On 7 November 1945 in Bydgoszcz, the District Investigating Judge, in the person of District Investigating Judge K. Gąsiorowski, interviewed the person mentioned hereunder as a witness, without taking an oath. Having been advised of the criminal liability for making false declarations, the witness testified as follows:
Name and surname Roman Skory, known in the case
We arrived in Radom on 22 July 1944 at about 7.00 p.m. We took up quarters in the building of the commandant of the Radom Gestapo, in the vicinity of the rifle factory. The Gestapo commandant for the Radom District, a man named Ilmer (Obersturmbanfürer), gave a cold welcome to the Gestapo men from Lublin, voicing his discontent at the fact that they had deserted Lublin. In Radom, Stanzig left the Lublin Gestapo, as he was summoned to Berlin. The Gestapo men from Lublin were divided in Radom into smaller units, comprising the Gestapo men from Lublin, Volksdeutschers (helping as interpreters, informers) and “Ukrainians”, which were then sent to the townships in the area of Radom, as far as Radomsko, in order to set up Gestapo stations in places where they hadn’t yet been established.
At this point I would like to emphasize that only Reichsdeutschers could become Gestapo men in the strict sense of the word; upon joining the Gestapo, they were automatically becoming members of the SS and accordingly issued an identity card and a rank. Volksdeutschers could perform only auxiliary functions, so they could be interpreters, informers and prison guards, but they were always subordinate to the Gestapo men.
As far as officer ranks in the SS are concerned, they were independent of previously held army ranks. A Wehrmacht non-commissioned officer who joined the SS could be immediately assigned the rank of SS officer, for instance Sturmbannführer Liska had been a corporal in the army. Apart from SS ranks, the Gestapo men held titles of government councilors, criminal councilors, police councilors etc.
Coming back to the previous topic, I state that on 23 July the Lublin Gestapo ceased to exist as a unit, and its members were incorporated into the ranks of the Radom Gestapo. Admitting the Gestapo men from Lublin, Ilmer admonished them for what in his opinion was a premature desertion of Lublin, and declared that he himself had no intention of retreating.
I was assigned to the group of Hauptsturmführer Meyer, which departed for Skarżysko- Kamienna on 25 or 26 July. We took up quarters in a school building that had already been taken up by the German police (consisting mainly of Ukrainians wearing uniforms of the German police).
Hauptsturmführer Hofman, formerly a president of the Gestapo court in Lublin, also joined Meyer’s unit and assumed command of the group.
Apart from one case – when we were sent to Szydłowiec, from where a Polish woman and three men were brought, and then shot (except for the woman) on Hofman’s order and buried in the courtyard of the school building – and one time when we escorted some Jews in the direction of the Reich, the unit didn’t perform any duties. For the entire period of my stay in Skarżysko I was forbidden to leave the school building and wasn’t assigned any tasks.
In the first ten days of August, Hofman got an order to go with his unit to Radomsko. Having arrived in Radomsko, Hofman reported to Liska, who had already been there. Then Hofman and another unit that had been assigned to him left for Włoszczowa, while Meyer and a group of about 20 people, including me, stayed in Radomsko.
In Radomsko, apart from Liska, I met also Obersturmführer Kubin, previously a Gestapo commandant in Biała Podlaska. Kubin stayed there with his men from Biała Podlaska.
At first the Gestapo unit was commanded by Liska, but later he left Radomsko – with a group of Gestapo men from Lublin whom he had selected himself – for Slovakia, where, as I learned, an uprising had broken out. Then Meyer assumed the post of the Gestapo commandant in Radomsko, and he was very hostile towards the Poles; he wanted to punish them with death and nothing else.
The relations between Meyer and Kubin soured all the time, as Kubin was always of a different opinion. In some cases Meyer demanded death for particular Poles, but Kubin opposed him and had his way, and then the individual in question was sent to a camp.
When we came to Radomsko, a network of informers had already been operating there; it comprised mainly Ukrainians, who had come from the east together with retreating groups of Gestapo men. They were seasoned informers, who had worked in that capacity before they crossed the Bug River. This network had been organized by Pambalk, deputy chief of the Gestapo office in Radom, a Tyrolese famous for his cruelty towards the Poles.
