Warsaw, 13 July 1946. Judge Antoni Knoll, as the member of the Main Commission for theInvestigation of German Crimes in Poland, heard as a witness the person specified below. The witness testified as follows:
My name is Anna Grzelińska, I was born on 3 January 1910 in Mława, the daughter of Bronisław and Leokadia née Drecka; religious affiliation: Roman Catholic, occupation:
teacher, residing in Osieck in the Garwolin district, criminal record: none.
During the night of 10 October 1940 I was arrested in Warsaw by two Gestapo men who arrived with an interpreter. Both were in the Sichercheitspolizei uniforms. I was taken to Pawiak from Przybyszewskiego 8. I was placed in a cell for newcomers.
The following day, the same Gestapo men summoned me to an administrative office of the so-called Serbia [the female ward]. A few other officers of the Security Police, who were on duty in Pawiak, were also there. Among them was a Gestapo man called Felhaber, who supervised the prison as a representative of the Gestapo from aleja Szucha.
Felhaber was short and slender, had fair hair, big blue eyes and protruding ears. He was approximately 35 years old and had quick, nervous movements.
The so-called clerk of the case (one of the Gestapo men who had arrested me) was sitting at the table, and I was standing before him with an interpreter and one Gestapo man. The clerk took out a letter they had found in my purse. It was from my sister to my mother, and he began to question me on the basis of the letter, trying to prove that I was a member of the underground movement.
Seeing as I answered all his questions in the negative, he told me that he would try another method of interrogation. I was then led to an adjacent room, the office of the commander.
Suddenly they grabbed me from behind and threw me face down onto the desk. I saw Felhaber taking rubber batons out of the cupboard.
Three Gestapo men began to beat me about the whole body, but they stopped from time to time, then the clerk was asking me the same questions. As I answered in the negative, they would resume the beating. Questions and torturing alternated.
I find it difficult to tell how long it might have lasted.
I did not lose consciousness during the interrogation.
They did not manage to force any statements.
After the interrogation I was taken to the male prison, and along the way Felhaber was lashing me across the backs of my legs with a whip. I was placed in a single cell in the basement of the main building. A small window was covered with a metal sheet. The cell was shrouded in darkness. On a cement floor there was only a shabby bed made of wooden boards, without a mattress or a blanket. In addition, the cell was wet and cold.
I spent eight days in the dark cell. On the first night three Gestapo men, led by Felhaber, came to my cell. He began to interrogate me, asking the same questions as before. When I answered his first question in the negative he struck me so hard in the face that in a moment it was covered in blood. He struck me repeatedly, but as it did not induce me to say what they wanted to hear, Felhaber grabbed me by my clothes somewhere around my chest and began to beat me against the wall. At this the interrogation was over.
During the day Felhaber would come to my cell and explain that he was sorry to torture women, that he had a wife and knew that it was not right to beat a woman. He would urge me to plead guilty to the charges, so then he would not have to beat me again. On the following night he came to my cell, all alone, turned the light on, asked me whether I had changed my mind and threw me on the floor. He held my head between his knees and began to lash me along the spine with a whip.
I would like to emphasise that first he had pulled up my dress, so I was being beaten through only my shirt. This torture caused a throbbing in my head and I felt such a mad pain in my entire body that I wanted to writhe on the floor. I was literally wracked with pain.
When Felhaber had left the cell, the light went off; I barely managed to crawl to my bed and I dropped on it. That night I was tortured one more time. First the light was turned on, and then Felhaber came to my cell with two or three Gestapo men, derisively asking me why I had a swollen face and watery eyes. He ordered me to undress. I was standing thus and he was beating me about my naked body. When I tried to shift my position due to the enormous pain, they were yelling at me wildly and beating me even harder. This time they did not ask me any questions.
It was the worst torture of all that I went through, taking into account both physical and psychological exhaustion.
From that time on, the Gestapo men would still come to my cell at night, but they would only beat me about the face, push me against the wall etc. On the first night, Felhaber informed me that I was to be punished with starving. Since he was reading it out to me from some notes, I suspect that the decision had been made at aleja Szucha, and a few days later it was the chief investigator from the Gestapo who told me that the starving was over.
As a result of the torture, particularly of having been beaten on the face about the temples, when I left the prison the doctors diagnosed me with acute optic neuritis of both eyes and a permanent loss of vision in the left eye.
On the day following the night I had been beaten twice, I had a high temperature and I suffered from a loss of balance, so when I was walking or standing I had to hold on to walls or doors for support. A prison guard who kept guard by my cell told me that he had been forbidden to call a prison physician for me, or to provide me with any emergency aid – cotton wool or compresses – which he nevertheless did. The problem with balance went away only after two days.
Despite the night-time visits, the Gestapo man from aleja Szucha who had arrested me and who was in charge of the interrogation would come to me every second day. Then I would be brought to the administrative office and asked the same questions over and over again. I still did not plead guilty to the charges. Twice I was taken for interrogation to aleja Szucha, but they did not beat me there. One day the clerk in charge of the case came to my dark cell, and with his permission the window was uncovered and I got a mattress and some water to wash myself. He also gave permission for a prison meal to be brought to my cell. At the same time he threatened me that if I did not answer the questions he kept asking, he would implement even worse methods.
I was kept in the dark cell until 27 October 1940. Then they took me to the women’s prison and put me in a solitary cell, where I spent four months completely alone. I was so battered that my entire body was blue-black. My face was deformed and I had slash wounds from the whip.
I want to emphasise that the same torturers who were beating me so thoroughly took great care to restore me to my former condition, demanding that the medical services of the prison nurse me back to health directly. After four months I was moved to a common cell where I stayed until 3 April 1942.
My release from the prison was a result of strenuous efforts.
When I had left the prison, I was, at my own request, put under medical surveillance in the eye clinic of the Child Jesus Clinical Hospital. The physicians unanimously declared that my eye problem was the result of the bad conditions of my imprisonment, and some of them agreed that the loss of vision in my left eye resulted from a haemorrhage caused by beating about the temples. Besides, I was diagnosed with sclerosis desiminata, also resulting from the tortures, and the symptoms include permanent loss of balance, especially in the left leg. I submit the names of the physicians whom I consulted after my release from prison. Eye-specialists: professor Sobański, Noyszewska, Galewska; neurologist: professor Kuligowski.
At this the hearing was closed. The report was read out.