Warsaw, 23 March 1945

Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes
in Warsaw

Testimony given by citizen Wacław Szczęsny, born on 18 June 1913, resident at Stolarska Street 9, flat 8

Concerns: treatment of Polish prisoners of war by the Germans.

On 17 September 1939, I was taken prisoner in Włodawa as a soldier of the Polish Army, and sent to provisional stalag no. 1a. During the transport, gendarmes would kill those who were weak and could not walk at a marching pace.

We were driven on foot for three days, without any food. We ate only what we were given by the civilian population. There were at least 4,800 soldiers and non-commissioned officers in the provisional camp. We slept in tents, on the ground – one hundred men to a tent. People died in large numbers of dysentery (more than half of those in the camp within two weeks); we received no medical assistance. Our only food was half a glass of soup made from rotten cabbage leaves and a kilogram of bread for five men. We were given this once every four days.

After two weeks we were shipped to Memel, where we slept in fenced enclosures, directly on the concrete. The hygienic conditions were terrible. We were forced to build roads, performing the hardest and most arduous tasks (a 10-hour work day) irrespective of the weather. Food: black coffee twice daily, a kilogram of bread for five men, and half a liter of rutabaga soup. The seriously ill, purportedly taken to hospitals, never returned to the camp. We were certain that they were executed.

Because of wounds sustained during the September Campaign, I was sent to hospital and avoided being killed by a sheer miracle. From there I was sent to Warsaw, for private treatment, and the medical board gave me an official certificate releasing me from the stalag.

I testify the truth. I have read the report before signing it.