Wawer, 6 November, 1945. Investigating judge Mikołaj Halfter interviewed 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 swore the witness in accordance with Art. 109 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
The witness testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Stanisław Piegat|
|Age||born on 26 September 1891|
|Names of parents||Stefan and Maria|
|Place of residence||Nowy Wawer, Widoczna Street 30|
|Occupation||owner of a hairdressing salon|
|Religious affiliation||Roman Catholic|
On 26 October 1939, around 7:00 p.m., a Polish policeman, Rozwadowski (from the police station in Wawer) and two German soldiers entered Bartoszek’s café, located on the same street as my salon (on the corner of Rubinowa and Widoczna streets) in order to check the papers of and arrest two bandits, notorious in our area, who were sitting in the café – Dąbek (living in the village of Zastów, Wawer county) and Prasuła. Having entered the café with Rozwadowski, the German soldiers demanded that Dąbek and Prasuła show their documents. They, however, took out their weapons instead and fired a number of shots at the soldiers. One was killed, the other was badly wounded and died soon after. When the bandits started shooting, Rozwadowski jumped out of the café and hid behind a house. Dąbek and Prasuła escaped.
I was told about all this by Rozwadowski (whose first name I don’t know), whom I know personally. Rozwadowski said that that day, or a few days before, Dąbek and Prasuła had supposedly killed a Polish policeman in Otwock or Świder. The case was being investigated and they were being pursued. So when the police received information that Dąbek and Prasuła had come to Wawer and were at Bartoszek’s café, the German authorities sent soldiers there to apprehend them.
Around 7:30-8:00 p.m. on the same day, the Germans started to stop passers-by on the streets, which I know because through the door I heard (I didn’t go outside myself) a woman with a child begging for her husbanded not to be seized. At 11:00 p.m., German soldiers came into my flat and searched my house and salon for weapons (my flat is next to my hairdressing salon). They didn’t find any weapons and left. I went to bed.
Around 1:30 a.m., the Germans started banging on the door of my flat. When I opened, they wanted me to immediately go outside with them, although I was only in my underwear. I managed to go back to my room where, being asked to, I turned off the light. They made a detailed inspection of my flat again, but found nothing. Then they told the men to get dressed (my associate, Michał Wieszczycik was living at my place at the time; my neighbor Barzyczak – deceased in spring 1945, I don’t remember his first name anymore – was also there) and go outside, where we had to stand under escort. Then the Germans brought other men from the flat on the first floor of our house and led us all to the Wawer narrow-gauge railway station, where we were placed in front of a wall. They brought other men there and after some time they led all of the arrested into the tunnel, where they placed us along the wall again.
After some time, we were led out of there and onto II Poprzeczna Street in Anin, where we stood on the street by the headquarters of the German garrison in Anin. It was located at II Poprzeczna Street 3 in Anin. A group of Poles was standing there, maybe 200 people. We were guarded by German soldiers. It was around 20 degrees below zero. Three people would be taken from the group at a time to the HQ. I was among the last three, so I stood there for a very long time.
I cannot say how much time had passed before I was led into the HQ. When I was brought in together with two others, I saw a dozen officers, non-commissioned officers, and soldiers in the room. Some of them were seated, some were standing. There were officers of the HQ and Gestapo among them. The commander of the Anin garrison was also there, his name, as I was told, was Stephan or Stephen. I was examined by a Gestapo man who spoke very good Polish. I was asked how old I was, and about my name and surname. I was not asked about anything else.
I remember that they also asked me if I was a Pole. I answered “yes” to that. They didn’t ask about anything else and told me to leave.
I would like to note that there were a few steps leading up to the porch at the entrance to the HQ. When people were going in, soldiers posted on both sides of the way to the porch and stairs didn’t touch those going in, but they beat with clubs, fists and kicked every Pole coming out of the HQ. I had seen this before I entered the HQ, so when I was told to go outside, I was ready to be beaten and so tried to get through the row of soldiers and into the yard as fast as possible. However, one soldier managed to punch me in the teeth with his fist, so that he cut my lip. There was snow on the step to the porch, so I slipped down the stairs.
In the yard, I joined a group of men who were standing. There, a soldier hit me on the back with a bat because he thought I wasn’t standing properly. I stood in that group, there were over 100 people there. I waited with them for around an hour. I didn’t see Bartoszek, the restaurant owner. During that hour, the soldiers guarding us aimed at us several times, so we thought they would start executing us.