One day, a physician from Radomsko, Dr Szadkowski, was denounced by one of these Ukrainians for providing medical assistance to a wounded partisan. Meyer demanded that he be punished with death, but as a result of a declaration made by a German physician, who stated that Szadkowski acted in accordance with the obligations of his profession, and thanks to Kubin’s intercession, the decision was made that Szadkowski should be sent to a camp; at the last moment, however, Meyer decided to turn Szadkowski into an informer. Szadkowski pretended to agree to it. On Meyer’s orders, I was to visit Szadkowski as a patient and bring information from him. On orders from Kubin, who believed that using Szadkowski was pure nonsense, I refrained from doing as told by Meyer and didn’t go to Szadkowski at all, although Meyer inquired about the results of Szadkowski’s work. I then told him that I had visited Szadkowski, but that he hadn’t yet managed to obtain any information that would be relevant for us. In the actual fact, I didn’t visit Szadkowski even once. Five weeks later, Meyer was transferred to Zlin (Czechoslovakia), and his post was taken up by Kubin, who mentioned Szadkowski only once, saying that Szadkowski had fulfilled his duty by helping the wounded partisan. In this way Szadkowski avoided deportation to the camp and at the same time didn’t denounce anyone.
Kubin was very lenient towards – as he called them – “alleged Polish bandits”. Kubin came from Wschowa in Lower Silesia; he was about 50 years old and had poor command of Polish. Whenever he could, however, he addressed the arrested Poles in Polish; he appointed me his personal interpreter and told me that I was absolutely free from then on, and so I enjoyed freedom of movement. He took me with him every time he was going to town.
I have to add here that following the surrender of the Warsaw Uprising, Kubin declared to me that since the Home Army had parleyed with von dem Bach, from then on he intended to treat Home Army members not as enemies, but as friends. And so whenever some arrested people were brought in, he asked them what organization they were members of, and when the answer was the Home Army, he would order their release. He was most hostile towards members of the Polish Workers’ Party, whom he called communists. When releasing the Home Army members, he always addressed them in such a manner: first he told them that he was releasing them because neither had the Home Army fought the Germans, nor had the Germans fought the Home Army, and then he made an appeal to them that should they know about any communists, they would inform him immediately. When speaking about communists, he had the members of the Polish Workers’ Party in mind.
One day after the Warsaw Uprising, when I was passing by the prison with Kubin, I noticed a large number of women waiting there with packed lunches for the prisoners. Packed lunches could be delivered to prisoners only with written permission from the Gestapo. I talked Kubin round and he ordered that the prison gate be opened, all the women admitted inside and the packages delivered to the prisoners. This was repeated several times. Later on I tried to intervene in such cases myself (as I had Kubin’s permission to go to town on my own), but Polish policemen who were on guard there didn’t want to obey me, as I wore plain clothes. I informed Kubin about this, and he told me to wear a Gestapo coat and cap whenever I went to the prison with that aim in mind. From then on, I went to the prison two or three times a day, and on my order the police admitted all the people who came with food and delivered it to the prisoners. Sometimes those coming to the prison managed to exchange a few words with the prisoners. Next, as Kubin’s interpreter, I saw all the women who came to Kubin with various requests. I took these requests and then presented them to Kubin, and I must say that in all cases (which usually concerned people taken from the countryside for no reason whatsoever), Kubin granted the request for release.
One day, one of the Gestapo men brought to Pambalk a young man, a shoemaker by profession, approximately 25 years old, who submitted a letter from Radom, stating that he had been a Gestapo informer back in Radom and therefore asked to be employed in the same capacity in Radomsko. At the same time he asked to be allocated a flat, explaining that he had a family comprising four brothers, parents and two children. Pambalk agreed to take him into service, and found him a flat in the following way: he demanded that I accompany him, and early in the morning we went to a street situated behind the buildings of the district cooperative and on the other side of the railway tracks, to house no. 10, where he arrested an elderly woman on charges of clandestine trade in meat, and then told this informer to tell the owner of the house that he was to take up the flat on orders from the Gestapo. The informer and his family actually moved in there. I don’t recall his surname, but it wouldn’t be difficult to establish it on the basis of these details.
This was the only time I saw that informer; moreover, when Pambalk talked to him, I heard that he ordered him to come with his brothers, saying that all his brothers had to work for the Gestapo as well. I know that he showed up with his brothers on the appointed day, but I don’t know what the outcome of his work was, as Pambalk never put me in any contact with the informers – he took care of everything in his room, with the help of an interpreter, a Volksdeutscher from Lwów by the name of Rückerich.
