Sixteenth day of the trial

Presiding Judge: – May I please see witnesses Kulski, Kipa, Skoczek, Brauny, Biejat, Dawidowski, Danielewicz, Iwanko, Jankowiak, Karolkiewicz, Szyfelbain, Kuryłowicz (called to the prime minister, absent), Falkońska, Moroz, and Kalinowski. All witnesses’ religious affiliation: Christian.

The Presiding Judge has advised the witnesses of the criminal liability for making false declarations and read the oath.

Edmund Biejat, 54, lawyer, residing in Warsaw at Poznańska Street 16, relationship to the parties: none.

Witness: – I worked in the city hall in the discipline office from 1926. During the occupation, I was director there. Its existence was based on the Decree on local government from 1919, and later, on the basis of the Act on the municipal government of the City of Warsaw from 16 August 1935. All city employees fell under the remit of the discipline office. This state lasted more or less until the second half of 1940. During this time, the defendant Leist issued a decree to the effect that employees of public utilities municipal utilities, gasworks, waterworks, sewerage etc. were removed from the authority of the discipline office. This state of limited competence lasted until the end of 1941. I think, until the end of November, to be exact. At this time, I don’t know why, the employees of these public utilities started to fall under the remit of the discipline office again. First, in January 1942, several dozen – about thirty – legal suits were brought against tram drivers. They were accused of not giving tickets to all passengers, whereas everyone paid for the ride. The discipline office received such cases. The first thing that surprised me was that there were no investigations at all, and there were reports signed with code-names: 01, 02, 03, 04, 05 – I think there were ten. I approached the Polish directorate of City Trams, that is, the City Transportation Office, headed by engineer Kozłowski, who was under German supervision, and asked him to disclose those who submitted such reports. Engineer Kozłowski turned to the German management and then difficulties began. They said that those who submitted those reports could not be disclosed and that a decision had to be made on that basis. I opposed this, so after communicating with Kulski, I said that in this situation we could not make any judgments. Then, after several days of talks, the informants, the authors of those reports, came and gave the appropriate testimonies. I received confidential information that the authors of the reports had not even revealed their personal data. So I ordered to check if the people who had presented themselves as witnesses really did exist and live at the indicated addresses. I received information from the Population Registration Office that there were no such persons at these addresses – they do not live there. Therefore, we disqualified the testimonies of these witnesses and dismissed the case where there was no evidence of guilt, except when the accused pleaded guilty. When I told President Kulski about it, he said that it wouldn’t be over so easily. After a few days, Szczesniewski, the late director of the personnel office, told me that defendant Leist’s office – I do not know whether him or his assistants – had asked for a list of employees of the personnel office. And such a list was sent. About two weeks later, Leist issued an ordinance stating that all matters pertaining to employees of public utilities were removed from the authority of the discipline office. It seemed that at that, the whole incident would be over. Meanwhile, on the night from 28 February to 1 March 1942, all the discipline spokesmen, myself and my deputy, and attorney Skoczyński, were arrested. Some people avoided arrest because, for example, they were not at home. One of the spokesmen, Domański, also did not sleep at home that day, so he avoided arrest; and spokesman Bielski was left, as it turned out later, by mistake. The fates of those arrested differed. I was lucky to get out. The Blue Police [Polish police during the Second World War in German-occupied Poland] arrested me as a result of a phonogram received from the German police. I saw this phonogram when I was with the police. I managed to get released from the police station.

Presiding Judge: – Was there any interrogation?

Witness: – There were no interrogations.

Presiding Judge: – Did they give the reason for the arrest?

Witness: – No, I found it out later. Through friends, I turned to a German attorney in Warsaw and he said that everyone has been sentenced by a police court to a stay in Treblinka [concentration camp] for sabotage, acting against German interests, and persuading witnesses to give false testimony.

Presiding Judge: – Do you know what role Stadthauptmann Leist had in arresting you?

