Eleventh day of the hearing
Chairman: - May the witness Korff please take the stand.
Witness Helena Korff-Kawecka, 39, an artist for the Poznań Opera, residing in Poznań, no relation to the parties, sworn in.
Chairman: - Please, inform the Court, what you know in this case, in particular, what information you have about the murder committed by the Germans in Wawer.
Witness: - Until April 1940, I lived in Anin, in Engineer Klemensiewicz’s villa. The villa had two floors. I lived in a flat on the top floor, a three-room flat. The owner of Engineer Klemensiewicz’s villa lived beneath me. Before December 1939, the landlord’s flat was partially taken up by an office, and the landlord lived in one room with a kitchen. On the first floor, apart from my own flat, there was a two-room flat in which the same Germans who had the office on the ground floor lived.
On 26 December 1939, at 10:00 p.m., we were woken up by a racket, the whole villa was shaking. I got out of bed, opened a window to see what was going on. I saw the whole courtyard was full of Germans in helmets. I told my husband that the Germans were fleeing or moving out. We sat on the bed and listened for what would happen next. After a while, we heard the same racket. We heard shouts: Oh my God! I ran to the window and through this window I saw civilians standing, half dressed, half undressed, standing with their hands up. I said to my husband: "For sure they’re some smugglers who’ve been caught."
These searches lasted until 5:00 a.m. From time to time I put my ear to the floor—what was happening—and I looked through the window several times.
The Germans in their helmets were lined up one next to another, and through the middle passed the people who had been searched, whom they beat across their heads with wooden rods.
At 5:00 a.m. one of these German dignitaries came out, a tall, slim man with a hat on his head, and announced that everyone would be shot. After a while a second, different voice in Polish echoed that they would be shot. Many fell to their knees and began to cry. One voice, faint, like a boy, could be heard: "Major, why are we to die? Please, give us two days, and we’ll catch these bandits."
There was no helping them. They began to beat these convicts about their heads. They began to sing: Kto się w opiekę [a religious song]… while my husband and I broke down in tears, and our child began to cry.
At 5:00 a.m. they were led out from this garden in twos. And this song grew quieter and quieter.
At 6:00 a.m., I heard a rifle salvo. At 7:00 a.m., unable to contain myself, as I was terribly frightened, I ran out of the house and ran over to the execution site. Downstairs the rooms were in a terrible state, with blood everywhere, all over the porch and the stairs, the yard was piled up with clothing, overcoats, sweaters, vests, jackets. I ran through the tunnel, following the execution, to where it had taken place. The tunnel was terribly bloody. At the place of the execution I met the mayor, Kępiński. I was looking for my brother and my father, because on the day of the execution my brother and my father had been there, they had left at 5:00. I had accompanied them to Gocławek. With the execution in my mind, I searched for my brother and father. I saw everyone in turn. I saw them buried.
When I was running from this field, I saw a car leaving, and all those German dignitaries were riding in it, promenading around the execution square.
I can’t recall any faces. The one who read the verdict was standing with his back to me, but he was tall, slim, in a coat. I don’t know if it was the defendant Daume.
Chairman: - Defendant Daume (the defendant Daume gets up).
Witness: - That could be him.
Later, when I ran home, some Wehrmacht soldiers, who lived there, came. Seeing my condition, one patted my shoulder and asked in German why I was so scared.
My husband, who can speak German well, replied "You know what happened at night." And the other one said "Yes, I know, but there was nothing we could do, because the supreme dignitary Daume came here, and he’s the one who gave the orders." Then I heard that name from German soldiers from the Wehrmacht. All the soldiers were telling the same story, that the order had been given by Daume.
Chairman: - Do you remember this well?
Witness: - Yes, they said that the highest SS dignitary had arrived, who had participated in the court and gave the order to shoot those people.
Chairman: - Are there any questions for the witness?
Witness: - What counted in my and my husband’s favor was the fact that my name is Korff, so they called me baroness and they offered me the chance to be written onto the volkslist. Finally, seeing that this wasn’t going to happen, they threw me out of the apartment in January. The very same Germans threw me out of the flat within three hours, so that I had to leave with my three-year-old child in minus 29 degrees.
Prosecutor Siewierski: - The first Germans that you talked to after the execution were also from the Wehrmacht?
Witness: - Yes, from the Wehrmacht.
Prosecutor Siewierski: - Did they mention Daume’s name in conversation and did they say that it was Daume’s fault that it happened?
Witness: - Yes, that there was such an order, but that they couldn’t come to our defense, because others would have had a problem with that. They said there was nothing they could have done. They shot a certain Mr. Goering, who was housing four or six Wehrmacht soldiers at his place. When the landlord or someone else asked them why they didn’t help him, they said that Goering was too resistant and behaved inappropriately towards the authorities.
Prosecutor Siewierski: - That Goering stood up to these policemen?
Witness: - Yes.
Prosecutor Siewierski: - Do not you know any details about him being offered to be a Volksdeutsche?
Witness: - I don’t know the details.
Chairman: - Does the defense have any questions?
Attorney Węgliński: - I didn’t understand very well part of your testimony when you were talking about the verdict, did you say that Daume announced the verdict?
Witness: - I don’t know because I didn’t see his face.
Attorney Węgliński: - You said he was standing with his back to you, tall, slim, and when the chairman asked Daume to get up, you said that it was him.
A witness: - No, he was standing with his back ...
Attorney Węgliński: - In that case, you aren’t claiming that he announced the verdict.
Witness: - No.
Attorney Węgliński: - Did you, while talking to these soldiers from the Wehrmacht, ask who it was who came, what police unit?
Witness: - No, I was very scared.
Attorney Węgliński: - And they didn’t tell you who came, because as far as I understand, it was at night that some unit arrived?
Witness: - Yes.
Attorney Węgliński: - Did they not say what kind of unit?
A witness: - No, I don’t speak enough German to have been able to talk to them.
Attorney Węgliński: - Did you speak with them directly?
Witness: - Yes, directly, but all the Wehrmacht soldiers were mentioning Daume’s name. They were very intimidated themselves and said that such an order ...
Attorney Węgliński: - That he was the highest SS dignitary.
Witness: - Yes.
Chairman: - I call a break until 4:00 p.m.