Warsaw, 8 August 1947. [Judge] Halina Wereńko, member of the District Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes, interviewed the person specified below as an unsworn witness. Having been advised of the criminal liability for making false declarations and of the contents of Art. 107 and Art. 115 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the witness testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Włodarski Włodzimierz|
|Names of parents||Włodzimierz and Maria née Fabijańska|
|Date of birth||3 January 1907|
|Religious affiliation||Roman Catholic|
|Place of residence||Warsaw, aleja Waszyngtona 106, flat 18|
|Education||Warsaw School of Economics|
During the period pertinent to my testimony, I was the economic director in the Saint Stanisław Infectious Diseases Hospital at Wolska Street 37, Warsaw. During that period I was using the assumed name of Władysław Walczak, as I was hiding from German persecution.
On 1 August 1944, before 4 p.m., I was informed by the chief of the Home Army field medical service, Dr Skiba (pseudonym) about the outbreak of the uprising. Consequently, I immediately ordered relevant preparations, such as hanging out the Red Cross flags on the gates and standing in full readiness to accept any possible wounded. I also sent the hospital cart driver, the late Mr Delążek, to pick up the doctors living nearby, as there was not a single doctor on the premises at the time. Dr Józefa Barczowa-Pakulska and Dr Mieczysław Rygalski arrived soon afterwards. In the evening Dr Stanisław Kulesza and Dr Jan Barcz came, and in the night Dr Paweł Kubica.
I ordered the administration and pharmacy buildings abandoned, since they were near the gate at Wolska Street and thus most threatened by the Germans. Inside the pharmacy building I placed a Polish Red Cross patrolwoman with stretchers, ordering at the same time that all personnel wear white coats. Around 6 p.m. on that day, standing in the pharmacy door, I was shot at by an automatic weapon from a German car driving by, which prompted me to move the PRC patrol to buildings further within.
On 2 August, the Germans began a more coordinated action against the Warsaw insurgency. In the Wolska Street area, this action was carried out by armoured units from the “Hermann Göring” division and police forces.
I know this from the personal data given by German soldiers brought for wound dressing, and I pass it on from the list of the wounded made during the uprising. To wit:
– on 2 August at 1.30 p.m. [was] brought Wilhelm Engelhardt, Polizeiregiment 23 Feldpost
– on 3 August, Heinrich Asshoff, obergefreiter “Hermann Göring” Division,
– on 3 August, Erik Schliephake, Sturm Regiment 73 Division 19 Pancer grenadier
The German action proceeded along Wolska Street and Górczewska Street, I have not heard of any wider raids into the side streets.
It consisted mostly of breaking up barricades and prevented the insurgent forces from stabilizing. Every broken-up barricade was rebuilt by the insurgents after the Germans had passed, frequently trapping tanks that had moved further beyond it. The barricade on the corner of Wolska Street and Młynarska Street, which rested against the corner of the hospital wall, wasa particular hindrance to the Germans. I could see it very clearly at all times.
Faced with these difficulties, the Germans devised a method for clearing the streets alongside the path of their advance. They did this by chasing the populace out of the houses, which were set on fire at the same time. The houses had typically been fired upon by 75 mm tank guns beforehand.
They were fired at from the streets, with the windows, shops, and gates being targeted. The infantry that followed the tanks drove people out and burned the houses. To illustrate this, I would like to note that in the roadway of the section of the Wolska Street [adjacent to] our hospital there lay over a hundred shell casings from the aforementioned gun rounds.
The removal of the residents was performed in a very cruel way, in violation of all laws human and divine. It involved beating, kicking and shooting people suspected of being members of the Home Army, as well as throwing grenades into basements where people were believed to be hiding.
Some people were sent to disassemble the barricades; such a group had to go in front of and beside the tanks to prevent insurgent countermeasures. On 3 August, five men split off from such a column when passing by the hospital gate and tried to hide in the hospital grounds. The Germans who followed them caught up with them and murdered them all on the spot with shots to the head; two men were killed right by the door to the janitor’s office, three in the lobby.