Witness: – I cannot say that. I heard from the German attorney that a sentence had been passed by the police. Petsch, the commandant of the Order Police, was the one who passed the sentence.

Presiding Judge: – From your point of view, you do not blame Leist in this case?

Witness: – No, I cannot say that he directly issued the ordinance.

Judge Rybczyński: – How did Petsch pass this sentence? Did you find out who wrote this report or information?

Witness: – I have already said that a few weeks earlier Leist had asked for a list of the entire personnel office staff and it had been sent.

Judge Grudziński: – How much time passed between returning employee matters to the municipal discipline spokesman and the tram drivers case?

Witness: – The case concerning employees of public institutions was returned at the beginning of December 1941, and the case of the tram drivers was filed with us in mid- January 1942.

Judge Grudziński: – So it was about six weeks?

Witness: – Yes.

Judge Grudziński: – During the period when employees of public enterprises were not subject to the discipline office, who oversaw them?

Witness: – They reported directly to their superior at that point. There was a department, a Dezernat [German department], headed by a man named Dürfel. He reported to Leist.

Terrible things happened in this department. When, as a result of an anonymous accusation, a tram driver was caught for some so-called abuse, they pulled off his uniform and carried him away only in his underwear. That is, they fired him, took his uniform, and deported him.

Judge Grudziński: – So this was a disciplinary procedure?

Witness: – Yes.

Judge Grudziński: – Who signed this ordinance on excluding t ram drivers from normal disciplinary jurisdiction?

Witness: – Leist did.

Judge Grudziński: – What was the procedure followed by the German discipline court?

Witness: – I don’t know.

Judge Grudziński: – I mean the procedure, did anyone approve it?

Witness: – I don’t know. I only saw a tram driver come to us, I was surprised that he came with his wife and brought his things. So I asked, what does it mean, who do they take us for? They said that when someone had a case, they would take his uniform and deport him.

Judge Grudziński: – Did the German authorities interfere with the procedure in the discipline office?

Witness: – No, they did not interfere at all. It’s probable that they only did so when they had information on some matter. Unfortunately, there were situations when someone complained about us. Then, the German authorities asked about the case through Kulski, the German-appointed mayor.

Here, I would like to say that there was a disciplinary proceedings committee at the discipline office, headed by the judge who was delegated by the president of the appellate court. After this incident, Leist issued an ordinance and this disciplinary proceedings committee was liquidated.

Judge Grudziński: – So who established the penalties?

Witness: – The discipline office. However, it was rather fictitious because there were almost no such things [as punishments]. If they happened, they were small things.

Judge Grudziński: – Who was signed on the phonogram about the arrest of [the] discipline spokesmen? I am talking about the phonogram you saw.

Witness:I saw a phonogram at the police station, which came from Ordnungspolizei [regular police force of Nazi Germany]. The orderly sub-commissioner told me he had a command to bring me to Ordnungspolizei.

Judge Grudziński: – Did any of you get into the camp?

Witness: – Yes, Szyszkowski was in the camp, the same with Bielski. Domański – who was not found that night because he was hiding due to some other case – was detained accidentally and sent to Auschwitz.

Juror Jodłowski: – In which form did Leist request a list of employees?

Witness: – He wrote to the personnel office and asked to send a list of employees of the discipline office with addresses.

Judge Rybczyński: – Was there Leist’s signature?

Witness: – I do not know. Leist was the one who demanded [the list]. I saw Leist’s signature on a document about the removal of the disciplinary office and about liquidating the disciplinary proceedings committee. This one [regarding the list], I have not seen.

Prosecutor Sawicki: – But was the document from Stadthauptmann’s office?

Witness: – Yes, it was.

Prosecutor Siewierski: – Was the discontinuation of these investigations in the jurisdiction of the discipline spokesmen?

Witness: – Absolutely.

Prosecutor Siewierski: – Did they have the right to decide?

Witness: – Absolutely.

