The seventh day of the trial
Witness Leon Banach, 41 years of age, residing in Łódź, official, relationship to the parties: none, sworn.
The Presiding Judge: Will the witness please tell the Tribunal what he knows in connection with this matter.
Witness: May I have a specific question? I have so much material to share that I do not know where to start.
The Presiding Judge: The witness was a Pawiak prisoner for several years. Please tell us what you experienced and observed while at the Pawiak. When were you arrested?
Witness: 30 March 1940. I remained in the clutches of the Gestapo until 17 July 1944, till my escape. I was arrested in connection with the Koszykowa Street 50 case, reported by a Gestapo informer. All the men were arrested in flat number 8. They transported the detainees first to Daniłowiczowska Street, after a month to Mokotów, and then to the Pawiak, where I stayed for the rest of the time.
The Presiding Judge: Did they interrogate the witness in Aleja Szucha?
Witness: On 30 April 1940, they found nothing particularly incriminating on me. They suspected alleged involvement in some organization – which we did not belong to – a radio station, reading leaflets, things we had not heard of. At first, they showed me a leaflet: they told me that I knew it and had read it. I said I did not know it. They asked about a radio, and I said that I did not know anything about any radio. The whole interrogation was accompanied by beating; on one side [was] the interpreter, and on the other, a blonde Gestapo officer wearing glasses; [they] were smashing my head and face as [much as] they could. I did not confess to anything. After this beating, I remained calm. They kicked me out into the corridor and took the next person [in for interrogation] from this case, Dobrzyński. After some time, Dobrzyński returned bleeding and they called me again. I came up... “Now we know everything. You are telling lies, we will show you who we are.” At that point, the thug had a thick cane rod and started striking me with it. They told me to lie down. I did. The other helped with his fist. They started beating me. I could not care less about it. I was so battered and convinced that my sad end was near that I sighed: may God’s will be done. They started beating me terribly. Finally, they stopped and asked me again about those things. I kept saying I didn’t know. The thrashing began again. They were sweaty, exhausted; myself… all beaten up. I started to get up. They started beating my face. The thug says: “Anyway, we know everything, you’ll confess.” At some point I raised my hand to my eyes and nose to wipe myself, and then I got a blow under my eye, right in the bone, with the other end of the stick, so [hard] that I lost my vision in that eye. Immediately and instinctively, I reached my hand out and saw that something had grown under my eye. They said: “We’ll talk again.” They threw me out of the room and took me to the “tram” on Aleja Szucha. There, I met a female prisoner who said: “What a nice treatment!” I said: “Well, tough luck for me”. This lady was asking for the address, but I would manage. I was very weak. I asked for some water. I’m not sure whether my appearance aroused pity in the Wachmann [guard]; [it must have been] enough, that he gave me some water. I refreshed myself. That was my first interrogation.
The Presiding Judge: Did the witness see other people treated in a similar way?
Witness: Regarding people that I saw later, I believe that although what happened to me was very painful – I could not sleep, my whole body was bruised and my cellmates would apply towels and compresses to my body – it is, however, nothing compared to what I saw later; I believe that what happened to me was a relatively small thing. I saw people butchered. As for me, however, I was able to walk away on my own. But there were people who were brought in in such a state that either they had breathed their last breath in the prison van or had been beaten to death on Aleja Szucha. I can give you a number of names. Or they were transferred in such a state that after a few hours, or sometimes after a few days, they perished in the Pawiak. These people usually had shattered bones, their whole bodies were bruised, and their buttocks were in shreds – pus-filled holes so big you could put your hand in them. They could not sleep; there was a terrible stench coming from the pus, unbearable. I also saw cases of burns; you could tell criminal tools had been used. There were prisoners whose nails had been pulled out. Their hands had been crushed in doors that were slammed, causing their limbs to be crushed. People were so butchered that they could not move. Special measures were used against women. They were told to do squats, endlessly. They brought in a woman who had done so many squats that she could not move at all and became completely powerless. The next day, they took this lady for interrogation. They brought her back, they wanted to lift her, and she was screaming. Her body was in such a [bad] state because of fatigue that it was not possible to touch her. As far as I’m concerned, in terms of harassment, I had punitive exercises in September 1940. The Scharführers at the Pawiak bullied people on purpose. The Polish staff at the Pawiak were friendly and respectful at that time. They would come to show us that we mattered, but also to carry out the punitive exercises. A three-day punitive exercise was ordered. I used to be fit, strong, and resilient, however, these exercises put me through the mill so that I couldn’t sleep for two nights because of muscle pain. If someone had told me that I would not be able to move after such exercises, I would not have believed them. My muscles were strangely swollen, especially my biceps. Your arms became [so] weak, you were lying on your stomach. German thugs would take turns and beat people with bykowce [whips]. These punitive exercises consisted of squats, frog jumps, running, and exercises that made people with heart problems fall down unconscious. Some had to be carried back; those who were stronger dragged their feet somehow. I couldn’t get dressed or feed myself, and I could only raise my hands a few decimeters. No more than that. This was, however, nothing.
