To the Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Warsaw
concerning: Dr. Krug
I would like to present some comments to the District Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Warsaw, which I prepared after discussing the testimonies by Dr. Krug that I was sent with a few colleagues of mine, particularly with Stanisław Szteyner (MA) and T. Kijeński (MA). First, however, I would like to provide the Commission with a brief description of the defendant, whom we had a chance to observe for three years. In short, he can be characterized as a superficial and stupid bureaucrat, who cares a great deal for external form, and who unexpectedly climbed the social ladder when he, an employee of a provincial German Chamber of Crafts [Izba Rzemieślnicza], was appointed head of the Central Industrial Economy Group [Grupa Główna Gospodarki Przemysłowej]. The appointment went to his head.
Dr. Krug, who often walked around the Chamber building – which was furnished in a very modern style and equipped with the latest office devices – simply reveled in his position. We took advantage of his attitude, which enabled us to obtain positive results both for the economy and for the Polish personnel of the Chamber, which I will describe below. Dr. Krug was an insincere man because it was impossible to know what his real attitude was, towards both a given matter and the person he was talking to. For this reason, he was strongly disliked not only by the Polish but also by the German personnel of the Chamber. For example, in the morning he discussed plans for further activities with German director Winkler (who was famous for beating a Polish clerk, Irena Szperman), while in the afternoon of the same day director Winkler received an order from the military authorities to immediately (in the evening) go to the front line, which was the result of a categorical demand made by Dr. Krug some time before that. On another occasion, a German official – an Olympic champion and erotomaniac – who became convinced during a conversation with Dr. Krug that he was acquitted of all charges, after returning to his office was immediately (within an hour) sent by the Gestapo to the Reich – also at the explicit request of Dr. Krug. That is why, due to the insincerity of the defendant, his role in the execution of a former employee of the Chamber, Witold Szyfter, has not been explained. I will refer to this matter later on, while discussing the personnel policy followed by the defendant in the Chamber.
The First Commissioner of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry [Izba Przemysłowo- Handlowa], Attorney Gerhard Kowala (a graduate of the University of Kraków), in a way continued the previous policy of the Chamber, introducing only those changes regarding which he received clear instructions. What is more, with the exception of his personal correspondence and the certificates he issued, he decided to continue using both Polish Chamber forms and the Polish language in all letters sent from the Chamber, which were still signed, without his supervision of any kind, by the Polish management and the incumbent vice-president of the Chamber, B. Herse. When Dr. Krug assumed his position and was to transform the Chamber into the Central Group, the German personnel consisted of three people – while there were 120 Polish employees.
Initially, Dr. Krug received assistance from the existing Chamber’s directors. He appointed them to joint conferences with the German office manager (Hauptgeschäftsführer) and German department managers, engaged one by one. However, with time, Polish directors were dismissed from work or degraded to the positions of managers of “subject groups.” German became the official language, also in the internal work environment; Polish was only allowed when serving Polish clients personally, and it was accepted for some time in writing in the form of translation, but finally Dr. Krug decided to forbid the use of Polish in writing once and for all, even though it negatively influenced the results of our work. On the day before the outbreak of the uprising, the German personnel consisted of about sixty people, while the Polish personnel of the entire Central Group, that is, the Chamber of Crafts and the trade and service associations incorporated into the Group – was 340 people.
During the time when Dr. Krug ran the Central Group, he often repeated that the group was at the stage of being organized. It should be noted that the main concern and point of interest of the Group was almost exclusively to collect contributions from industrial and trade companies. As for organizational work in the field of industry and trade, that “organization” mainly involved exporting raw materials, especially iron, which was combined with the dismantling of machines and buildings. As far as trade is concerned, it was about “clearing industries,” which resulted in the closing of existing Polish enterprises. Issues such as organizing or transferring German industrial and trade establishments, and taking them away from Polish owners as part of an aid campaign for invalids and veterans, etc., were secondary. The distribution of modest quantities of raw materials or semi-finished products was even more secondary. At the same time, bribes played a huge role, while control over production and sales was scarce and was usually implemented only in cases of clear denouncements.