Prosecutor Siewierski: – Was this disciplinary jurisdiction, which was later passed to the prosecution due to Leists order, based on the principles of judiciary independence?

Witness: – In the discipline office?

Prosecutor Siewierski: – No, this committee liquidated by Leist.

Witness: – This committee was liquidated, and the employees of the discipline office, according to our regulations, should be qualified as judges and unhampered in their actions.

Prosecutor Siewierski: – Was this an everyday situation, or was it an extraordinary situation for the local government?

Witness: – Which situation?

Prosecutor Siewierski: – These repressions toward discipline officials for discontinuation of the investigation.

Witness: – It was obviously an extraordinary situation.

Prosecutor Siewierski: – Were there any interventions in the usual way for the defendant Leist, i.e. by the mayor?

Witness: – I heard that Kulski was to intervene.

Prosecutor Siewierski: – What was the result?

Witness: – Negative.

Prosecutor Siewierski: – Being acquainted with the situation of the local government, do you allow the possibility that those repressions could affect your officials, without knowledge of the defendant Leist?

Witness: – I do not think so. It is possible that at this time – I think – he was on vacation, maybe it was that night.…

Prosecutor Siewierski: – This is important.

Witness: – Maybe on the night we were arrested, he was on holiday. I think so because efforts were made in all directions, also by German attorneys; also, at the same time, they counted on the intervention of President Kulski or his deputy, Pavlovich. I also heard from my family that Kulski was supposed to wait for Leist’s return, and that it was believed that this intervention would be effective then.

Prosecutor Siewierski: – You mentioned that the defendant Leist did not interfere with the procedure in the discipline office, so this was an incident where the German authorities did interfere?

Witness:: – Obviously.

Prosecutor Siewierski: – Did this cause indignation in the Polish society?

Witness: – Yes, it did. It was even in the Polish underground press.

Prosecutor Siewierski: – When you were arrested, was Leista absent? And when Stadthauptmann demanded a list, was Leist available?

Witness: – I think he was. A few weeks later, Bielski, who was at the head of the office for a couple of weeks, was arrested as well. We did not know if it was from the same case. Later, it turned out that it was, and no interventions helped. When Bielski was arrested, Leist certainly was at work.

Judge Rybczyński: – Did you return to the administration then?

Witness: – Yes, I returned after three months.

Prosecutor Sawicki: – And did supervisory authorities demand a list of judges on any other matter?

Witness: – No, it was the only incident.

Attorney Śliwowski: – You mentioned the Dezernat, led by Dürfeld, did this department have its autonomy?

Witness: – I do not know for sure, but I know that Dürfeld was subordinate to Leist.

Attorney Śliwowski: – Were these departments separated, that’s why it was called Dezernat?

Witness: – I cannot say how the Dezernat was dependent on Leist.

Attorney Śliwowski: – Can you tell me if the employees’ opinion about Dürfeld and Leist varied?

Witness: – The opinion regarding Dürfeld was terrible; he was known for his persecutions, and that he was a Pole-eater. His work was to pull off tram drivers’ uniforms and send them to the camp in underwear. He was the one who established this collective responsibility that ten or twenty Poles would be shot down for one German. He also issued a kind of notice that if something happens to the Volksdeutscher inspector, ten or more people will be shot down.

Attorney Śliwowski: – Did Dürfeld issue an ordinance threatening to shoot?

Witness: – He only intimidated this way, because there was no such ordinance [issued].

Attorney Śliwowski: – What was the opinion about defendant Leist?

Witness: – Leist was at the head of the German administration.

Attorney Śliwowski: – Were there any [assassination] attempts on Dürfeld? One or two?

Witness: – There were three attempts, but all of them were unsuccessful.

Attorney Śliwowski: – Was there any attempt [to kill] Leist?

Witness: – I have not heard of any.

Attorney Śliwowski: – When he returned after three months, did you have any further remonstrances from the German authorities?

Witness: – No, I did not.

Attorney Śliwowski: – Thank you.