Speaking of exercises, I want to mention some special punitive exercises in particular. I mean such things as the horrifying exercises on cinders [hot coals]. In the prison yard, there was a heap of fuming, red hot cinders, several meters high, which had been thrown out of the boiler room. Zander, but mainly Bürkl, carried out those exercises. Prisoners had to crawl onto the heap. Seeing the fuming and red hot heap, they refused. There was a shower of insults and beatings, and they had to crawl. At the top, they stood up, dusted the ash off and put out their burning clothes. That made Bürkl – a half-crazy man – laugh. Those burnt people then had to crawl down the heap. Then they were told to get undressed and run naked into the bathhouse, where hot water was running. The prisoners were reluctant. So then they were beaten, shoved, and alternating boiling hot and cold water was poured over them. Burned and hurt, they tried to escape from the boiling water, but the wachmajsters [sergeants] forced them back, so they had to return under the boiling water. Then, burned, they had to quickly run to their clothes, but these were all mixed up. On the command: “One. Two. Three!” they were supposed to get dressed. They grabbed the first garment they could find, threw it over themselves and rushed to their cells. It was an atrocious exercise.
There was one other thing: the so-called baptism of the Jews. It was 1942. The Pawiak was in the ghetto. They caught Jews on the streets and brought them over to the Pawiak, or they took those being released from the Pawiak. The wachmajster would ask at the gate: “Are you a Jew?” “Yes, I am” “Do you want to be baptized?” The Jew would cringe. Then he was told: “We will baptize you.” Next thing, they took him, shoving and beating him. Next, they brought buckets of water to be poured over him. If he had a beard, it was set on fire with matches. While he tried to put out the flames, he was battered, kicked, and beaten up. Then, such a “baptized” Jew was thrown out of the gate and they set the dogs on him or shot at him.
There were special torments. Once, they summoned to the office a well-known old prisoner of the Pawiak called Bobleża, and read the death sentence out to him. Wincing, the prisoner did not believe it, and he walked over to them, asking whether it was true. They grabbed him, took him to the yard, stood him next to the wall, and Zugzieher [?] pulled out a pistol, while the another stood on the sidelines throwing paper dipped in a red ink at the prisoner. At the same moment, the bang of shots, the screams of the prisoners and the yells of the wachmajsters were heard simultaneously. These were some of the different entertainments they had.
Life in the Pawiak was really hard. Little is said about it today. But it was harder than in the concentration camps due to the fact that the prisoners in the Pawiak did not know the day or the hour. In the camps, they asked God to keep them from catching typhus, dysentery, diarrhea, [and generally] from falling into disfavor. In the Pawiak, there were periods of shipping people off to death. Überführung [transfer] to the ghetto. No one was sure of their life. Living in the Pawiak was extremely debilitating and exhausting. Prisoners prayed and asked God to get them out of there as soon as possible.
I shall mention the vehicles, or rather ambulances, which would transfer prisoners to Aleja Szucha. The returning passengers were injured, bloodied, [and] often dead.
[Regarding] interrogations in the Pawiak: Maybe there were fewer of them there. There were two or three interrogation rooms. Sometimes I was listening, and often, after such interrogations, I saw broken chairs, sticks, and overturned tables. I would hear some shouting and then see these poor victims of the butchery. For example, I can recall one interrogation summarily performed. It was not questioning, [it was] more like some tragic comedy. It took place after the action of 17 to 18 May 1943. It was fake questioning, just to show that something was being done. Completely unnecessary. So why all this slaughter and torment [when] they should rather have finished with them quickly. But the idea was to demonstrate to the world that everything was in order; that these were Polish bandits; people from the Widerstandsbewegung [resistance movement]; that these were antisocial individuals.
