In Karolin on this day, 9 April 1948, at 8.00 a.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||Teofil Wawrzak|
|Parents’ names||Andrzej and Aleksandra, née Mieśnik|
|Age||56 years old|
|Place of birth||Karolin, commune of Grabów on the River Vistula|
|Religious affiliation||Roman Catholic|
|Place of residence||Karolin, commune of Grabów nad Wisłą|
|Relationship to the parties||none|
With regard to the matter at hand, I know the following: on the morning of 18 March 1942 my brother Jan, who was serving as the village administrator, arrived at my place and told me to take a spade, a pickax and an ax, and go with him to dig a pit in Józef Gramm’s colony. Gramm was a Gestapo man. Twelve of us were selected to dig the pit: Stanisław Kaca, Wawrzak, Stanisław Pawlak, Jóżef Szewczyk, Franciszek Kustra, Szczepan Kustra, Stanisław Kwapiński, Bartłomiej Bednarczyk, Jan Rusinek, Władysław Pietrzyk and Marian Sałek, all of whom lived in Karolin, in the commune of Grabów nad Wisłą.
When we arrived at where we were going to dig the pit, we learned that the Germans had arrested a lot of people from around the area and that those whom they had arrested were going to be executed. For the time being, the arrestees were detained in the school in Karolin. After digging the pit, which was 13 meters long, 6 meters wide and 3 meters deep, we were ordered to take a few steps back. The Germans began to lead those who were about to be executed out of the school. Badly beaten, the convicts were half-conscious. They had their arms broken. Their hands were tied behind their backs with various ropes and strings. They were also tied together in fives. Each group was led out of the school and executed by the pit in a German way, that is, by a shot to the back of the head.
The following men from Karolin were executed: Józef Wach, Franciszek Kaca, Jan Kaca, Aleksander Sałek, Stanisław Chołuj, Józef Gładysz, Jan Sałek, Stanisław Sałek. All of them were Polish. They worked on their farms and enjoyed a good reputation. Specification: Józef Wach is survived by his deaf father Adam, 68 years of age, who is unable to work, and his sick mother Franciszka, 67 years of age; they have a farm in Karolin. Franciszek Kaca, unmarried, is survived by his parents Stanisław and Aniela; advanced in age, they work on their farm. Jan Kaca is survived by two brothers – Jan and Franciszek. Aleksander Sałek left behind his wife Marianna and their child, who was less than one year old at the time of the execution. Stanisław Chołuj is survived by his wife, Józefa, and their six children, three of whom are already married, while the other three, each of whom is less than 15 years old, are still supported by their mother. Józef Gładysz is survived by his widowed mother, Józefa, and his four siblings, none of whom has yet reached the age of 23. Jan and Stanisław Sałek, brothers – one is survived by his wife Weronika and their three children, who were less than three years old at the time of the execution; the other Sałek, unmarried, is survived by his widowed mother Władysława. All the above-mentioned members of the victims’ families live in Karolin, in the commune of Grabów nad Wisłą, the Kozienice district, and work on their farms.
When the last group of the detainees was executed, the Germans took us some distance away from the grave and left us there for about one hour and a half. In the meantime, six more men, transported from Radom to Zwoleń in a car and taken further to Karolin in a cart, were shot by the pit too. Before these six men were brought in, we were taken to the pit – the Germans had their guns trained on us all the time – to level the bodies of the victims of this barbarous crime. In the course of levelling the bodies, Stanisław Kaca tried to untie the hands of his murdered son, Franciszek, but he was pounced on by one of the Gestapo man who hit him several times with his rifle butt, saying: "You bandit! You want to steal a string".
After these six men were killed and we had levelled the bodies in the pit, the Germans forced us to fill up this mass grave. The grave was levelled with the ground. The next thing we were made to do was to scoop up snow with our own hands and scatter it on top of the grave in order to obliterate all traces of the crime committed by the Germans. Because the grave was small and there were as many as 74 people buried in it, the layer of dirt with which the bodies were covered was only half a meter thick. The dirt and snow quickly became soaked with blood, quivering with the trembling bodies of those who hadn’t died immediately after being shot and were covered alive under the dirt. At the end, the Germans gathered us together and we were given a speech. We were told that any appearance of partisan units must be immediately reported to the German gendarmerie. We were also required to inform on those who were involved in underground activity, including in the distribution of illegal newspapers. The Germans threatened to put the whole village to the sword if such facts weren’t reported. Once the announcement had been made, we were ordered to go home. The execution was carried out by the Gestapo assisted by German colonists from Karolin who had lived in Poland for a long time. Connected by family relationships with the local population, they had been considered loyal Polish citizens before the War. During the occupation young colonists worked for the Germans, serving in the Gestapo or in the gendarmerie.
The execution was carried out in connection with some clandestine organization the executed were accused of being part of. In spite of the beatings and torture, they didn’t reveal any information regarding the underground movement. The most capable men, whom the Germans suspected of being involved in underground activity, were picked from among the village’s inhabitants. The list of arrestees was drawn up by Józef Gramm, Karol’s son, a German colonist who pressed the German authorities to arrest people in Karolin and the neighboring villages. I wish to add that on 18 February 1944, the Gestapo arrived in Karolin in cars. The village was sealed off and the inhabitants were forbidden to leave their houses. The Germans, who ordered the people to screen their windows, went to the grave, following Józef Gramm’s directions. Then they enclosed the area with some makeshift fence and began to burn the bodies of those whom they had murdered in order to obliterate all traces of their crime.
At this the report was concluded, read out and signed.