The names of the murdered were: Michał Rosłoń (Wolska Street 34), Szczepan Majewski (Wolska Street 34), Władysław Kwiatkowski (same), Mateusz Adam Nowicki (Towarowa Street 62), and one unknown man. The first [of them was] about forty years of age, the others about fifty.
On that day, Idzi Dziedziak M.Sc. was killed in the laboratory of the hospital pharmacy, which he was in charge of. There are no details of his murder. Only a spent rifle shell casing was found near his body.
The period of constant raids along Wolska Street and associated expulsions and murders of the locals, the demolishing of the barricades, and the burning of houses lasted from 2 to 4 August. Aside from the above observations, we had spoken reports from the numerous wounded flocking to the hospital and the refugees from nearby streets looking for shelter in it.
On 5 August in the morning, the Germans commenced a large-scale action. Infantry units attacked in cooperation with tanks and planes; small groups armed with flame-throwers were attached to the foot soldiers. Around 11 a.m. the neighbourhood nearest to the hospital was bombed from the air, then the area of Franaszek’s factory, adjacent to the hospital, was taken over, and the factory itself immediately set on fire.
The fire at Franaszek’s factory threatened to spread to the hospital food warehouse, which was adjacent to it, so we began to move the food to buildings further out. At that moment the first groups of attacking Germans entered the hospital grounds. One of them asked me who I was and who had the keys to the gate. I pointed to the doorkeeper, Władysław Przesmycki. When he revealed a whole bundle of keys, the German ordered him to hand them over to me and to take only the gate key. Przesmycki gave me the rest of the keys and, sensing danger, fell to his knees in front of the German, pleading for mercy. Spurred by the [German’s] rifle butt, he went and opened the gate and was then thrown out into the street. A few seconds later I heard two shots. A few men and two women were then similarly chased out into the street and shots could be heard again. That group included three hospital workers, namely Stefan Mikulski, Kazimierz Tyczyński and Władysław Wiśniewski. So far, no news has surfaced about any of the four men mentioned above; Przesmycki’s family later found his identity card [kenkarta] in the street in front of the hospital. (Those killed in the streets were always searched for gold and money, whatever was in their pockets and had no value was thrown out onto the ground, hence Wolska Street was literally covered with documents, photographs etc.).
Taking advantage of the commotion caused by one of the soldiers walking a horse out, I withdrew deeper into the hospital. After a couple of minutes I learned that the entire hospital staff, the refugees, and the sick who could walk were to leave the hospital. I was dragged back out to the gate, where I met a column already assembled in fours, mainly consisting of hospital personnel, numbering around 80 people. At that point I heard some shots, I looked round and saw Marek Iliński, who stood a step or two beyond the gate, stumble, turn around, and start to walk back towards the hospital, falling after walking a dozen or so paces. I ran up to him with Dr Paweł Kubica, who pronounced him dead. Marek Iliński, born 1917, had been hiding on the hospital grounds since 1 August and served as a paramedic. A moment later I was approached by a German non-commissioned officer and asked what my function in the hospital was. Hearing that I was a wirtschaftleiter, he said erschiessen and told me to get into the column.
Altogether, 11 or 12 people died that day (the precise number was never determined), including two women. At the same time Father Niczyporowicz was seriously wounded in the chest in the commotion and Dr Jan Barcz, last seen in the group standing by the gate, went missing.
A while after the events described above, negotiations began between the Germans and the representatives of the hospital, namely, Dr Paweł Kubica acting as chief (with a good knowledge of German), Dr Rygalski, and Dr Joanna Kryńska, who served as interpreter. As a result of these negotiations, Drs Rygalski and Kryńska went with German soldiers to Górczewska Street, past the railway embankment, where the German headquarters for the area were set up and where mass executions were being conducted. The delegation listed above was brought to Dr Hartlieb, a military doctor and SS captain, who said: “Why did you bring them, they are all to be shot”. But the execution was called off.