How was the interrogation held? It took place in the 4th ward. The whole ward was emptied. They strengthened the Gestapo. They fetched Gestapo officers from Radom, Częstochowa, and other places. The questioning began. There were a lot of people because they had arrested five hundred people in Warsaw; it had been one of the biggest actions. All day and all night, nonstop, cars arrived along with new arrests. After one interrogation, one prisoner was brought in to the so-called bakery, a certain Grzela, a simple peasant, and there he breathed his last [breath]. Before he died, he had asked them: “What do you want from me?” In the end, he was just answering ‘yes’ to everything that they were saying, and he asked God for an easy death. Next to him, I saw two prisoners, squirming in pain and dying.
I will mention now the gruesome interrogation of Ms. Szczukówna. She was many times questioned on Aleja Szucha. Other prisoners and doctors told me what a poor thing this [person] Szczukówna was, and how terrified she was of these interrogations. She asked the doctor to get something done so as not to be questioned anymore because she could not withstand it, as they were beating and tormenting her so terribly. Her last interrogation took place in the Pawiak. The Gestapo came and called her into the administrative office, then into the interrogation room. There, she was terribly butchered because she screamed, then she stopped. The attendant said that the wachmann [guard] repeatedly fetched buckets of cold water because she had passed out. She was tied to the stool and beaten. When she fainted, they brought her back [to consciousness] with water, and then again beat her. They were asking her about this and that, then beating her and bringing her [back] around. Eventually, the door opened and I could see how Szczukówna was carried out by the grey- haired Gestapo officer. She was wobbling and leaning against the bloodstained wall. Then she walked a few steps, but had no strength, and the Gestapo officer pushed her, uttering extremely insulting words which I do not want to repeat in front of Your Honor. She fell onto a chair in the corner supporting her head. After a few moments, she bent her head down and at some point she remained motionless. I turned to the wachmann to give her water, but he snapped at me with insults, saying that ‘such and such’ could die. Finally, he called the hospital, the prison doctor came in, looked at her, checked her pulse, and stated that she was dead. The body was taken to the morgue. The way in which the interrogation had been performed was really awful.
As far as the prisoners in solitary confinement are concerned, many suicides occurred. In bigger cells where there were other cellmates, there was some consolation; anyways, they were guarded and had no way of taking their lives. It is because of such murderous interrogations that there were a number of suicides in the isolation rooms. I shall give you the names of several women who took their lives in the Pawiak after interrogation. They were as follows: Wasilewska, a twenty-year-old girl who hanged herself on a radiator; Mackiewicz, her sister; and Białokur.
There were a number of recovered suicides, but often these people became disabled. There was an incident of veins and tendons being cut, after which the prison doctors amputated the hand and the prisoner still lived. With all their souls, the doctors were trying to help, but often did not know what to do – whether to save a prisoner or help them to die. It was a problem of the conditions we were living in.
I want to present to the Supreme Tribunal the ways of persecution which speak most to the heart. There were also cases when people came to the Pawiak from Garwolin, Łowicz, etc. Many a time these people had been traveling in a car for several hours. They were feeble, half-starved, unshaven and dirty, and infested with lice. There were quite a few sick, beaten, and slaughtered prisoners.
For example, I remember such an incident that moved me – an old prisoner who had seen many things – very much. Actually, at that time, one lived in such conditions that one tried not to care about anything but suffered anyway. Myself, I must admit that sometimes at night I couldn’t sleep and wanted to commit suicide. But, as I said, there was a case when they brought the forester. He was an old man, aged around sixty. They brought him with a whole group of prisoners. Straight away, I realized that he was exhausted. The wachmajster was pushing him, but he could not lift himself up. He kept falling, despite the wachmajster getting at him. And in the end, I could see that this man’s whole back looked like one bowlful of blood, pus, and stool. The odor spread all around him. There was his daughter with him, who kept calling to him, wanting to keep his spirit up. I stepped aside, wanting not to show how it had moved me. You could not show others how you suffered, but I could not hide it, I could not stop the tears falling from my eyes. Eventually, even the wachmajster, having seen his whole body decomposing, let him be taken to the hospital, even though it was not allowed. Obviously, this man died in the hospital. I am giving here a number of small details that, as a matter of fact, are endless.
The Presiding Judge: What were the housing conditions like?
