JANINA ZAKRZEWSKA

Warsaw, 19 January 1970. Assistant public prosecutor Zbigniew Grędziński, delegated to the District Commission for the Investigation of Nazi War Crimes in Warsaw, heard the person named below as a witness, without an oath. The witness, warned about the criminal liability for giving false testimony, testified as follows:


Name and surname Janina Zakrzewska
Parents’ names Jan and Józefa
Date and place of birth 1 July 1897, Rataje Sokołów, Gostynin county
Place of residence Warsaw, Targowa Street 82, flat 12
Occupation retired
Criminal record none
Relation to the parties none

During the occupation, I lived in Warsaw in Żerań, in the building at Modlińska Street 14. I remember that in the summer—probably 1941— on the first day in the early hours (it could have been 5 o’clock or 6 o’clock in the morning) some Nazis dressed in green German military uniforms, wearing steel helmets, brought five full trucks loaded with people near to the place where the Żerań power station currently stands. The people in the trucks were jammed in. There could have been around fifty or sixty people in each one. Then from a distance of five hundred meters or a little further, I saw these people being unloaded one after another from these cars. I saw men, women and small children. I personally witnessed many women holding small children by their hands, while others held some smaller children in their arms. I saw the Nazis lining these people up on the embankment where a pit had been dug. I also observed that when people were brought to the embankment and lined up, these people covered their eyes with their hands. I personally heard faint, indistinguishable cries. These cries or moans expressed despair or horror. After the Nazis had lined the people up on the embankment, I personally heard shots fired from machine guns, but at that moment I wasn’t looking at the execution anymore, because I was too distraught to look at this cruelty. However, at the time I had, and still have, no doubts that this was an execution. It was an extremely shocking picture.

When the people from one truck had been shot, the Nazis brought in the next truck loaded with people and they were shot in the same way. On the first day, people were unloaded in this way from five trucks, with fifty or sixty people in each one. So on the first day, a total of 250 to 300 people were murdered. I didn’t look at the next execution, I only heard shots and I saw people being transported in trucks. The picture was so terrifying that despite the passage of about thirty years I still remember it perfectly, and at the moment it is difficult to talk about it calmly.

I remember that the next day in the morning or around noon, some Nazis dressed in German military uniforms as described above brought four trucks loaded with people, with fifty or sixty people in each. These people, in the same way as on the previous day, were led to the embankment and shot. I personally saw four trucks loaded with people being transported on the second day and I also personally heard gunfire from the execution site. On the second day, however, I could look at this murder no longer.

Approximately 450 to 550 people were murdered during these two days.

At that time, the Nazis from the neighboring building took an older man named Michalski, who is now dead, and whom they ordered to bury the victims that they had murdered. Later, Michalski told me that the victims of this execution were Jews. Michalski told me that it was a terrifying sight, because there were many women and young children among them.

I don’t know which German unit the criminals belonged to, nor do I know their names. I also don’t know who could confirm the above-described circumstances.

I have read this report personally and I hereby sign it as being truthful.