Warsaw, 27 November 1945. The investigating judge Halina Wereńko heard as a witness the person specified below. Having been advised of the criminal liability for making false declarations and of the importance of the oath, the witness was sworn and testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Marian Żółkowski|
|Date of birth||9 August 1905|
|Parents’ names||Franciszek and Bronisława|
|Place of residence||Warsaw, Żulińskiego Street 7, flat 10|
|Occupation||the workers canteen chief|
|Religious affiliation||Roman Catholic|
In response to the question, I would like to explain that before the war, Tomasz Serafin had been an administrator and head of the office of the Ministry of Education, during the German occupation he was, as I heard, a head teacher of a school at Opaczewska Street, and I heard – I don’t remember who told me this – that he is now head teacher of some school outside of Warsaw, I think in Krakow, but I don’t know exactly.
As far as I know, the caretaker Józef Michalak still works in the Ministry of Education, which – as I read in the press – is about to move to aleja Szucha 25 on 27 November 1945.
I heard that Władysław Szczepaniak, who was a caretaker in the Ministry of Education, lives in Opacz-Kolonia near Warsaw, in the house of Pawłowski or Jakubowski. I saw him in April for the last time and he told me then that he was striving to be employed in the Ministry of Education.
All these people about whom the citizen judge has inquired, lived with me at aleja Szucha 25, in the building of the Ministry, during the German occupation. I had lived in that building since 1935, when I had been employed in the Ministry as a caretaker. My wife, Daniela, who died in 1942, my three children, and my mother, Bronisława Żółkowska, all lived with me.
When the German troops entered, I lived in the building of the ministry. In October 1939, the ground floor was seized by the German troops. On 29 November 1939, the Germans suspended the activities of the Central Board of the Ministry of Education and in December 1939, the building at aleja Szucha 25 was taken over by the Gestapo. At that time when a part of the building was being occupied by the German troops, before December 1939, I still lived there and I began to work as a cleaner. When the building was seized by the Gestapo, the personnel department employed me as a worker and from that time I expected a salary, which I received only after three months. Apart from myself, the following people were employed at that time as workers: Kacper Małecki – I heard that he had a sawmill somewhere near Warsaw, but I don’t know where he is now; Władysław Szczepaniak; Antoni Podgórski – I don’t know where he is now but I heard that he might be with his family near Rawa Mazowiecka, he had been a caretaker before the war; Józef Michalak, also a former caretaker in the Ministry of Education; Jan Staszkiewicz, a janitor in the Ministry of Education before the war, I don’t know where he is now; Jan Sokołowski; and Jan Ćwikłowski. In total, 12 of us worked and lived at aleja Szucha 25. At that time, chief Serafin lived at Akademicka Street 3.
I would like to add that also Zygmunt Stefko lived and worked in the Gestapo building, I don’t know his current address. I lived at aleja Szucha 25 until December 1943, when I moved to Litewska Street 13. At that time, Szczepaniak also moved out, and the rest stayed in the building, except for Zygmunt Stefko who had moved out in June 1942.
Apart from the above-mentioned, the following former employees of the ministry were working in the building but living somewhere else: Wacław Szufliński – a caretaker who died in the Dachau camp, as he had been deported there by the Germans for facilitating communication with the Poles incarcerated in the Gestapo building; Lucjan Kalisz, who is now in Łódź and works at a university; Aleksander Kościński – a caretaker, I don’t know his address; Józef Michalak, who moved from aleja Szucha in 1942. I was employed by the Germans as a worker and I had various responsibilities: cleaning, unloading cars, moving stores etc.
I lived in the first gate from Litewska Street, in the 2nd yard, in the last block of flats. Kacper Małecki was my neighbor, Szczepaniak and Marian Małecki had flats in the front. We were all answering directly to Rajnold Weber (a Volksdeutsch), who was at first cleaning as the rest of us, but later – when he became a Volksdeutsch – he got a better job. I could only move around in that part of the building where I was working, and generally freedom of movement was limited.