Witness: The conditions were terrible. Myself, I can tell you about how it was on the 7th ward, where I was [situated] from the beginning, in 1940. There were no mattresses, but only some wet mats or carpet. In other wards, there were no mattresses at all. The cells were overcrowded. There were seven or eight people in the isolation rooms intended for one or two people. They sat with their legs tucked up.
In the 6th ward, there were seven-person cells – but with thirty-five, thirty-six, and even thirty-seven prisoners staying there. We slept lying one next to another, on our sides or on our backs. It was very hot because 1940 was a very hot year. When one of us got up at night, they could no longer find their place later. It was so tight. We lacked mattresses, and even straw, although the Polish staff, together with the Polish Patronat, tried to get this straw or whatever [for us] so we could lie down. The Pawiak was dirty, lousy, bug-ridden, and swarming with fleas. I remember when once I went to the ward, I could not rid myself of the fleas.
The Presiding Judge: What were the conditions of nourishment?
Witness: Nourishment was bad. Two one-hundred gram portions of bread were given daily, along with coffee and soup at noon. The soup was mostly made of rutabaga and some potatoes, but anyone who found such a potato was extremely lucky; usually the prisoners were given bread soup. Later, the situation improved slightly, when the Patronat went out of his way and tried in different ways to approach these men, whether with cash or other things, to let prisoners receive some potatoes, or something similar. If the prisoners had been only on the diet received from the Germans, they would have perished very quickly. If there are prisoners today who came out of the prisons and camps, they are alive only thanks to the parcels received through the Patronat, because thanks to the Patronat, you could receive food parcels.
The Presiding Judge: The witness mentioned people being transferred from the prison to the ghetto for execution. Did those people have any sentence issued?
Witness: As far as those people were concerned, they had no sentence issued. Up until the last moment they did not know where or why they were going. Here we should say that the case of transport was handled in a very deceitful way. The transports were of two or even three types. The first type, [which was] very rare, was a transfer to the Durchgangslager [transit camp] on Skaryszewska Street – I remember one which consisted of only a few dozen people. The second type of transfer was to the concentration camps. Finally, the third type was death transfers. They did not differ in any way, and the prisoners never knew where they were being transferred to. They usually thought that the transfer was to a camp.
There are known transfers from 20-21 June 1940, to Palmiry. I watched them from a Pawiak window. These people also did not know where they were going. They expected to go to a camp. So, on June 20-21 one such transfer was sent to a camp and the other went to Palmiry. The idea was not to show which transfer was being sent to death, because someone could still send news from the camp. The intention was thus not to show the Polish people that a given group was going to be executed. There were cases when prisoners who were sent to die were told to take things, and even mercifully received some bread. I remember one such transport when people received bread, only to be taken to the ghetto with all their belongings to be executed. This way, the transfer records did not say anything about how many [people] had been executed.
In terms of the Standgericht [court martial] and announcing court judgments, many cellmates who went through this did not even know that it was a court. They would gather together a group of people in the chapel and they would read out their full names, asking whether they pleaded guilty or not; then, they would take them back. Only later we, the older prisoners, figured out that it had been a Standgericht. One such trial, for example, was held in September 1940. Some 70 people were present.
The Presiding Judge: Was the witness also present?
Witness: Our group [was there] too. The elite from Aleja Szucha came with the typists. The procedure was limited to reading the names, collecting personal data, stating the reasons why one was in jail, and asking whether the person pleaded guilty or not. Whether they pleaded guilty or not, it really did not matter. Many people did not know that it was a court. After this Standgericht, there was transport to Palmiry on 17 September. The prisoners thought that they just wanted to see them – they didn’t know that they were going to get their brains blown out. I spoke with Polish przodownicy [policemen]; they also did not know what was happening. Only later could you realize that these had been death transfers. I talked with the prisoners. In my cell there was a villager from Pyry who also was in the transfer for execution. He told me that he was a wealthy farmer and he was in jail because he had been accused by Volksdeutsche of being an enemy of the Germans. Another man was in jail, as he told me, because he had paid a contribution to the Red Cross. The [Germans] said it was meant for another organization. He didn’t expect it, but he was also executed.
The Presiding Judge: Without issuing any sentence?
Witness: No one knew that it was a Standgericht. It may have been in order to take it down on record.
The Presiding Judge: Did Gestapo officers from Aleja Szucha come to this so- called Standgericht?
Witness: Yes, they did.
The Presiding Judge: Can the witness remember any faces from that time?
Witness: Yes, but the names have slipped my mind. A certain Obersturmführer, a handsome stylish man, was presiding over it in 1940 – 1941.
