Warsaw, 20 October 1949. Mgr. Irena Skonieczna, member of the Main Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes, interviewed the person named below, who testified as follows:

Name and surname Krystyna Sroczyńska
Date and place of birth 25 July 1916, in Borysław
Names of parents Michał and Irena née Fedorowicz
Father’s occupation industrialist
State and national affiliation Polish
Roman Catholic affiliation Roman Catholic
Education higher education
Occupation councilor at the Ministry of Culture and Art
Place of residence al. Sikorskiego 3
Criminal record none

Krystyna Sroczyńska
resident in Warsaw, National Museum,
June 1945

To the Department of Museums and Monuments of Polish Martyrdom


On Saturday, 5 August, on the fifth day of the uprising, at around midday, the “Ukrainians”, raging in the courtyard until then (the house at Flory Street 9), stormed into our flat and, having pulled the watches from our wrists, ordered us to immediately leave the house, saying that they were setting it on fire. Some allowed people to take suitcases, others brutally tore away even the smallest packages. It all lasted no more than five minutes.

We were all grouped on Unii Lubelskiej Square, the men were separated from the women right away. Groups of people being driven ahead came from the neighboring streets. After a while, amid laughter and taunts from the Gestapo, we were marched to aleja Szucha and stopped roughly next to the garrison casino. There, together with a crowd of women constantly arriving (the men were taken directly to the Gestapo HQ), we sat down on the grass for a few hours. Marszałkowska was burning opposite, the section between Unii Lubelskiej Square and Zbawiciela Square. Eventually, the shouting of the Germans shook us out of our stupor. We were ordered to stand in tens. All bags and packages were taken away from us and thrown aside, where they quickly turned into a huge pile. Older women and mothers with infants were told to remain in place. Tragic scenes took place when mothers were torn away from their children, even 2-year-olds, as they were brutally torn away and thrown on the pavement. They placed three tanks behind a column of some 200 women, and on them, they placed a dozen women, and a column of women behind. After an hour or two, one of the Gestapo men stepped forward with a speech in Polish, with a very good accent: “We are not” he said, “waging war on women, your Polish bandits have started an uprising, but we nevertheless won’t take revenge on you. You just have to perform one task. You will go to Piusa Street, you will dismantle the Polish barricade at the intersection of Piusa and Krucza streets, and you will get into the Polish Telephone Company [PASTA]. There are German soldiers there, cut off, there is nobody to treat their wounds or bury them. You will collect the dead and the wounded and bring them here. On the way, you have to shout to your bandits to surrender and cease fighting. Nothing endangers you from our side, you will be safe and sound. However, if any one of you decides to escape, she will be shot on the spot. If you complete your task, your families and your men, taken to the Gestapo HQ, will be set free, otherwise, they will be executed.” We understood that the task awaiting us was equivalent to death, that we would either be killed by fire from the tanks behind us, if we don’t dismantle the barricade – and nobody could take that seriously – or from the bullets of Poles trying to stop the tanks we were supposed to be protecting. For what was the worth of a few hundred women compared to losing a barricade and letting the enemy into the very heart of positions maintained with so much effort?

There was complete silence. In this whole gathering of women of different ages, classes and professions none wept, begged or lost their cool. And that was important. After the speech, the SS-men surrounding us started to pull off scarves from the women’s heads and tie them around their helmets amid laughter and joking. They then put on some female clothes as well. At first, we thought it was a masquerade, that they wanted to mock and ridicule us, but when we realized that those dressed up Germans would be accompanying us, we understood that they were doing it for protection, to blend into the crowd. And then we were ashamed for them.

As for us, all that mattered now was for everything to happen as quickly as possible. Seconds passed like hours. Finally, the rows were made straight with brutal hits and the procession set off in complete silence. The remaining women kneeled down and started to pray.

On Aleje Ujazdowskie, we were stricken by the sight of corpses lying on the road and on the sidewalks, we tripped over huge artillery missile shells, scattered densely, as bullets whistled by. As we approached Piusa Street, the disguised Germans told us to wave our handkerchiefs and call on the insurgents to surrender. And then a hysterical shout rose up from the crowd of women: “Poles, don’t shoot, don’t shoot, we are Polish women, don’t shoot, Poles!” There were Germans aiming at us from the windows of the first house on the left side of Piusa Street but, seeing the oddity of the procession, they refrained from shooting. In the next houses, we saw only insurgent berets and white-and-red armbands. To our surprise, the Poles didn’t shoot either, but kept bottles with incendiary liquid at hand. The events that followed were a matter of seconds. Reaching a small square at the junction of Piusa, Krucza and Mokotowska streets, we saw them giving us sudden signs to escape to the right. It is unclear whether the Germans started shooting at us first, or if we were the first to leap right before reaching the barricade. Turning back amid the horrible roaring and turmoil, I saw a sea of fire breathing onto us from the tank. The women riding on the tanks were jumping down and running, those walking behind lay down flat by the houses.

The outcome of that short battle was one burned tank and miraculously small losses in terms of people – a few women were killed, one burned to death and a couple of others had burns. The Germans retreated, taking the tanks and women from the back column with them. Through the shelters, we got to the Main Welfare Council point beside the hospital set up at Mokotowska Street 55. A few days later, I heard the same episode narrated by the London radio, in an unchanged version, exactly how we reported it in an interview at the hospital.

In addition, I have to end by saying that the women who remained on aleja Szucha and who got back with the fleeing Germans from the corner of Aleje Ujazdowskie and Piusa Street, were released the following day and ordered to go down Litewska and Marszałkowska streets to the insurgent side. I know that from the account of my mother, Irena Sroczyńska, who was in that group.

All trace was lost of the men taken from our house, as well as others taken to aleja Szucha at that time.