Day 16 of the hearing
Adam Kalinowski, aged 48, Chief Fire Officer in Łódź, unrelated to the parties.
Attorney Śliwowski: – Did the witness hold the position of commanding officer of the fire department in Warsaw under the occupation?
Witness: – From 1941 until 1944.
Attorney Śliwowski: – Was it in this capacity that you have come in contact with the defendant Leist?
Witness: – The defendant Leist has never been my immediate superior. It was the chief of police who supervised the fire department, and then the mayor of Warsaw, Kulski. I visited the defendant five or six times. He asked me questions regarding the fire department, provisions, small things. This is as far as our professional relationship went. He was interested in knowing what was going on in the department, how we provided food, whether we were satisfied. He tried to show that he somehow cared.
Regarding the deeds of his subordinate authorities, starting from 1941 until the Uprising, their regulations caused nothing but suffering. What we suffered in the fire department will be long remembered.
By that I mean especially the fact that the chief of police, a Volksdeutscher, had established a spying network within the fire department, with Aleksander Wolfram as the main spy. He was a Volksdeutscher, and later a Reichsdeutscher. For 18 years, he served as an officer of the State Police in Warsaw. This network gradually spread throughout the fire department through 1942, 1943, until the Uprising. So much so that the chief of police had better information as to what went in the fire department than I. The spies got much intelligence from people who revealed information more or less consciously, sometimes by babbling.
Being the chief of the fire department was one of the most disgraceful positions that a Pole could hold. We were made to use our pumps to clean the brains and the blood of the executed from the streets. We were forced to do it against our will. Furthermore, the fire department was used to protect certain objects during the destruction of the ghetto, starting from 19 April 1943 until the end of 1943. This meant moral exhaustion over what we saw there. It seems to me that this case has already been studied, but I can say more, if need be. Apparently, the fire department is among the few Poles who witnessed it.
Presiding Judge: – Why did the fire department defend these buildings?
Witness: – As the burning down of the ghetto began, I was summoned to see general Stroop at Żelazna Street 101, where the headquarters of the arsonists were. I was given a list of 73 buildings to be protected from fire. One such building was put on the list at our request, that is, the Marian church on Leszno Street, as Bishop Szlagowski has testified.