The Presiding Judge: Can you recognize any faces among the defendants?
Witness: No, I cannot recognize any. There were some cases when even those who had a Standgericht survived. For example, Skwara, a well-known Warsaw tailor, had a Standgericht and the wachmajsters were promoting him as a good specialist; or Dr. Śliwicki – he was sentenced to death twice after a Standgericht. I saw in the letter: Zygmunt is being sent to death, a good doctor who treated the Gestapo. I did not tell them that he was going to his death, but I felt that they themselves were saving him by calling Aleja Szucha and telling them that a good doctor was needed in the Pawiak. This was to save him. He was taken twice and luckily avoided death. So, there were the occasional instances of salvage.
Prisoners who did not sit in jail for long – the new ones – did not know this. All the more, later when Standgerichts took place, it was in absentia, without even seeing the prisoner.
Prosecutor Siewierski: From what [date] to what date was the witness in the Pawiak, and what functions did the witness carry out?
Witness: I was in the Pawiak after my stay in Mokotów, from 27 May 1940 to 17 July 1944, that is, until my escape. My situation was so bleak that even the wachmans, who after so many years showed me some kindness (since, with nice handwriting, I sometimes wrote wishes for their Geburtstagi [birthday]), enough that, after so many years, they wanted to save me, but then were nodding their heads, indicating that my situation was lost. They said they felt sorry for me for what would happen to me. Until then, I had used the help of Polish people, so I ran away on 17 July.
Regarding my functions, I served as an assistant in the administrative office in the ward in August 1940. They asked for those who knew German and wrote well. I did not want to jump in, but my cellmates pushed me, and then they took me to the office. They liked my character. There were Polish staff, and repeatedly they called me for help. When the prisoner working there was transferred from the Pawiak to Mokotów, I was employed to keep the index. I recorded the names of the new prisoners, those who were sent, died, or were accidentally released.
Prosecutor Siewierski: So, you worked in the administrative office and had a record of those who were there?
Witness: Then the German Gestapo staff came, putting the Poles in the background. I was hanging around this Polish administrative office, and they were taking me to interpret. In April 1941, I was told to stay there, and so I did. There was such a problem when I fell into disfavor with Untersturmführer Heiss. He learned that I was an officer; he then ordered I be removed and to verify whether I was indeed an officer. I had two cases. I admitted that I was. They asked me whether I knew about the obligation to report this. I said yes, but I was already then in prison. When Heiss was removed, I was taken again to the administrative office and performed those functions to the end of my time there.
Prosecutor Siewierski: I have no more questions.
Judge Rybczyński: Does the witness know who was responsible for the prison administration?
Witness: I remember that there was a small Hauptsturmführer Füssel, in glasses, who especially took care of the prison. He came often.
Judge Rybczyński: Where was his office?
Witness: I do not know; he came from Aleja Szucha.
Earlier, there was the commanding officer who was in charge of the Pawiak. This officer was more administrative. Sturmführers performed executions. More often, they spoke as commanders when it came to these matters of murder and executions.
The Presiding Judge: Defendant Meisinger, [say if you recognize these people].
Judge Grudziński: Will the witness once again repeat all the names of the Gestapo officers and policemen who were at the Pawiak. All that you know.
Witness: Grabert, SS-Obersturmführer.
Defendant Meisinger: No, I do not [remember].
Witness: Junk, SS-Obersturmführer.
Defendant Meisinger: The name sounds familiar to me.
Witness: Pitsch, Hauptsturmführer.
Defendant Meisinger: In which year?
Witness: In 1942, 1943.
Judge Grudziński: We are interested in the time between 1940-1941.
Defendant Meisinger: Yes, I do.
Defendant Meisinger: I also remember him.
Defendant Meisinger: No, I do not.
Defendant Meisinger: In which year?
Witness: In 1941, 1942, and 1943. He was shot dead on the streets of Warsaw. Heppner.
Defendant Meisinger: Yes, I do. What was his rank?
Witness: Unterscharführer. High Berliner.
Defendant Meisinger: Yes, I do.
Judge Grudziński: Who was supposed to be the Pawiak’s commander?
Witness: Gottschalk, Obersturmführer.
Defendant Meisinger: In which year?
Defendant Meisinger: It must have been after my departure.
Judge Grudziński: Defendant Meisinger, what formation did all the enumerated here belong to?
