Warsaw, 3 April 1948. Member of the District Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Warsaw, Judge Halina Wereńko, interviewed the person named below as an unsworn witness. Having been advised of the criminal liability for making false declarations, the witness testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Elżbieta Władysława Kamińska|
|Names of parents||Leon Józef and Łucja née Domańska|
|Date of birth||14 July 1899, Warsaw|
|Religious affiliation||Roman Catholic|
|State and national affiliation||Polish|
|Place of residence||Warsaw, Smolna Street 18, flat 22|
The outbreak of the Uprising found me in my flat at Puławska Street 5, flat 8, in Warsaw. On 1 August 1944, at 5:00 p.m., I heard shots coming from Bagatela Street and Unii Lubelskiej Square.
No insurgent operation was conducted from our house. Three nurses and a messenger were staying at a pharmacy in our house. I don’t know whether they merely happened to be in our area or had a gathering point there. In the first days of the Uprising it was peaceful in our house and in its closest vicinity. In the first days of August, I saw through the window that houses were burning towards Rakowiecka and Polna streets, I also saw German tanks going from Puławska Street towards Unii Lubelskiej Square and back. On 5 August, at around 9:00 a.m., I saw through the windows overlooking Puławska Street that a unit of German soldiers in uniforms (I did not recognize the formation) had entered the property at number 2 Puławska Street, then I saw a woman with little children coming out of one of the wooden houses and then soldiers setting fire to the house, the wooden fence and a small wooden house which contained a distributive vegetable warehouse. That day, at around 11:00 a.m. I heard knocking on the gate. We were driven out by German soldiers (speaking German, I didn’t recognize the formation). I went out on the street with my sister Janina Kominkowska (now residing in Milanówek at Mickiewicza Street 3) and joined a group of residents from our house. There were around 53 flats in our five-story house. Those expelled numbered around 100 people. In the street, I saw that residents of numbers 1 and 3 Puławska Street were also going out. The men were separated from the women on Unii Lubelskiej Square. The men were taken to aleja Szucha to the Gestapo HQ. I didn’t see this myself, but my neighbor, Żakowska, searching for her son, walked to the gate of aleja Szucha 25 and saw men from our group standing in the courtyard. The women were stopped in the square at the junction of aleja Szucha and Aleje Ujazdowskie. Soon after, new groups of women started pouring in, stretching out on the lawns lining aleja Szucha, in front of the Main Inspectorate of the Armed Forces [GISZ]. I learned from conversations that they were residents of Bagatela and Flory streets, and of a couple of houses on the odd-numbered side of Marszałkowska Street, between Zbawiciela and Unii Lubelskiej squares. The women said that the men had been separated from them and taken to the Gestapo (aleja Szucha 25).
When I was in the square at the junction of aleja Szucha and Aleje Ujazdowskie I didn’t hear any shots. Soldiers in German uniforms walked among the women, with black badges on their collars and on the flaps of their uniforms. They spoke German and Polish. I could also see soldiers with dark red lapels on their collars and flaps, who spoke Ukrainian. At around 4:00 p.m., an SS-man (with black badges on his collar and uniform flaps), demanded that all women of foreign nationalities, Germans, Russians, Ukrainians etc. step forward. That group was led away. The same SS-man ordered the others, apart from elderly women and women with children, to stand in rows of ten. I was in that group. The SS-man announced that our task would be to disarm the barricade and lead the soldiers to Piusa Street 13 to the Polish Telephone Company [PASTA], so they could take away wounded German [soldiers], whom the “bandits” had left without help. After the completion of the task, he gave us his commander’s word (he didn’t give his name), we would return to our homes. He told us to take out white handkerchiefs and wave them so that – as he said – “your bandits do not shoot you.” I heard the voices of women in the crowd saying that their houses were already burning.
I was in the first of around 15 rows of 10 women placed in front of two tanks at the junction of aleja Szucha and Aleje Ujazdowskie. Four women were placed on each tank (I don’t know the names), women were also placed behind the tanks. SS-men snatched away purses, throwing them on the lawn, took the women’s coats, especially trench coats, and scarves, put them on and took their places among us. We started walking along Aleje Ujazdowskie towards Piusa Street. I only saw German soldiers in the windows of two or three houses, later there were only insurgents. Near number 16 on Piusa Street I started fleeing with the other women. The insurgents did not shoot at us, but threw a bottle full of petrol onto the first tank. Four women on that burning tank, including two burned ones, escaped with me into the house at Krucza Street 4 (at the corner of Piusa Street, next to the barricade). We walked through the basements to a transit house at Krucza Street 10 and Mokotowska Street 57, where the insurgent hospital was located. There, the burned women were treated.
I don’t know the surnames of the women who rode on the tanks, nor of those who provide the tanks with cover. I then walked towards Marszałkowska Street 79 and stayed in Śródmieście until 7 October. My sister, Kominowska, remained in the group of elderly women and women with children on aleja Szucha. She later told me that on 6 August, at midday, her group of women and the women who had been used as cover for the tanks and had come back from Piusa XI Street were driven along Litewska and Marszałkowska streets in the direction of Zbawiciela Square. SS-men told them they had to go to “their bandits.”
At that the report was concluded and read out.