The halting of the executions in our hospital was supposedly due to the fact that no healthy, sick, or wounded members of the Home Army were found. Personally, after later observations, I am convinced that after Wolski Hospital and Karol and Maria Hospital had been destroyed, the Germans needed our hospital and professional personnel, especially in case of a possible epidemic.
In the evening of 5 August, a German wound dressing station was set up on the grounds of our hospital, with paramedic services and over a dozen soldiers, whom we had previously seen in the group that was taking over the hospital. This troop was a part of General Reinefarth’s combat group, with the original German name Kampfgruppe Reinefarth Feldpostnummer 00512 L (see attachment). We learned from our conversations with the soldiers that they were directly subordinate to Colonel or General Dirlewanger, who was personally billeted in the hospital for a longer period. From the group billeted with us, I know the following names: Dirlewanger, Captain Dr Hartlieb, Captain Dr Scheyfer (spelling?), who was a Sudetenland German, and batman Wilhelm Belle.
The aforementioned unit was billeted on our grounds, taking over a part of the hospital for housing and another for the dressing station. At the same time, a gendarmerie unit of which I have no specific knowledge took over two buildings next to Wolska Street. During their stay in our hospital, the German units committed a number of crimes and robberies.
The first event chronologically was the following: on 8 August, SS-men from General Dirlewanger’s combat group brought two insurgents (aged around 18) to the hospital grounds. They were told to take off their shoes, their Polish military uniforms were torn off them, and their caps with eagles were taken away. Having turned them in this way into scruffy delinquents, the Germans told them to hold a red flag with a white eagle, photographed them, and then hanged them from a tree between the kitchen and the sick ward and photographed them again. They were only taken down after a few hours, following several interventions from the Polish hospital directors.
I watched this execution in its entirety through a window. I had seen the SS executioners before, hence I know beyond a doubt that they were members of the aforementioned unit. Similar sentences were only pronounced by Dirlewanger himself or by someone acting on his authorisation.
One day, during the selection of the so-called convalescents (see below), the Germans noticed one of the wounded wearing green pants and high boots. Suspecting for that reason that he was a wounded insurgent in hiding, they shot him outside, by the windows of the hospital ward. Even though General Dirlewanger was present in the hospital, in this case the more likely perpetrator was the Gestapo man Szpilke, or one of his subordinates. The victim was Stanisław Tarczyński. He was reportedly pointed out to the Gestapo men by a 14-year-old German volksdeutsch in treatment at the hospital at the time, whose name I do not know.
During the Germans’ stay on our premises, many women came to us who had been raped and infected, the youngest of them being twelve. We had a case where we were approached by a mother and her 14-year-old daughter, both infected by the Germans.
Since a different illness would have been written down in the hospital books for reasons of discretion, the names of the aforementioned women cannot be given.
One time we saw a German soldier seize a young woman from a crowd of passers-by by force and take her into the ruins of a burnt-out house. We reported this to a German doctor, who – feigning outrage – told us to show two non-commissioned officers of the gendarmerie the house that the soldier had walked into. I went there with Doctor Kubica and the NCOs and we caught that soldier in the act. The guilty man was arrested, and returned laughing to the hospital gate five minutes later, threatening those who had accused him. That was the reaction to and punishment for the crime of rape.
The German doctors’ response to this can be inferred from the following fact: a German, Dr Szaufler, categorically refused to let four raped Polish women into the hospital grounds for half an hour, for a protective douche. When I asked him for this myself, he insulted me, reaching for his pistol in a telling gesture. The system of picking young women from the crowd and dragging them into the burnt-out houses to rape them was used very frequently by the soldiers from Dirlewanger’s group.
