Warsaw, 23 May 1946. Investigating Judge Halina Wereńko, delegated to the Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes, interviewed the person named below as a witness. Having advised the witness of the criminal liability for making false declarations and of the significance of the oath, the judge swore the witness, who then testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Halina Maria Przyłęcka née Fijałkowska|
|Names of parents||Paweł and Stanisława|
|Date of birth||1 May 1892, in Płyćwia|
|Occupation||Polish Red Cross archivist|
|Education||Natural Science Faculty, University of Geneva|
|Place of residence||Warsaw, Piusa XI Street 47, flat 5|
|Religious affiliation||Roman Catholic|
During the Warsaw Uprising I lived in Warsaw at Marszałkowska Street 35 with my husband, Stanisław Jan Przyłęcki (born in 1891), a doctor of chemistry and physiology, professor at the University of Warsaw, assistant professor at the Medical Faculty, our son Wojciech Franciszek Jerzy Przyłęcki (born in 1919), a student at the Warsaw Polytechnic, and our daughter, Maria Irena Przyłęcka (born in 1928), a secondary school student. Apart from the regular residents of the house, at the moment of the uprising there were around … people from the city who hadn’t managed to get back home. Altogether, there were around 120 people in the building.
On 4 August, in the evening, an insurgent, around 12 years old, came to our house and told the men to flee. We gathered in the yard and deliberated what to do. Eng. Janota stepped forward saying that it was a provocation and that we should stay put. The Kwiatkowskis left and survived the uprising. There were no insurgents in our house or in the closest vicinity.
On 5 August, between 10:00 and 11:00, a unit of 10 SS-men and the “Ukrainians” stormed in, shouting “ raus.” They separated the men from the women on the street, ordered us to throw ourselves on the ground and watch our house, which they had set on fire, burning. I didn’t take anything with me aside from some trifles, including typescripts of my husband’s works, which I later buried on Piusa XI Street. The hole was later dug up and, after I returned to Warsaw in 1945, it was ascertained that some of my husband’s works had been lost. After a while, the Germans ordered three young boys to step forward from the group of men; they were ordered to dig a hole and bury the corpses which had been lying on the street since the first days of the uprising.
Next, when the men were lying on the ground, the women were ordered to get up and we were rushed in front of the building on aleja Szucha, where the Ministry of Education had been. We were stood there on a little square by the pool, joining a large group of women already there. After a while three tanks arrived, one soldier, speaking good Polish, spoke to us from one of them, ordering all the young women to step forward, saying they would go to work. Horrible scenes started when the Germans separated children from their mothers. The first time a child would not let go of its mother, it was pulled, the second time – beaten, and the third time – the German took out his pistol. We held the poor little things whose mothers had been taken away, to save those children’s lives. A few hundred young women were taken to one side. My daughter was taken as well. I wanted to go with her, but I was pushed aside. The women separated were told to move a few dozen steps away, and then the German speaking Polish said more or less the following: “And now I will tell you what you first job will be. Your bandits surrounded our brave soldiers in the Polish Telephone Company [PASTA] on Piusa Street, there are dead and wounded among them. Your bandits are not letting provisions or medication through. You shall go in front of and on the tanks, you must bring food and medication to our soldiers and carry the dead and wounded back. Not a single shot will be fired from our side, if you die, you will die at the hands of your bandits.” My daughter told me that the women had been warned that any attempt to escape would be punished by death. The Germans, loaded with ammunition, ripped off scarves and coats from the Polish women, covered themselves with them, hiding the ammunition, and walked with the women. A few rows of women were arranged in front of the tank, my daughter was in the first row. Then, the tank with the women on it drove off, with more women behind it. The procession turned into Piusa XI Street, the Polish women were ordered to wave white handkerchiefs. Between Mokotowska and Krucza streets, an insurgent threw a bottle of petrol on the first tank, a very accurate throw; the tank started burning. The girls from the tank and those in front of it, slightly burned, started fleeing. They ran to the barricade on Krucza Street, at the intersection of Piusa XI Street, where the insurgents pulled them behind the barricade. Only the Polish women in front of and on the first tank were saved, the Germans took the others back to the group I was in and said that the experiment had not succeeded and would be repeated the next day.
My daughter, currently a chemistry student, lives with me.
In the evening, the Germans rushed us into the courtyard of the building of the former Ministry of Education, from the Aleje Ujazdowskie side. We were kept there until midday the following day. People said that Jews had been executed in that courtyard before.
A Gestapo man spoke to us the next day: “Go to your men. You have seen our power, tell your men to stop fighting.” They were supposed to take us to Zbawiciela Square. We were marched to the corner of Litewska and Marszałkowska streets and then told to run. There were machine guns on the corner of Litewska and Marszałkowska streets. One of the women said to the SS-men: “I know that you will execute us in a moment,” he grabbed her by the arm and started to beat her face horribly; she tottered away.
I don’t have any news of my husband and son. I heard from the priests – Canon Pogorzelski and Jan Ostrowski, who lives near Łódź, and Rev. Cegłowski, released from aleja Szucha – that the group of men that my husband and son were in was taken to aleja Szucha 12. Currently, the University of Stockholm is searching for my husband in Germany, wishing to offer him a faculty chairmanship – still in vain. I am submitting, for your record, a memoir I have written about this period and a list of names of people known to me, who were probably taken to aleja Szucha 12 and still have neither returned nor sent any message, as well as an undated issue of Przekrój magazine, beginning with the words: “Mieczysław Wiencek PAP.”
Rev. Pogorzelski is currently in Warsaw.