Defendant Meisinger: All belonged to the Gestapo. Therefore, they had nothing to do with the management of our prisons.
Judge Grudziński: Was the defendant their superior?
Defendant Meisinger: No, I was not. Only in this regard, that I was responsible for the secret police.
Judge Grudziński: Apart from the people from the civil administration, in the economic section there were Germans. Can the witness list them throughout your stay?
(Witness is thinking.)
Who provided food supplies for prisoners?
Witness: The Polish staff dealt with the delivery of food supplies. They were employed there to the end.
Judge Grudziński: Did you have contact with the Polish guards? Did you hear from them who was doing it?
Witness: I did not talk to them about these matters specifically.
Judge Grudziński: - Defendant Fischer, was the Abteilung Justiz [Justice Department] responsible for prisons, and to what extent?
Defendant Fischer: No, it was not. The Abteilung Justiz was not responsible for prisons in any way. It was the action of the German secret police Gestapo.
Witness: I heard about the Abteilung Justiz. Polish staff who worked in the Pawiak told me that the Abteilung had something to do with it.
Prosecutor Siewierski: Can the witness explain whether there were the representatives of the Administration of Prisons present, which was part of the Abteilung Justiz, and what was the scope of their actions?
Witness: The Polish staff who stayed in the Pawiak were under this Administration of Prisons; I did hear about it. It had something to do with the Abteilung Justiz. How it was done, I don’t know. The Polish staff was appointed not by the Gestapo, but by the Abteilung Justiz.
Prosecutor Siewierski: What about the economic side?
Witness: I don’t know for certain. It seems to me that they were receiving [money] from the Abteilung Justiz. I cannot say exactly.
Attorney Chmurski: Was the prison Patronat functioning at the time you were in the Pawiak?
Witness: The Patronat was working, but its role was very limited. With its entire heart and soul, the Patronat was trying to help, but the Germans were obstructing them at every step; for example, not allowing them to deliver packages to all the prisoners. The Patronat took an interest in the children that the Gestapo wanted to get rid of from the Pawiak in order to execute their mothers. These ladies arrived with fear, and when they were talking in the kitchen, storehouse, or with the administrative office, they constantly had ‘guardian angels’ around, so they could not pass on or learn anything. Sometimes, you had to pay with money if you wanted to do something. The Germans allowed them only to do small things, such as work with the food provision, because in this way they were relieved.
Attorney Chmurski: Did you have personal contact with the Patronat?
Witness: Yes, I had [personal contact].
Attorney Chmurski: And you are basing this on that?
Witness: I was often interpreting conversations, and I can say that the role of these ladies was hard. Many of them were even arrested.
Attorney Chmurski: Who was responsible for the Patronat?
The Presiding Judge: I revoke this question. It is not for the witness.
Attorney Chmurski: Therefore, let me ask the defendant, Fischer, who was responsible for the Patronat?
Defendant Fischer: This is the first time I have heard about this Patronat, from the indictment.
Judge Grudziński: What prisons were the district responsible for?
Defendant Fischer: I cannot tell.
Judge Grudziński: In any case, there was the Mokotów prison. Did the defendant take an interest in the prisons or food, or did you visit these prisons?
Defendant Fischer: I once saw the prison in Mokotów. The head of my office also visited it. I was also once in Siedlce, I think. It seems that there was also a prison there, and I told the soltys [village elder] to make a report.
Attorney Wagner: Does the witness remember when the Polish guards were removed from the Pawiak?
Witness: Initially, they were only Polish guards. This lasted till November 1940. Then the SS arrived in the Pawiak and they began to tour the building. We were afraid that it meant something bad. And indeed, these SS men became wachmans and the Polish staff began to shrink. Arrests began.
The Polish staff was transferred to other prisons. They became only auxiliary staff for the Germans; [they (the Poles) were the] good souls at the Pawiak. The Gestapo took over the administrative office in 1941. There was Polish and German staff in the wards, but in 1942, the Ukrainian wachmans came and the Polish staff was completely removed from the male ward. In the meantime, arrests were carried out that ended up with deportation to the camps and to Palmiry. Only a small number of Polish staff remained, feeling intimidated that they would face the same fate. Some did not come to work. The Gestapo searched for them, but they had packed their bags and were hiding. Those who stayed till the end were actually co-prisoners because, even though they were able to go outside the gate, they were often in more trouble than us.
The Presiding Judge: I have no more questions. The witness can step down.