In the field of financial administration of the Central Group, we managed to prevent transfers of excessive amounts of money, robbed from those contributing to the Polish economy, to the Reich. By taking advantage of the delight Dr. Krug was taking in his own position, which I have mentioned, the Polish management managed to convince him that it was necessary to make new investments, in the fields of construction and inventory, in the huge building of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Warsaw at Senacka Street 3 (currently the seat of the Central Planning Office [Centralny Urząd Planowania]), stimulating his ambition to create a model office. The Polish management wanted to have a model office for when the country was liberated. Unfortunately, their plans did not yield the desired results due to the outbreak of the uprising, the destruction of a part of the building during the fighting, and the looting of the rest of the equipment when Warsaw was being burned down by the Germans. Some of the most important investments made during the occupation are the following:
1. The entire building was renovated twice from the outside to remove traces of the military operations of 1939. The renovation was carried out in a luxurious manner by a Polish company of Tadeusz Czosnowski, using precious coating and sandstone. The works were supervised by the person who had built the Chamber building, architect Mączeński, who was also rewarded for his work.
2. A second sculpture was added to the facade of the building, according to models by Below, a sculptor murdered by the Germans in 1939. The works were carried out by a crew supervised by the widow of the murdered sculptor.
3. The inside of the building was completely renovated twice by a Polish construction contractor, Wasilewski, and a carpenter contractor, Durczak.
4. A part of the exhibition hall was reconstructed to prepare a spacious and comfortable room for the Chamber library, headed by the current president of the Supreme Audit Office [Najwyższa Izba Kontroli], Dr. H. Kołodziejski. Since the library could be accessed by separate stairs, which were not guarded by SA guards, Dr. Kołodziejski’s office became a meeting point for underground activists, and the library was used for similar purposes. The construction works were carried out by the people mentioned in the previous point.
5. A kitchen stove was built (by stove-fitter Lipiński) and the rooms on the lower first floor were converted into a spacious canteen for the Polish personnel, with the participation of artists/architects.
6. A bathtub and a shower were installed next to the janitors’ apartments; this facility was also used by the office personnel.
7. About thirty typewriters were purchased.
8. A machine of the latest type (Rotaprint) with metal printing plates was bought.
9. A large photocopying machine was purchased (a number of works for underground organizations were made using that machine).
10. A large number of pre-war works were purchased – in addition to almost all available war publications for the Chamber’s library.
The above list of investments indicates that almost all surpluses were successfully spent on the spot, often contrary to clear regulations by the occupier, for example, the regulations concerning the ban on construction works or long-term savings. It should be pointed out that most of the expenses involved a certain risk – we did it without a prior approval of the German authorities, because we were counting on our diplomacy and the ambition of Dr. Krug, who had no clue about the situation.
Three days before the outbreak of the uprising, Dr. Krug and three other officials went by one of the three cars belonging to the Central Group, which they managed to start (on the eve of the uprising, chauffeur Rynkiewicz had immobilized the cars and hid himself), to the Bank of Issue, as far as we know, to withdraw all the money from the Central Group’s account. It seems, however, that it was impossible to withdraw all the money and they only managed to transfer the money from all the accounts to an account in the Reich, or perhaps to the Sochaczew branch of the Bank of Issue. There were considerable funds in the Group’s account because we had just received a subsidy for August salaries and expenses. We were not able to determine the details concerning the amount of payments because during the rebellion of German generals (around 20 July), Polish personnel were no longer responsible for bookkeeping and for the Group’s funds. In any case, it can be assumed that Dr. Krug did not squander the Central Group’s funds for his own purposes.
As for the transfer of movable property of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the testimony of Dr. Krug generally reflects the actual situation. Out of 120 typewriters, the Polish personnel managed to hide about forty in various corners of the building; waste paper, bricks, and wood were put inside many boxes in which the typewriters were to be packed. The box allegedly containing ledgers was 90 percent filled with waste paper. Director Huber took only all the check books, recent cash reports and clearance receipts, as a result of which, at the last moment, around 28 July, the Germans discovered that the bookkeepers had concealed about 100,000 zlotys, which were kept by three Polish employees as the “share capital” of a future and revived Chamber of Industry and Commerce. As a result of that discovery, several employees of the Chamber were detained by director Huber as hostages, while the Gestapo, according to director Huber, started a search for T. Kijeński. The search did not bring any results and the hostages were released for fear of repressive measures by the underground organization. Unfortunately, due to the events connected with the outbreak of the uprising and military operations, the deposit kept by the Chamber’s personnel failed to meet its original purpose. Out of necessity, the money was spent on expenses related to the uprising, evacuation, and assistance for the Chamber’s personnel, both on food and, for example, funerals. The personnel members who kept certain amounts of money did their best to account for the expenses to the President of the Chamber or members of the authorities.
