Warsaw, 15 April 1948. Judge Halina Wereńko, a member of the District Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Warsaw, interviewed the person named below as a witness, without taking an oath. Having been advised of the criminal liability for making false declarations, the witness testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Kazimierz Sergiusz Ceglarek|
|Parents’ names||Romuald and Stefania, née Krocin|
|Date of birth||24 February 1921 in Warsaw|
|Education||secondary trade school|
|Profession||office worker at the Warsaw Polish State Railway Authority|
|Place of residence||Warsaw, Rozbrat Street 34/26 flat 47|
|Citizenship and nationality||Polish|
During the Warsaw Uprising I lived at Szara Street 1 in Warsaw. From 1 August our quarter (Czerniakowska Street starting from Książęca Street to Łazienkowska Street, the even- numbered addresses along Rozbrat Street and the streets intersecting with it, right up to the Poniatowski Bridge) was taken over by the insurrectionists.
During the night from 14 to 15 September, following a determined attack from the Frascati Gardens on the one hand and an advance on the ZUS (Social Insurance Institution) building on the other, German units occupied our quarter. Between midnight and 1.00 a.m., a detachment of “Ukrainians” first set our house on fire, and only then ordered the residents to evacuate the building. There were only civilians in our house, and the Germans were not fired upon from it.
We were led out to an adjacent square at Szara Street 3, and from there through the Frascati Gardens to the cellars of the parliamentary hotel. There we found a group of some 3 thousand civilians who had been evicted from the following streets: Szara, Śniegocka, Rozbrat, Fabryczna, Przemysłowa, and Czerniakowska on the odd-numbered side. These people told me that the Germans had set nearly all of the houses in this quarter on fire, throwing out their residents. From the parliamentary hotel we were escorted by SS men (I recognised the unit by the death’s heads on the soldiers’ caps) to the courtyard of the Chief Inspectorate of the Armed Forces, located near the ruined wing of a building adjacent to the open-air kindergarten. The prisoners from Litewska Street later told me that it was on this very spot that civilians were murdered in August 1944. After maybe half an hour, we were taken away from the Inspectorate and arrayed along aleja Szucha – the women along the wall of the Inspectorate, and the men on the opposite side. First of all, foreigners – and only Volksdeutsche, Russians and Ukrainians were mentioned – were ordered to step out, and immediately after that, single men.
I found myself together with my brother, Mieczysław Ceglarek, in the group of single men who were detained by the Germans. My mother, Stefania Ceglarek, remained amongst the women, and I learned from her that the remaining men and women were transported to a transit camp in Pruszków. My group, which comprised 35 single men, was taken to the camp at No. 14 Litewska Street. There were no signs on the gate, just a sentry box and a searchlight. The guards said that this was a front-line penal camp.
The camp occupied two floors in the main building and the first floor of the annexe to the left of the entrance. It housed between 120 and 200 prisoners. When I arrived, there were some 60 – 80 prisoners; others came later. I soon learned that only two of them – Edward Szczepański, currently an employee of the gasworks, and Wendlak (residing at Piusa XI Street 10) – had been detained there since 1 August. These prisoners told me that in August groups from the camp were used to collect the bodies of civilians murdered in the open-air kindergarten and to place them on pyres in the ruined Inspectorate building. These prisoners were present at the shootings, and every eight days such a group would itself be executed by firing squad in order to cover up any traces of the crime. From amongst the group of prisoners from this period, which had numbered more than 100, only 12 remained alive – they were working in a different area.
I also heard that the prisoners burned the bodies of the murder victims in the Anc Pharmacy at Marszałkowska Street, on the corner of Oleandrów Street.
On the ground floor, in the corridor, and in the attic on the second floor in the house at Litewska Street 14, where the camp was situated, I saw piles of clothing, mainly men’s, but also women’s. I also saw the uniforms of tram drivers and railway men, and a great many men’s caps. The prisoners told me that this was the clothing of the people who were murdered in the open-air kindergarten. Initially, the clothing had been transported from the Inspectorate on wagons and dumped in the camp courtyard. Here it was sorted and loaded onto trucks. I also saw smaller quantities of clothing in the attic and in the corridor.
We were put to use soon after arriving at the camp. At first I was attached to a group of some ten prisoners digging a passage along the Inspectorate buildings at Sierpnia Street 6.
