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||Mieczysław Stefan Ceglarek|
|Parents’ names||Romuald and Stefania, née Krocin|
|Date of birth||1 January 1924 in Warsaw|
|Education||two semesters of secondary trade school|
|Citizenship and nationality||Polish|
|Profession||caretaker at an import-export company|
|Place of residence||Warsaw, Rozbrat Street 34/26, flat 47|
During the Warsaw Uprising I lived at Szara Street 1. Up until 14 September, our quarter (the ZUS [Social Insurance Institution] building, the gasworks at Ludna Street, Solec Street between Okrąg Street and Mączna Street, Wilanowska Street, Zagórna Street and Rozbrat Street on the even- numbered side, Czerniakowska Street from Książęca Street to Łazienkowska Street) was occupied by the insurrectionists. German attacks were conducted from the direction of the Frascati Gardens. During the night from 14 to 15 September the German units attacked from the Frascati Gardens and, having taken over the ZUS building from that side, proceeded to occupy our area.
There were only civilians in our house, and the Germans were not fired upon from it. On 15 September at 1:00 a.m. a detachment of “Ukrainians” turned up and set fire to our house, after which the soldiers ordered the civilians to evacuate the building.
We were led out to an adjacent square at Szara Street 3, and from there to the Frascati Gardens and the cellars of the parliamentary hotel. There we found a group of civilians from Szara Street, Czerniakowska Street 209, 215 and 225, and other houses from our quarter. At around 6.00 a.m. a group of some 3 thousand people were led out of the cellars of the parliamentary hotel by an SS detachment, passing through the Ujazdowski Hospital into aleja Szucha, to the courtyard at the devastated wing of the building of the Chief Inspectorate of the Armed Forces (aleja Szucha 12/14), adjacent to an open-air kindergarten. We stood there for approximately half an hour, and were then led into aleja Szucha. The SS man standing next to me told some crying woman, in German, that now we would not come to any harm. I don’t know German, but somebody standing nearby translated for me.
The women were ordered to stand along the wall of the Inspectorate, and the men on the opposite side. People of foreign nationalities were ordered to step forward. Next, single men were instructed to step forward. Together with my brother, Kazimierz, I found myself in a group of some 30 single men, who were marched back under escort onto the premises of the Inspectorate. From there, a German of higher rank ordered us to proceed to Litewska Street. The men and women who remained at aleja Szucha were transported to a transit camp in Pruszków. I learned this from my mother, Stefania Ceglarek, who was in the group of women.
Our group of single men was led to the former orphanage at Litewska Street 14, which now housed the camp. The prisoners and guards told me that this was a labour camp. Others said that it was a front-line penal camp. Some 80 prisoners were held there. Two weeks after our arrival, new groups of prisoners came from nearby Mokotów, and a few from the Starówka, so that during my stay the number of detainees rose to approximately 200.
After our arrival, we received a meal and were immediately put to work. At first I carried water. Later on, in September, I don’t remember the date, but within ten days, I worked in a group that was sent to bury bodies. My brother Kazimierz started working together with me, however he was occupied for considerably longer periods. I stopped working in this group before the capitulation of the Śródmieście district.
First of all, at Solec Street 41 – I don’t remember the date – we buried the bodies of two women and a man, civilians, which were lying near the cellar windows. At Wilanowska Street, near number 14 (where the insurrectionists’ command was previously quartered), there was a square, and nearby, in a bomb crater, we found a pile of male bodies, some of which were dressed in German uniforms and had AK armbands. At a rough estimate, there might have been a few hundred […], 400 men and women. We covered up a pit at the corner of Czerniakowska and Wilanowska Streets.
From the ground floor, garages, and courtyard of the ‚Społem’ building we gathered approximately 100 male and female bodies. Cieślikowski and the caretaker of our house (both presently deceased) told me that these people had been murdered by Vlasovtsy soldiers after the Germans had occupied the area. At Zagórna and Idzikowskiego Streets we buried a few single bodies, mainly of men and soldiers from general Berling’s army.
Following the capitulation of the Śródmieście district, that is, in October 1944, I found myself in a group of some ten prisoners; we were used to build bunkers on the banks of the Wisła, under artillery fire from Praga. One of the labourers was wounded in the foot.
During the period from 15 October to 7 December 1944 I performed maintenance work at the camp, while at night I was sent, together with other prisoners, to carry ammunition to the front line on the Wisła. In the first half of December I notified the camp commandant that I had a heart ailment. I was sent to a medical board, where I was inspected by a Wehrmacht doctor and subsequently, together with a few other prisoners, released from the camp.
Upon my arrival at the camp, it was under the control of the SS. The camp commandant received orders from aleja Szucha. We were guarded by SS men. Following the capitulation [of the Śródmieście district] a German from the technical police, one Waluga, whose rank I don’t remember, became camp commandant. Waluga’s appointment coincided with our SS guards being replaced by technical police. The Germans appointed Piotr Nowakowski (I don’t know his current address) camp Dolmetscher.
(The witness was shown a photograph, card no. 89, from a book entitled The Destruction of Warsaw, with the caption: ‚The commanders of a demolition unit rest during the destruction of Warsaw’). I recognise the two uniformed men in the forefront. Both were from the technical police, and they frequently came to the camp for inspections and watched the prisoners work. I don’t know their surnames.
Even before the capitulation of the Śródmieście district (I don’t remember the date) prisoners were taken from out camp to drill holes for mines at the Main Railway Station. Subsequently, other groups were used to drill mine holes in other buildings in Warsaw. My brother Kazimierz worked for some time in such a group.
I heard from our guards that the company commander that was burning down Warsaw was an Oberleutnant of the technical police, Krüger. I saw him frequently when he came to the camp, where he would punch and beat the prisoners if he thought that they were working too slowly. He beat me up once, too. I heard that before the uprising Krüger lived at 6. Sierpnia Street in Warsaw. I remember the surname of a major, Vogel (if my memory does not fail me), he was the camp commandant.
At this point the report was brought to a close and read out.