Since the beginning of 1940, the Gestapo men began to bring the arrested people in cars from the town to the building at aleja Szucha 25, and individual people were being brought for interrogation almost from the start. The arrestees were being brought before 8.00 a.m. from Pawiak prison and taken back after dinner. I know that the arrestees were being brought from Pawiak since Michał Keller – who also worked for the Germans – once handed the arrested people a package, and he was then arrested for it by the Germans, incarcerated in Pawiak and later was being brought for interrogations to the Gestapo building. Whether the arrestees were being brought also after dinner, I don’t know, as after dinner I was not cleaning the German part of the building and therefore I could not see anything from the window.
I could see the arrestees who were being brought only through a window, and I could only cast a glance. The Germans were very careful about preventing any contact between the employees and the interrogated.
I had never been present during any interrogation. However, when I was walking down the corridor, when I was in the yard or in the boiler house, I could sometimes hear groaning and the sound of beating from the room where interrogations of the arrested were taking place. On the following day, when I was cleaning such a room, I would see bloodstains on furniture and demolished pieces of furniture.
I don’t remember the date, but once – when I was walking down the corridor – I looked out of the window to the inner yard and I saw that a man was lying there, trying to get on all fours. An interpreter who was passing by told me not to look, a commotion began and someone told me that the man whom I had seen was a prisoner that had jumped out of the window during interrogation.
I heard about another similar occurrence, but I don’t remember when it was, someone told me – I don’t remember who it was – that someone jumped out of the window in the second inner yard to the pool, and that the Germans were shooting at that person. I don’t know the names of either of those people who jumped out of the window during interrogation by the Gestapo, and I don’t know with what they were charged. I heard from my friends, I don’t remember exactly who told me this, that very often those prisoners who were alright when they were coming for interrogation had to be carried out and taken to the prison in an ambulance after interrogation. Both men and women were being interrogated that way.
Once I saw through a window that the Gestapo men were leading men from the basement for interrogation with their hands chained, and once I saw that a man in a group of the arrested who were being led from the basement had his hands chained with a heavy chain.
I heard from some people that [once] after interrogating and beating him, the Germans brought an arrested person to a cell and killed that person there. I don’t know any details of this case, I don’t know who it was and for what it was done.
I noticed that always when some German got killed in town, the Gestapo would begin to treat the arrestees more harshly and more people would be brought to the Gestapo. I noticed through my window that the arrestees looked haggard.
As I have already emphasized, I didn’t have any contact with the arrestees and I had never spoken to them. Looking out of the window was also forbidden, on pain of penalty, so my observations were rather cursory. I don’t know the names of those arrested and I can only say that being able to constantly hear groans from afar and knowing that people were being beaten and tortured during interrogation had greatly contributed to the deterioration of my wife’s condition, and she died in 1942.
What methods were being used by the Germans during interrogation, I do not know.
I remember that I saw – I don’t remember when – that the Gestapo men were leading Janusz Kusociński for interrogation (I recognized him as he had been a running champion before the war), and that he had his hands tied with a chain. What happened to him afterwards, I do not know. When I was cleaning the room on the day following the interrogation, the furniture was demolished as I have emphasized above. To be more precise, I saw chairs without legs, a broken cane. Therefore, I think that the Germans might have used the leg or the cane to beat the prisoner during interrogation.
Once I saw also a rubber truncheon on a table in such a room, which – I believe – could have been used for beating. I was cleaning the rooms in the morning on the day following an interrogation, always in the presence of a Gestapo man. I would like to emphasize that the rooms were not always being cleaned on the following day. Sometimes the Gestapo men would not admit us to such a room for three days, but I don’t know why.
On a square near the building there was a shack for the Jews who were working on the Gestapo premises. I heard – I don’t remember who told me this and when it happened – that the Germans had executed three Jews on that square.
I heard that some Germans had also been incarcerated at aleja Szucha, but I didn’t see this for myself. I saw neither the detention center nor the cells in the building at Szucha 25.
The report was read out.