During the period from 25 September to mid-October 1944, a group of prisoners including myself buried bodies; I am certain that we did not work on 7 October. Once we spent a whole day taking apart a barricade at Aleje Ujazdowskie, in front of Trzech Krzyży Square.
Towards the end of September (I don’t remember the exact date), but before the capitulation of the Śródmieście district, I buried bodies in the square adjacent to the house at Wilanowska Street 14. There was a shell crater or bomb crater, and in it there were placed the bodies, mainly male, with AK armbands; there were more than 200 of them. We filled in the crater.
From the ground floor of the ‚Społem’ building at the corner of Wilanowska Street and Czerniakowska Street we removed some 200 male – and a few female – bodies that we buried in front of the building. Some of the corpses had AK armbands.
I don’t remember the date, but it was after the Śródmieście district capitulated, in the devastated ruins of a factory at Solec Street 53, we removed the body of a priest in a cassock carrying an AK armband, who had been hanged from iron bars (I don’t know his surname, but I recognised him as a chaplain-insurrectionist from our quarter), and those of two other men who had met the same fate. On the opposite side of the factory floor we cut down the hanging corpses of four women dressed in army camouflage coats and wearing AK armbands. We buried them in the square. In front of the house at Solec Street 43 we buried the bodies of a few men from the civilian population. Soldiers were removing jewellery from the corpses.
We collected a few hundred bodies that were lying in ones and twos in the flats and courtyards in the square between Wilanowska, Solec, Zagórna and Czerniakowska Streets, and buried them in front of houses or in courtyards. There were also several dozen bodies of soldiers from Berling’s army.
Around mid-October (I don’t remember the exact date) I and other prisoners were used to deliver ammunition to the front line at the Wisła, along the section from Zagórna Street to Wilanowska Street. In the second half of October prisoners from the camp were pressed into a technical police company, battalion no. sechs-drei, which was quartered at Litewska Street 11, and by the end of October 1944 at Żelazna Street, in St. Sophia’s Church. In the beginning, the camp’s commandant was a non-commissioned officer from the Gendarmerie (he had dark brown lapel badges on the collar of his uniform). I don’t know his surname. He was dismissed because – as the guards said – he was too lenient towards us.
I don’t remember the date, maybe towards the end of 1944, a certain Waluga, a Reichsdeutsch of Polish descent and a non-commissioned officer of the police, was appointed camp commandant; he would punch and beat the prisoners and overstrain them with work. The camp commandant was subordinate to a major who worked at the Staff. I never saw the major, but it was said that at first he would come around from Szucha Street, then later, after the Staff was moved in the second half of November, from a house on the corner of Oczki and Chałubińskiego Streets. Since the command headquarters had been moved in order to avoid artillery shelling from Praga, and since the Russian artillery was still bombarding it at its new location in the house on Chałubińskiego Street, it was suspected that the prisoners had a radio station and were sending messages. Our facility was searched by SS Oberleutnant Schultz (his surname was mentioned by the guards). Nothing was found, but our watches were taken away from us.
In the second half of October we were placed at the disposal of the Technical Company. Initially, they used me to prepare quarters, and when we were taking beds from St. Lazarus’ Hospital at Karolkowa Street, I saw half-burnt human bones in the rubble of the central pavilion. Subsequently, I was forced to drill holes for mines at St. Barbara’s Church, in the Brühl Palace, in the building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at Alberta Street, the Łazienki Palace, the Belweder, in the stock exchange building at Królewska Street, the school at the corner of Gizów and Wolska Streets, the water-tower at Koszykowa Street, and in the main building of St. Lazarus Hospital on Książęca Street.
In the first half of December 1944 I was able to get a different job allocation, as one of a group of electricians who were tasked with setting up the electrical system at the corner of Chmielna and Żelazna Streets. I remained there until 16 January 1945, when we were marched along the road towards Sochaczew. I escaped along the way.
Following the capitulation of the Śródmieście district in October 1944, I saw the work being carried out by a unit of German police, who were systematically setting fire to houses along a section of Mokotowska Street from Zbawiciela Square to Chopina Street and on Chopina Street. This unit was commanded by SS Oberleutnant Krüger: we knew him because he used to come to our camp.
At this point the report was brought to a close and read out.