It should be pointed out that underground organizations, in different periods, ordered several people from the German personnel to go to the Reich, threatening them with the death penalty. As far as we know, Dr. Krug never received such orders, for unknown reasons. Nevertheless, he lived in constant fear and, for example, he gave an order to remove the door handle from his office, so every visitor had to be let in.
In his testimony, Dr. Krug did not mention that the Chamber’s movable property was transferred, but, as far as I know, carpets from the office belonging to the President of the Chamber, occupied by Dr. Krug, were prepared for transport on the day before the uprising. We do not know what happened to them, but they were probably transported out of the country. It should be mentioned that in 1943 Dr. Krug received, for representational purposes, a set of china previously belonging to Jews. At the request of Dr. Krug and under his supervision, that set was packed in a box by caretaker Galiński and chauffeur Rynkiewicz, and sent to the Reich to Kaiserslautern, to the apartment of Dr. Krug.
A very characteristic detail of Dr. Krug’s activities as the head of the Central Group is the following event, which indicates that, contrary to what he writes in his testimony, he was interested only in the superficial and bureaucratic part of his duties, that he did not really care about the wellbeing of the institution. Namely, as a result of the fact that merchant organizations merged with the former Chamber, and that, among others, the Merchants’ Association of the Capital City of Warsaw was incorporated into the Central Group, the wonderfully equipped buildings of the schools of the Merchants’ Association at Prosta Street also became a “property” of the Central Group. In the pre-war period, the value of the buildings was estimated at many millions. When the ghetto was to be burned down, the representatives of the association asked Pacyński, who was at the time the oldest Polish official in the Trade Group [Grupa Handel], to save at least the teaching aids and precious collections kept in the school building. Franciszek Pacyński and his deputy (I believe it was Dr. Rathie at that time) asked Dr. Krug to intervene and convince the Gestapo to burn the schools at least two or three days later, so that it would be possible to recover the most valuable collections of books, typewriters, precision scales of immense value, etc. Dr. Krug categorically refused twice to intervene in any way, declaring that “those gentlemen from the Gestapo can hold it against us if we interfere in their matters.” It did not help that we argued Dr. Krug as being the potential “owner” of the school buildings and their valuable content, and that we pointed out that he might be held responsible for not attempting to save the Group from destruction. Due to Dr. Krug’s categorical stance, clearly inconsistent with his duties as the head of a serious institution, Dr. Rathie called the Gestapo on his own and obtained permission to enter the ghetto and talk to General Stroop. General Stroop declared that he was able to stop the flamethrower from burning the building for only 15 minutes. Understandably, in this situation, Franciszek Pacyński, who talked to him, decided not to recover anything, because if he had accepted such a proposal, the SS would then have undoubtedly used the argument that they helped to protect “cultural values” from destruction.
While discussing the activities of the Central Group, Dr. Krug mentions that we took care of the supplies and safety of Polish workers, granting them special rights. Taking care of supplies was limited to distributing food stamps, which, as we all know, guaranteed food rations that were not enough for a month, but only for a few days. Once, when the Polish personnel told Dr. Krug that the calorie content of food rations was insufficient, he personally checked whether the rations announced for the current month were in line with the standards set out in the circular letter by the “General Government authorities,” and he said that everything was in order because the rations were in line with the regulations by the authorities. We received a similar answer when we wanted to ask for a pay rise for Poles. Dr. Krug checked if the pay we mentioned, which was far below the subsistence minimum, was in line with the regulations and – having confirmed it was adequate – he considered the case closed.
On the initiative of the Polish personnel and as a result of long-term efforts, managers of individual groups issued identity cards for laborers and workers of companies, which could be used to demand a variety of special “benefits in kind.” However, the issuing of the IDs was constantly being limited. In the last week of July, after 100,000 people were summoned to work and dig trenches near Warsaw, individual group managers, in accordance with the instructions by Dr. Krug, refused to stamp identity cards for the next month. As a result, the identity cards were stamped secretly (and selflessly) by the Polish personnel, who had acquired, of course illegally, a round official seal of the Central Group.