As for Rückerich, I recall that he once bragged in the canteen that in 1940, when he was working in Kraków, he had been tasked with following officers who were going to Hungary. He introduced himself as a guide to the group of 25 officers, and led them in such a way that they fell into the hands of the Gestapo and were all executed; he was a secondary school graduate who spoke excellent Polish.
Pambalk took me two more times in the capacity of interpreter. The first time we went to a train station (I don’t remember its name, but it was the first station in the direction of Częstochowa, coming from Radomsko), and then we went about 4 kilometers back towards Radomsko. We came to some ranger or forester who had a house on the river near the tracks. I don’t know his surname. This ranger was short, dark-haired and beardless; he was about 40 years old and wore plain clothes. He was a Gestapo informer. His task was to pay attention to whether there were any “bands” in his region when he was making the rounds of the forest. The second time I saw him was at the Bahnschutz station at the aforementioned train station, where he had been summoned so that Pambalk wouldn’t have to walk so far. On that occasion, with Kubin’s permission, Pambalk used me as his interpreter, as Rückerich was then sick. During these two meetings, this ranger provided data concerning some unit which was staying in his region at the time. I don’t know whether any sweeps were organized as a result of his denunciation. Each time, Pambalk took vodka, sugar and cigarettes for that ranger and gave them to him.
I would like to add that one day when I was in the Gestapo building I met a certain “Maryla”, an informer whom I had known previously in Lublin. “Maryla” was of middle height, had a round face and black, tousled hair; she resembled a gypsy, and was even called so. She lived on Przedborska Street in Radom with “Genia”, another informer, who claimed that she had come there from Warsaw. “Genia” was of middle height, slender and pale, so that she looked as if she were sick. I don’t know whether their work yielded any results. “Genia” reported to Meyer at the time when I was still working in the capacity of interpreter. When Meyer asked her why she wanted to become an informer, she said that she had a passion for that kind of work. Both women worked outside of Radomsko: they were most often sent to Częstochowa, and they reported to Scharführer Rogowski, who served as head of the political department.
Pambalk used me as his interpreter two more times, when the owner of an estate in the vicinity of Radomsko, an officer in the reserve and a Pole, visited him in his private flat. I know neither the name of the estate that the man owned nor his surname. He was tall, dark, handsome, and slender; he was about 35 years old and informed the Gestapo only about the movements of Soviet partisan groups, explaining that they were thieving around private estates. He didn’t say anything about Polish partisan units in my presence.
One day a partisan who got wounded during a fight was arrested; he said his name was Stanisław Kon. I served as an interpreter during his interrogation. Fischer, the case handler, announced that the man was to be executed. Stanisław (he told me that this was his real name, and Kon was his pseudonym) had been wounded in the leg, and he had lice in his bandage. Despite Stanisław’s request, Fischer didn’t allow the bandage to be changed, saying, “let the lice eat him”; Kubin, however, when he entered the room and saw what was going on, ordered that Kon be walked to the district hospital on Cmentarna Street. I walked him there. He had the bandage changed, and Busakowski, a Polish doctor, said that he needed to take an X-ray. I took the doctor’s certificate to Kubin, who gave me permission to take Stanisław for the X-ray. And so I went there with him. Later, having heard a conversation between Fischer and Kubin, from which I gathered that Stanisław was to be executed pretty soon, I took him to the hospital once again and entrusted him to the care of Sister Maria, telling her that he should disappear. Indeed, on the same day the Gestapo was informed that the prisoner had escaped. A hay wagon arrived at the hospital, and people armed with rozpylacze [sub-machine guns] took Stanisław from his bed and fled. I had walked Stanisław to the hospital on my own initiative, without Kubin’s permission. Having learned of this, Pambalk demanded that I be immediately arrested and put before a Gestapo court in Częstochowa. Ilmer, who was then based in Częstochowa, sent a telegram requesting an investigation against the person guilty of the prisoner’s escape. Kubin, whose protection I sought at the time, called Fischer (who handled the case) and ordered him to send an answer to Ilmer to the effect that Stanisław Kon was to be released anyway, as he had provided some crucial information in the course of his interrogation. In this way the situation was defused.
On the morning of 16 January we received an evacuation order, and the Gestapo started packing. I heard conversations between Pambalk and other clerks, who were preparing to carry out a massacre in the prison, where – if I am not mistaken – there were approximately 135 political prisoners. Without hesitation, I immediately called the head of the Polish police station in Radomsko (a senior sergeant whose surname I don’t recall), told him that it was Skory speaking (he knew me by my surname) and that he needed to empty the prison within 15 minutes, opening the gates, as the Germans wanted to perpetrate a mass murder there. He did as told. Some time later I heard Pambalk ask Kubin whether he had given an order to release the prisoners, as there wasn’t a single prisoner left in the prison. Two Gestapo men went to the prison and ascertained that there wasn’t anyone there.
