In Karolin on this day, 9 April 1948, at 10.00 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||Jan Wawrzak|
|Parents’ names||Andrzej and Aleksandra, née Mieśnik|
|Age||60 years old|
|Place of birth||Karolin, commune of Grabów nad Wisłą|
|Religious affiliation||Roman Catholic|
|Place of residence||Karolin, commune of Grabów nad Wisłą|
With regard to the matter at hand, I know the following: on the morning of 18 March 1942, in my capacity as the village administrator I was sent by the Gestapo to bring people to dig a pit in Józef Gramm’s courtyard in Karolin. A former colonist, Gramm was a Gestapo man. I told some inhabitants to report to me with axes, pickaxes and spades. At first I didn’t know what we were supposed to dig the pit for. Only later did I learn that the Gestapo, accompanied by German colonists, had arrested a lot of people from Karolin and other villages. The arrestees were kept in the school.
There were twelve of us to dig the hole: I, my brother Teofil Wawrzak, Stanisław Kaca, Stanisław Pawlak, Józef Szewczyk, Szczepan Kustra, Franciszek Kustra, Stanisław Kwapiński, Bartłomiej Bednarczyk, Jan Rusinek, Władysław Pietrzyk and Marian Sałek. These men were from Karolin. When we arrived on the spot, we learned that the pit we were about to dig was to be 13 meters long, 6 meters wide and 3 meters deep. Once we had accomplished our task, we were ordered to take a few steps back. At that moment Gestapo men began to lead the prisoners out. They were tied in fives, and also had their hands tied behind their backs. I noticed that they were covered in blood, beaten half-conscious. Each group was led to the pit and killed in a German way, by a shot to the back of the head. The Germans dumped the bodies into the pit. Each group was executed in this way.
The following men from Karolin were killed by the Germans: Józef Wach, Franciszek Kaca, Jan Kaca, Aleksander Sałek, Stanisław Chołuj, Józef Gładysz, Jan Sałek, Stanisław Sałek. They were all decent Poles who worked on their farms and enjoyed a good reputation. They left their families behind. For example, Józef Wach is survived by his deaf father Adam, 68 years of age, and his sick mother Franciszka, 67 years of age; Jan and Franciszek Kaca left behind their parents, Stanisław and Aniela, who are now elderly people; Aleksander Sałek left behind his wife Marianna and their child, which was not even a year old at the time; Stanisław Chołuj is survived by his wife and six children, three of whom are already married, while the other three – none of whom has yet reached the age of fifteen – are still supported by their mother; Józef Gładysz is survived by his widowed mother, Józefa, 56 years of age, and his four siblings, each of whom is less than 23 years old; Jan and Stanisław Sałek – one of them, married, is survived by his wife Weronika and their three children, all under three years old, while the other, unmarried, is survived by his widowed mother Władysława. All the above mentioned family members of the victims live and work on their farms in Karolin, in the commune of Grabów nad Wisłą.
When the last group had been executed, we were ordered to level the bodies. Then, we spent about one hour and a half waiting a few meters away from the grave. In the course of levelling the bodies, Stanisław Kaca, who tried to untie the hands of his murdered son, was hit by one of the Gestapo men with a rifle butt. The German said to him: "You bandit! You want to steal a string".
Shortly afterwards, six prisoners were brought in from Radom: three Gorczycs, Maziarz, and two unknown men, all of whom were also executed in the pit. After these six men had been killed and the pit was filled up, we were ordered to scoop some snow with our hands and throw it over the grave in order to cover the traces of what had happened. The grave was leveled with the ground. The layer of dirt put on top of the grave was 50 centimeters thick. Because the grave was filled up with bodies, the soil immediately became soaked with blood, quivering with the throes of the people whom the German bullets hadn’t killed instantaneously and who were covered alive under the layer of dirt. Those who were killed by the Germans, 74 people in number, were from Karolin, Sydół, Łosiny, Ciepielów, Kazanów, Razanów, Wacławów and other villages. The Słowik commune secretary, Ostrach, and two unknown men were from Ciepielów. Stefan Czerniak, Kusio, Grabowski, landholder Wojciech Czajaliński and many others were from Wacławów.
Once the execution was over, the Germans gathered us together and we were given a speech. We were told we were required to report any appearance of partisans. We were also instructed 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 we failed to comply. Then we were ordered to go home. The execution was carried out by the Gestapo, assisted by German colonists. Settled in Karolin for a long time and connected by family relationships with the local population, they were considered Polish citizens. During the occupation young colonists joined the Gestapo and drew up the lists of those who were later arrested in Karolin and other villages. The people who were executed were accused of being part of the underground movement. Those who were executed in Gramm’s courtyard were the most capable men from Karolin and other villages. Józef Gramm stood behind this barbarous crime. He pressed the German authorities to arrest people in the villages in question.
On 18 February 1944, Gestapo men drove up to Karolin in a few cars. The village was sealed off and the inhabitants, who weren’t allowed to leave their houses, were ordered to screen their windows. The Germans, along with Józef Gramm, went to the grave, enclosed it with some makeshift fence and burned the bodies to ashes so as to remove all traces of the crime they had committed.
I wish to add that Gestapo men had their boots and uniforms covered in blood. Their behavior was brutal and barbarous.
At this the report was concluded, read out and signed.