In his testimony, Dr. Krug mentions his own activities only as the head of the Central Group. Meanwhile, we believe it can be assumed that in 1944, in the last months before the uprising, Dr. Krug was assigned a special and responsible mission, because he became the chairman of some committee which had been established at that time – his title was Sonderbeauftragte des Reichsleiters für... (Specially Authorized Delegate of the Reich Minister responsible for...). That mission was supposed to be confidential and the meetings were held in the afternoon in Dr. Krug’s office in the Chamber. Allegedly, due to his position in that commission, Dr. Krug reported directly to some authority in the Reich, but he was completely independent from both Frank and Fischer. I do not know any further details regarding this case, but that appointment and secret mission really strengthened Dr. Krug’s reputation among the Germans.
In concluding the evaluation of Dr. Krug’s economic activities, it should also be mentioned that in the period of street roundups, he categorically refused to intervene in the case of merchants who had been taken to the Gestapo station at Szucha Avenue, even though they had identity cards issued by the Central Group, so their arrest was contrary to the agreement with the security authorities. This refusal was clear evidence of Dr. Krug’s ill will, because an intervention carried out by a young German clerk of the Trade Group (unfortunately, I do not remember his name; he was a former police officer from Vienna and he had a lung disease), on his own responsibility (it did not cause any problems), was 100 percent successful. That transaction was “sealed” by the merchants with a leather briefcase, a set of underwear, civilian clothes, and a few bottles of wine...
As for the activities of Dr. Krug as the superior of the Polish personnel, it must be stated that in external relations he was able to keep up appearances of courtesy and forbearance. Sometimes we simply had the impression that, as far as money or bookkeeping was concerned, Dr. Krug left it all to the Polish personnel deliberately. He believed that, since severe sanctions, including a Gestapo intervention, could be applied in case of any inaccuracies, the Polish personnel would fulfill their duties better than the German personnel, who considered the General Government to be an area of exploitation and a place to get rich. However, sensing the integrity of the Polish personnel, Dr. Krug tried to break us down several times, dismissing a dozen or so people, always allegedly by order from Kraków, which did not prevent the German director from soon employing new people, whose Polishness and qualifications (among others, a cabaret dancer and a street girl) left a lot to be desired. Among other groups in the General Government, there were no such purges.
It should be noted that the pre-war Chamber personnel, in accordance with the German labor market regulations, was not able to quit the workplace without permission, so every dismissal application had to be justified with the inability to work. In any case, employees were at risk of being made available to the Arbeitsamt. I should also add that many of the Chamber senior employees received a clear order from the Government Delegation to remain in their positions as long as possible.
We managed to partly sabotage the orders of Dr. Krug concerning the dismissal of Polish personnel: if there was a predetermined number of people to be dismissed, we suggested names of people who wished to quit their poorly paid and onerous jobs in the Central Group, which was bringing them only a short-term benefit in the form a relatively “strong” identity card, which was generally honored during roundups. Dr. Krug always emphasized that all dismissed employees should be reported to the Arbeitsamt. He explained that he simply cared for them and, after being ordered by his superiors to dismiss some of the Chamber personnel, he wanted to provide them with a quicker employment and a “useful place of work.” Indeed, suitable forms for the Arbeitsamt, notifying about dismissals, were meticulously filled out and copied, but the sending was limited to stamping copies of the letters with a stamp which said “sent on...”, and the originals signed by Dr. Krug or Director Huber were destroyed. A secret letter written by Director Huber to the Labor Office, at the express request of Dr. Krug, concerning a dismissed clerk, Mrs. Karaszkiewicz, who he recommended to be sent to work in Germany, where she would “learn how to work,” met a similar fate. Director Hubert told his German secretary to sent that letter personally, but she considered it appropriate to take it to the Polish personnel office as a letter “to be sent.” The validity of the identity cards of dismissed employees was extended, if they asked for it. Of course, we did it illegally by forging the signature of Dr. Krug or Director Huber and stamping the cards with a fake stamp.