At 11.00 a.m., the Gestapo men from Radomsko left in the direction of Wieluń. From there they went to Rożembork in Silesia. Kubin took me with him. Here I would like to explain why I didn’t run away in Radomsko, where Kubin had granted me freedom of movement, or later. When Meyer was engaging me in Radomsko, he asked me about my family and their address (they lived in Koluszki), and then he threatened that in case I escaped my wife, her two sisters and my ten-year-old son would be taken hostage and executed.
After 24 hours in Rożembork, we went to Opole Śląskie. Pambalk stayed in Rożembork with a hundred men. On the next day he also came to Opole, but only 50 people accompanied him. In Opole, Ilmar gathered the remainder of the Gestapo men from Lublin and Radom and divided them into combat groups, which set off in the direction of the battle line, as they were to engage in the fighting at the front. I declared that I wouldn’t go, because I was a Pole and besides I was sick. A doctor considered me unfit for military service. I asked for an exemption. In response, I was taken to Legnica as a prisoner. In Legnica I was placed in a Gestapo prison. From there I was transferred to a Gestapo prison in Dresden. On the night of 13/14 February I managed to flee during a bombardment that resulted in the collapse of the Gestapo building. I went in the direction of Kamienica and Leipzig, on the way introducing myself as a refugee from the east. On 10 April I left Leipzig and went in the direction of Thuringia with the aim of crossing the front of the American troops; I managed to reach Jena, but on 11 [April] I was forced to go back, as I risked arrest by the German field police. I went to Ronneburg in Saxony, and on 15 April at noon American troops entered the town. I remained in Ronneburg for about 3 weeks, staying with Poles who had been deported for forced labor there. From Ronneburg I set off for Leipzig, and having arrived in Leipzig I reported to the Polish camp “Zawisza”, situated on the suburb of Leipzig, Grosszschocher. I left Leipzig on 20 June together with my friend Mieczysław Woźniak, and we went in the company of uniformed Polish soldiers to Nordheim in Hanover, from where on 17 October I set off on a journey back to our country.
I would like to add that towards the end of July 1944, in one of the streets of Radom, I met Zygfryd Włoczewski, who was wearing the uniform of a German Hauptmann. He told me that he was commanding a Ukrainian–Russian unit, numbering some 800 people, and that he had his unit scattered around Radom, charged with the task of ensuring security in the area. He complained that his soldiers were very unreliable, and that he was afraid even to inspect his own units.
Moreover, when still in Lublin, I met Sauerman, who at the time occupied the post of commander of the Polish Police in the Lublin region. I would like to add that all the Gestapo men whom I met in Lublin and Radomsko should be among the prisoners of war captured near Wrocław, of course if they hadn’t fallen there. I am sure that I would recognize them all.
I have never been in Majdanek, and therefore I cannot testify about any events that took place there. Majdanek wasn’t in the charge of the Gestapo commandant for the Lublin District; it had a separate command and was subordinated directly to the SS-Gruppenführer in Kraków.
Since I am in possession of information concerning the activities of the Gestapo in the Polish territory, I have appeared before the Court on my own initiative, with the desire to contribute with my testimony to punishing those who tormented the Polish populace during the occupation.
This is all that I can testify to.
The report was read out.
I submit a photograph of Stanzig, which came into my possession on the day of the evacuation of the Lublin Gestapo, as I found it in the desk in his room.
The report was read out.
At this point one more thing has come to my mind: at the beginning of January, the following incident occurred in Radomsko: a German soldier was murdered, and several other soldiers were wounded. After this event, a warning was issued to the local populace, threatening them with repression. Despite that, a similar incident occurred shortly afterwards. Then on the orders of Ilmer, who at the time worked in Częstochowa, 30 Poles were executed by shooting. Ten of them were from a concentration camp (probably Auschwitz) – on Ilmer’s orders sent there, they were executed in the camp – and 20 were taken from the prison in Radomsko and executed in the forest. Prisoners to be executed from among the prisoners in Radomsko were chosen by Pambalk and Kubin. They were executed by the German police, which carried out the sentence.
This is all I have to add.
The report was read out.