Aside from the aforementioned facts, I also noted many cases of looting. After the gendarmerie took over buildings on the Wolska Street side (see above), no-one from the Polish personnel could enter; thus it was impossible to move the money from the safe locker that had been closed by the then-absent teller. A few days after the Germans had taken over the hospital, having obtained permission, I went with a begleiter, a mechanic, and witnesses to open the locker by force. We found it very professionally ripped open and picked clean of its contents.
While capturing and searching the hospital, the German soldiers would take sausages, fatback etc. from the food warehouse. I have personally seen a German soldier (on that very day) leave the kitchen with sausages hanging from his neck. Besides, when going around the hospital, they would take everything they might need, or, rather, everything they could lay their hands on (for example a regular SS-man, not a paramedic, took several dozen surgical instruments from the operating room). There were several break-ins to the linen depot, where nobody lived.
During General Dirlewanger’s stay in our hospital, soldiers brought him a large amount of silver, by my estimate about 100 kg, and dropped it all in the hallway in front of the door to his quarters. The General inspected the booty and ordered it all moved to his room. One of the workers talked to the General’s batman about that, who told him that there is always a division of plunder and he had himself delivered thirty kilograms of rings to the General.
While performing surgery on a wounded German soldier, the aforementioned Dr Szaufler used tweezers to extract a gold ring the wounded man had underneath his shirt, quickly hid it in his pocket and continued with the surgery.
Another kind of action was performed in the hospital with the direct participation of the Gestapo, where the Gestapo man Szpilke had a leading role. This was picking out the convalescents and the people who had gathered in the hospital under all kinds of pretences. There were several such actions. During the first one, all the people brought in from the nearby houses and hiding in the hospital basement, as well as some family members of the employees, were taken away. The elderly and women with children were taken to the Pruszków camp. The men I later saw in working parties in the Sokołowska Street camp. The duties of these groups included searching bodies (for gold), piling them up and burning them, disassembling barricades, and filling in ditches. In one such round- up several dozen terminally ill TB patients were marched out; two of them, having suffered wounds while disassembling barricades, later returned to our hospital by chance.
As for the sick, they were qualified for release with the active participation of Dr Schaufler and the batman Belle – a shop owner before the war, with a criminal record for murder, who carried out many death sentences in the hospital (he shot two prostitutes and a German soldier sentenced by General Dirlewanger to death for some transgression in service). It has to be noted that, according to Dr Hartlieb’s account, all the soldiers in Dirlewanger’s division were without exception recruited from among criminals, almost all of them convicted for homicide.
As for the locals hiding in the hospital, we managed to protect a group of women with very small children for a longer period, but because of their carelessness they were noticed by General Dirlewanger, who personally ordered them removed from the hospital immediately.
At one point between 5 August and 10 August I was going back to the hospital in the evening, carting in the bread rations. At Bema Street, I encountered a group of people being forcefully rushed by a group of Wehrmacht soldiers towards the Western Railway Station. Trailing behind that group were seven utterly infirm old women, a cripple crawling on his arms (his legs were completely paralysed), and a sick or exhausted woman with two little children. The soldier escorting them told me in Silesian dialect: “Take them to the hospital with you, sir, they can’t keep up with the transport and they’ll be shot”. When I loaded them onto my wagon, the soldier told me that he was Silesian and made it clear that any laggards were being killed so as not to delay the transports.
Going back to my remarks on the collective executions on 5 August, I must state as follows: having been called on 6 August to a kind of a debriefing, I mentioned the matter of supplying the hospital, to which I received the reply that the German authorities had no intention of supplying the hospital (we had received rations on 1 September), but that hospital employees were permitted to bring food from nearby houses with a German soldier in attendance. As a result, in the following days I was with a group of employees in Franaszek’s factory, where I saw a pile of burning corpses about 1.2 metres high, 6 to 7 metres wide and 30 metres long. On the following day, when I was in Michler’s mill (opposite the hospital), I saw another pile, with the fire dying down, about half the size of the one I had seen in Franaszek’s factory. In Saint Lazarus Hospital I saw ashes of a large number of people. In general, from 10 August or so onward the neighbourhood of the hospital was constantly filled with the stench of burning bodies.