After about an hour of waiting in this fashion, a “major” – as I was told – and a non- commissioned officer came out of the HQ (I saw this in the light falling through the window) and then the officer initially said something in German, which I didn’t understand because I don’t speak this language, and then the non-commissioned officer said in Polish that “for killing two German soldiers you are all sentenced to death.” There were cries from the crowd, asking for a change of the sentence, because we were innocent, had wives and children. The officer didn’t say anything in reply and went back into the HQ. Right after, ten people were counted from our group. I was among the first ten, along with Wieszczycik. The soldiers surrounded us, led us out to II Poprzeczna Street and led us through the wood to the corner of Widoczna and Rubinowa streets, where they stopped us, lighting Bartoszek’s café with a headlight. I noticed at that point that Bartoszek was hanging in the doorway of the café from an antenna wire. After five minutes, they led us into an empty yard, where the cross is now. There we were arranged in a row, told to take off our hats and to kneel. Wieszczycik stood next to me. We said goodbye to each other and started praying. It was dark outside at the time. We were being lit by a car headlight.
When at a certain moment I heard shots from a machine gun and saw my neighbor Wieszczycik fall forwards, I fell too, face to the ground. I heard rustling on both sides. After a moment, I realized – breathing deeply – that nothing had hurt me. However, I didn’t move and kept lying down calmly. After a while I heard single shots. I realized that someone was walking, killing the wounded who had survived. I could see out of the corner of my eye that he was walking towards the man lying next to me and fired a shot. This neighbor was still moving at that moment. When the German approached me, lit me and looked into my face, I stopped breathing. He watched me for a very long time, as it seemed to me, because he looked from different sides. He then walked away and inspected my neighbor Wieszczycik. He, however, was already dead at the time. The German didn’t shoot him again. Coming back, the German approached me again, lit me up again and kept watching if I was moving. I, however, was lying motionless.
I have to add that as we were being led into the yard, the next ten were already brought in and they waited next to us. I heard that they were shot at from a machine gun next. Both we and they kneeled facing towards Zastów. Every couple of minutes, I heard a series of a machine gun shots, and single shots in between. This went on for some two hours. Throughout all of this time, I lay without moving. When they stopped shooting, I was considering what to do, and at a certain moment I heard the sound of the car engines and of movement: the Germans were walking around and calling to each other. Later I heard cars driving off. After a while, when it was totally silent, I carefully lifted my head and realized that there were no Germans around. At a certain moment I jumped up and immediately turned in the direction where the machine gun had stood. There were no Germans in the yard. I only saw my Polish neighbor, Bolesław Lessman, who resides on Błękitna Steet in his own house. As I later learned from him and from my neighbor Feliks Stryjewski (residing in the same house as me), the Germans spared the lives of the last ten sentenced to death, ordering them to bury those executed by 12:00, on pain of death if they didn’t manage within the given time.
Lessman told me “run for your life,” so I took my hat and ran, dodging, towards my house. I didn’t go into my flat, however, but into my neighbor’s, Majer Dukowski’s (he was later taken by the Germans to the ghetto, where he supposedly perished). I warmed up at his place with a cup of tea, because I had frozen fingers, as I had been lying in the cold for a long time. Later, I went home and then to the village mayor, Kazimierz Rawicki, to hide at his place. I spent the night there and the next day at 12:00 I left for Warsaw on a train. I lived in Warsaw for a couple of days or for two weeks at my sister-in-law’s, and then returned home.
The executed were buried in the yard. I counted the graves. I think there were 111 of them there, but I’m not sure if I am giving the exact number, maybe I am mistaken, maybe in reality there were fewer. In May 1940, those executed were exhumed; some of the corpses were transported to Warsaw, and some to a cemetery by the monastery in Glinki. I think that around 70 of the executed were buried there.
A resident of Marysin Wawerski, Wasilewski, who apparently still lives there in his own house, by the barrier at the railway crossing, on the corner of Mazurska and Sportowa streets, also luckily survived the execution. He was severely wounded. I don’t know the details of how he managed to survive. His wife has a café in their house. He doesn’t live with his wife.
I also heard that Gawryszewski, a resident of Zbytki or Zastów village, also managed to avoid death during the execution.
I would like to add that when I returned to Wawer from Warsaw around 10 January 1940 and started working in my salon again, roughly a week later Polish policemen warned me that the Germans were looking for any Poles who had survived the execution of 27 December 1939. I escaped to Warsaw, where I remained in hiding for two months. Later, I returned home when I learned that the firing squad of the gendarmerie or Gestapo had left Wawer.
The report was read out.
Warsaw, 6 November 1945. Investigating Judge Mikołaj Halfter arrived at the Wawer Nowy estate, where, accompanied by the witness Stanisław Piegat, he inspected the area where an execution of Poles had taken place on 27 December 1939, the house where Bartoszek’s café was located, and the place (over the entrance to the café) where on 27 December 1939, Bartoszek was hanged by the Germans, as well as the site of the execution indicated to the judge by witness Piegat. A situation plan of the inspected site was drafted, which is an attachment to this report.
“K.P.” - cross-statue, funded by the Polish Army in 1945, as stated by the inscription on the cross.
At the moment of the inspection none of the fences that were there at the time of the execution in 1939 were found (in the vicinity of the execution site). According to the information provided by witness Piegat, they were removed after 1939.