Dr. Krug’s “concern” for the Polish personnel was limited to providing additional food stamps and, from time to time, signing applications for additional rations of textiles, shoes, or potatoes, and – once a lot of formalities had been fulfilled – to granting loans, payable by installments, equivalent to a monthly salary, which was usually equal to the “staggering amount” of about 350 zlotys. Canteen rations were constantly being reduced. In 1943, the personnel were ordered to pay half of the cost, and then they had to pay for the entire ration. Dr. Krug also categorically opposed any additional purchases of lard and fat, which was done at her own risk by a German clerk, a Czech woman named Kukuczka, who was in charge of the kitchen. Because of Dr. Krug, the Chamber’s employee cooperative, which significantly contributed to the provision of additional food items for the personnel, was almost completely liquidated. The reason for Dr. Krug’s decision was the accusation that the cooperative charged higher prices than the official ones for butter and cold meats, which were of course bought on the black market. Finally, in July 1944, Dr. Krug granted our last rations of canned meat and butter not to the Polish but to the German personnel, and only thanks to a speedy allocation did we manage to distribute some of the canned meat.
As for any interventions with the German authorities in defense of Polish personnel, Dr. Krug was completely against it. For example, when the criminal police (wrongly) arrested the Polish head of the department, Smoleński, Dr. Krug forbade any intervention. A German official named Swierczyński investigated the case on his own responsibility. Friends and colleagues of manager Smoleński paid the Kriminalpolizei 8 thousand zlotys for his release, but soon afterwards he was dismissed from work at the Central Group. Dr. Krug also refused to intervene in the case of two Chamber’s janitors, the brothers Konstanty and Tadeusz Witt, who had been arrested during a street roundup. The only person who intervened, at his own risk, was Swierczyński, whom I have mentioned above, but to no avail. According to what we heard, the Witt brothers worked for some time in the ghetto where they build barracks, or – as some people said – death chambers, and then they were shot dead. Besides, as far as the Polish personnel were concerned, Dr. Krug refused to intervene even in cases that did not involve arrest, such as housing or employment matters. When a clerk named Korolkiewicz was summoned to report, probably by mistake, and was to be sent to the Reich for work, Dr. Krug refused even to issue a certificate that Korolkiewicz was still employed and needed at the Central Group. Such a certificate was issued by the then deputy of Dr. Krug, Dr. Rathie, who had been informed of Dr. Krug’s refusal, and we had no trouble clarifying the matter with the Arbeitsamt.
Finally, Dr. Krug’s role in the death of an employee of the Chamber, Witold Szyfter, is still unclear. Szyfter was to get married and was furnishing his apartment, so he wanted to have a telephone installed right away, but in order to do so he needed to pay a high bribe or provide an official letter from an institution. Szyfter prepared such a letter, but, since his superior, Pulec, and Dr. Krug were absent, and he needed to submit the letter immediately, he signed the letter, stamped it with the official stamp, and sent it to the German telephone administration. He had the telephone installed, but, after some time, the German post office started doubting the authenticity of the certificate issued by the Central Group, and sent it to the Group’s management for verification. Witold Szyfter was immediately dismissed from work, but he soon found a new job at a factory producing batteries for flashlights, thanks to which the Central Group started receiving battery rations, both for the Polish and German personnel. German secretaries from Dr. Krug’s office heard that immediately after Witold Szyfter’s dismissal Dr. Krug described his deed as a “falsification of an official document.” He utterly condemned his behavior, stating he could not condone it, and then he made two phone calls. All of a sudden, Szyfter and his wife were arrested and executed by shooting – Witold Szyfter was executed publicly, which had been announced on posters. People agreed then that the arrest of Witold Szyfter had something to do with Dr. Krug’s intervention.
It would be advisable to interrogate the brother of the late Witold, Henryk Szyfter, who is currently in Warsaw and who was also employed at the Central Group.
To conclude the above remarks concerning the activities of Dr. Krug as the head of the Central Group, I would like to add a small detail, which perfectly characterizes the mentality of the man who, after all, held a very high and responsible position. When the newspapers announced a regulation concerning some changes in employment in the Reich, Dr. Krug wanted to immediately introduce them in the institutions he was in charge of. When a member of the Polish personnel remarked that, according to the clear wording of the regulation, it was valid only in the Reich, Dr. Krug declared that the General Government was already a part of the Reich. We asked him, emphasizing the importance of that fact, to indicate the relevant legal act, and he stated, “The great Germany is not bound by obsolete (uralte) forms. The fact that the Führer has allowed the General Government to depict him on our postage stamps, which apart from the word Generalgouvernement also have the word Grossdeutschesreichit written on them, is also a legal act, and the General Government is unquestionably a part of the Reich.” I believe that statements of such kind need no comment.
Warsaw, Flory Street 3