On 6 August, we discreetly interrogated the soldiers, who, when asked what was in store for us, told us to not be afraid, as the order to kill us had been called off. They were supposedly ordered to kill everyone between 4 a.m. on 5 August and 4 a.m. on 6 August.
At the time when many Warsaw citizens moved around Wolska Street near the hospital, we set up a street aid station, giving the passers-by coffee, medication, milk for infants and so forth. After a few days of working at the station, during which time our activity had been meticulously filmed by the German propaganda office, the station was closed down under orders of the “conqueror” of Warsaw who stayed in our hospital, General Dirlewanger. We were banned from helping the passers-by and from taking anyone wounded or sick to the hospital for treatment. Sentries were posted to the hospital gate to prevent us from contravening that ban.
On 1 September 1944, our hospital was forced to leave Warsaw. The evacuation ordered by the occupier was supposed to take two and a half days, and we were supposed to receive 26 train carriages to transport the hospital equipment. At first we received 16 carriages; after they were loaded, we did not receive the remaining ten, in spite of the promises we had been given, and moreover our evacuation time was shortened by a full day. Further attempts to obtain the carriages were ended by setting one of the buildings on fire and giving a categorical order of raus.
I mention this because, due to some things the Germans had said and their great unhappiness about our loading too much equipment onto the carriages, we realised what their intentions were. Not giving us the missing carriages, shortening the evacuation time by a day, and finally the arson, were all done on purpose, to bring chaos to our work and prevent us from carting away all hospital property.
To complete my testimony, I shall list the material losses of the hospital during the period from 1 August 1944, that is, from the outbreak of the uprising, to the moment Warsaw was liberated. The following data is given as per my report to the Department of Hospitals of the capital city of Warsaw, submitted in May of 1945. To refute the potential accusation that the listed damages were caused to Saint Stanisław Hospital by the so-called szabrownicy [looters], I stress that I came back to the hospital the day after the occupier was thrown out, and that upon leaving I had left a group to watch over the area: one Sister of Mercy and three employees.
I. Losses suffered between 1 August 1944 and 1 November 1944, i.e. during our stay in the hospital:
Food warehouse: the entire stockpile of meat, fatback, canned foods and flour
Linen warehouse: some 500-600 metres of linen and several hundred pieces of various undergarments
Wards: beds with mattresses – 100
blankets – 120
microscope – 1
pulmonary ablation apparatus – 1
analytical scales – 1
small amounts of linen, large numbers of surgical equipment, thermometers, etc. A large crate with a full Air Defence first aid kit
Service department: a car, a horse
II. Losses suffered between 1 November 1944 and 16 January 1945, i.e. between the evacuation of the hospital and the liberation:
Laundry room: all mechanised laundry equipment, including three spin dryers, three washing machines, a calendar, linen presses, minor appliances and electrical equipment needed to run the above
Decontamination: two decontamination chambers complete with fittings (including one cutting-edge American system)
Note: in order to carry the above away, doorways were widened by demolishing the walls.
Kitchen: nine large steam cooking vats between 250 and 400 litres in capacity, four small steam vats (flipped) between 25 and 60 litres in capacity
Boiler room: all manometers and four electrical pumps
Remaining area: bath tubs – 26, wash basins and toilet bowls – 61, fire protection motor pump – 1, electrical motors – 52, some 200 metres of window glass and many minor hospital appliances.
I do not list the damage incurred to real estate due to warfare, I shall only name the pharmacy building, which was set on fire on purpose, to accelerate the evacuation. That building burned down completely, with all the stock, namely, the pharmacy and less important pharmaceutical devices therein, the nurses’ house and the hospital director’s office, with the furniture therein, and a library with a sizeable collection of medical literature, particularly regarding infectious diseases.
At that the report was concluded and read out.