In Sydół on this day, 8 April 1948, at 6.00 p.m., I, Zenon Wilk from the Criminal Investigation Section of the Citizens’ Militia Station in Kozienice, acting under Article 20 of the provisions introducing the Code of Criminal Procedure, following instructions from the District Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Radom issued on 31 March 1948 (L. 532/48/2) under Article 20 of the provisions introducing the Code of Criminal Procedure, observing the formal requirements set forward in Articles 235–240, 258 and 259 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, with the participation of a reporter, a Militia functionary from Zwoleń, Władysław Adamczyk, whom I have informed of his obligation to attest to the conformity of the report with the actual course of the procedure by his own signature, have heard the person named below as a witness. Having been advised of the right to refuse to testify for the reasons set forward in Article 104 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and of the criminal liability for making false declarations, this pursuant to the provisions of Article 140 of the Penal Code, the witness testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Adam Bębeniec|
|Parents’ names||Antoni and Marcjanna, née Ogórek|
|Age||43 years old|
|Place of birth||Sydół, commune of Grabów nad Wisłą|
|Religious affiliation||Roman Catholic|
|Place of residence||Sydół, commune of Grabów nad Wisłą, Kozienice district|
|Relationship to the parties||none|
With regard to the matter at hand, I know the following: the events of which I am giving an account took place on 18 March 1942 at 5.00 a.m. in Sydół. That day my house was surrounded by Gestapo men, accompanied by German colonists from Karolin. The Germans found four of us inside: my brothers, Jan and Władysław, myself, and Władysław’s son, Stanisław. The Germans ordered us to get dressed immediately. Then we were led out into the street, where we waited until we were joined by a few more men whom the Gestapo brought from the village of Osiny. This group included Edward Lawendowski and Marian Chołuj, both of whom were shot along with my brother Jan.
We were all marched to the village of Karolin. When we reached our destination, the Germans lined us up by the road and began reading out the names of the men who were to be executed. Those whose names were read out were taken inside the school. The rest of us were ordered to stand by the pit and watch the execution. The pit was to the right of us. The detainees, who had their hands tied together, were led in groups of five to the hollow. Once they were by the hole, the Gestapo commander announced to everyone present that any appearance of partisans must be immediately reported to the Gestapo. He also demanded that we inform on those who were in possession of illegal newspapers. He said that if any one of us failed to report such information, we would all share the fate of the convicts.
Shots followed. One group of five was executed after another. The convicts were killed in a German way, by a shot to the back of the head. When this horrible massacre was over, the perpetrators told us to run away home. When we were standing by the pit, I saw three Germans carrying young birch trees. They entered the school. Immediately afterwards I heard a scream and a screech. Some of those who were executed dropped dead before the pit. The Germans approached their bodies and kicked them into the pit. I didn’t see anyone try to untie the hands of the dead in the pit, and it is possible [that no one tried] because the people killed by the Germans, and there were some 73 of them, fell into the pit in a disorganized way, forming a tangle of bodies.
Some of those executed in my presence were from the village of Łosiny. I recognized the following men: Edward Lawendowski, a farmer and a Pole who is survived by his wife (whose name I don’t know) and two children, less than eight years of age, all of whom still live and work on their farm in Łosiny; Marian Chołuj, a Pole and a farmer, who left behind his wife and his three children, all of whom still live in Łosiny, in the Zwoleń commune; their names are unknown to me; the landowner of Wacławów manor and his administrator, whose names I don’t know either, and many other men from the neighboring villages. The execution was carried out by the Gestapo and German colonists. The latter, led by Hejniok, were settled in Karolin.
I know that my brother Jan, Adam Rębiś, Stanisław Kowalczyk and Marian Bąk were shot for being members of some clandestine organization. I don’t know what the rest were executed for. One day, I don’t remember either the year or the month, the Germans came back to the grave and, in order to eliminate all traces [of what they had done], burned the bodies. I wish to note that the pit for the arrestees was dug up by the residents of Karolin, and they were also forced to bury the victims in it.
At this the report was brought to a close, read out and signed.