Warsaw, 24 April 1946. Investigating Judge Halina Wereńko, delegated to the Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes, heard 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 an oath therefrom, following which the witness testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Włodzimierz Ludwik Janczewski|
|Parents’ names||Leonard and Wanda|
|Date of birth||21 March 1891 in Płock|
|Occupation||office worker at the Treasury Ministry|
|Place of residence||Warsaw, Wileńska Street 65, flat 18 (Praga)|
During the German occupation I worked at the Inland Revenue Office in the Courts Building at Leszno Street, while I lived at Sienna Street 93. I lived together with my son, Witold Karol Janczewski (born on 10 May 1920), who during the German occupation studied medicine at Doctor Zaorski’s school. My son had graduated from secondary school in 1938, whereafter he attended and completed the officer cadet school in Zegrze, and subsequently took part in the war against the Germans, fighting in the “Augustowska” cavalry brigade; in the course of combat he was promoted to Second Lieutenant in the Signal Corps. In 1943, he was a second-year student of medicine.
Around 1940, he became involved in an underground organization that had as its objective fighting the Germans. This was a military organization, but I do not know any details concerning its activities.
On 16 February 1943, at around 1.00 p.m., my son met with his friend, Zbigniew Kryś (who traded in gold and through whom my son wanted to sell a ring), and also with other friends, in the coffee shop at Wilcza Street 67. Kryś told him that he had already made a call and was expecting the buyers for the ring to arrive at any moment. After a while, two Gestapo informers – men of Polish descent – entered the coffee shop. One of them, by the surname of Pilnik (resident at Pierackiego Street 17), was shot dead in 1943 by our underground organization. Both informers were behaving like traders and haggled over the ring. Kryś turned to my son and asked that he go with them to the jeweler’s shop as a witness to the valuation of the ring, whereupon my son, Kryś, and the two informers left in a cab; only the latter were ever seen again.
I learned about this incident from friends of my son who had been present in the coffee shop. I searched for him at various police stations and at the Gestapo, but in vain. A week later, however, a friend of my son’s recognized Pilnik in the street, tracked down his address and determined that he was a Gestapo informer.
The investigation into the disappearance of my son was led by an agent of the Investigative Bureau, one Czesław Osiński. Osiński officially summoned Pilnik, who testified that he and a friend had wanted to buy a ring from the son of another friend, but along the way all of them were arrested by the Gestapo; Pilnik and his friend were freed, while my son and Kryś were detained. The next day Osiński went to the Gestapo (aleja Szucha 25), where in room no. 240 he saw Pilnik sitting behind a desk – visibly disconcerted by the fact that it had transpired that he was a Gestapo informer. He explained to Osiński that my son’s case had been assigned to Stromberg, a Gestapo man from Breslau (a stout black-haired man), who worked in room no. 244. Osiński went to Stromberg, who responded to his question by stating that he had examined my son a few days earlier and had nothing against him. Kryś’s documents had not been in order. But – he said after due consideration – we let both of them go. After a while he inquired: – And who happens to be so interested in the case? Osiński explained that the parents, to which Stromberg responded in a threatening tone: – The parents should not involve themselves so, for I am certain that these young boys are already in the forest. At this the hearing was brought to a close, although Osiński recorded its course in the files of the Investigative Bureau. Some time later, I attempted to get information from the Gestapo in other ways. But Stromberg always responded to my interventions with the words that my son and Kryś had been released. In April 1943, therefore, I wrote to an inspector at the I Treasury Inspectorate in Warsaw, Hufsky, informing him of my son’s disappearance, and he in turn sent an official letter to the Gestapo, inquiring about my son’s fate. In consequence of his letter I myself was summoned to the Gestapo (aleja Szucha 25), to room 255. There was a Gestapo commissar there – he held the title of “doctor”, but at the moment I cannot remember his surname; the day before, he had examined Pilnik, and now it was my turn. After the examination the commissar declared that Pilnik had testified that my son and Kryś had been released from the Gestapo, but at the same time asked: – And what do you suppose happened to your son? I replied that my son could have been deported to Romania or Bulgaria as a laborer for the Todt Organization, since at the time the Germans were conducting round-ups for this specific purpose.
I would like to add that earlier, before receiving the summons, I had written to nine German concentration camps asking whether my son was among their inmates. Of these, six wrote back that they were not holding my son, while Oświęcim, Mauthausen and two other camps failed to respond. The commissar looked through the replies sent in by the camps and inquired whether perhaps my son had been taken to the camp in Łódź, for there were many young people there. I replied that I had not written to Łódź, and he ended the hearing with the statement that he would investigate the case and inform me and my superior of his findings. I received no further information from the Gestapo.
Osiński approached Pilnik one final time, meeting him at a party, however Pilnik once again assured him that my son and Kryś had been released.
Czesław Osiński currently lives in Targówek, at Piotra Skargi Street 6a, flat 1 – maybe he could shed some light on the case and provide more surnames of the Gestapo officers who worked at aleja Szucha 25. Aleksander Tyniszewicz (resident at Nowogrodzka Street, corner of Poznańska Street, Office for Requests and Applications) could also provide the surnames of some of the Gestapo men, for as a lawyer he visited the Gestapo building in matters concerning his clients.
I would like to stress that I have not received any information about either Kryś or my son to date.
The report was read out.