s personal enemies. They are responsible for numerous casualties who died in public and secret executions as well as in concentration camps.
The report was read out.