Warsaw, 31 May 1948. Judge Halina Wereńko, a member of the District Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes, 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||Jan Madejak|
|Parents’ names||Teofil and Anna, née Żuchowska|
|Date of birth||20 October 1916 in Drwalewice, district of Grójec|
|Citizenship and nationality||Polish|
|Place of residence||Warsaw, Krucza Street 3, flat 6|
When the Warsaw Uprising broke out, I was in my apartment at Czerniakowska Street 92 in Warsaw (near Nowosielecka Street). On 1 August 1944 at 17.00 the insurrectionists attacked the pumping station at Czerniakowska Street 224 and the German barracks at Agrykola and Ułańska streets. At midnight the gunfire subsided, and from the next day on I only saw German soldiers in the vicinity of our house. On 19 August at 9.00 a detachment of Germans ran into our house and ordered everyone to leave their apartments, which – as they said – they were going to burn down.
I cannot specify the soldiers’ unit, nor do I remember their uniforms.
The residents left, taking their belongings with them. At the time, the entire civilian population from Czerniakowska Street 108 to the corner of Nowosielecka was being evicted.
In the evening of the same day our apartments were set on fire. We were led to aleja Szucha. Women with children and personal belongings (horse-drawn cabs, cows) were driven on foot in the direction of Okęcie, and subsequently to Ursus. The men (some 200) were taken to the courtyard of the house at aleja Szucha 25. Here we were taken over by other Germans.
I did not notice their unit. Nor did I look in detail at their uniforms. I think that they must have been Gestapo men. I only remember the death’s heads on their caps. We stood in groups of five. Our identity cards were checked. Five or six elderly men, aged around 60, were sent back into the street to join the women. Once our identity cards had been checked, we returned to our respective five-man groups. Some time later, one of the Germans demanded that a hairdresser come forward from the group. Brzeziński stepped forward and was taken to the salon at aleja Szucha 25. Shortly after that a bricklayer was called for, and a few men from out group came forward. Having checked the identity cards, a German soldier detained me. He took me with him to the premises of the former Chief Inspectorate of the Armed Forces at aleja Szucha 12/14.
I don’t know what happened with the group of men from Czerniakowska Street whom I left in the courtyard of the house at aleja Szucha 25. I only know that I have been unable to locate any of my friends from Czerniakowska Street who were in this group.
The German led me to the second wing of the Inspectorate building (counting from the open-air kindergarten). Deeper in the building, from the side of Aleje Ujazdowskie, I was ordered to set meat hooks in the cellar wall. A few men were sent to help me from the camp at Litewska Street. They were dressed in grey overalls and said that they slept at aleja Szucha 16. At around 13.00 I heard some noise and voices coming from the courtyard of the Inspectorate, and then shots. The prisoners who were working with me told me that civilian men were being shot. I didn’t see the event myself, for you could not look into the courtyard from this part of the building. In the evening, at approximately 18.00, a German took me from my work and led me to the Gestapo building (aleja Szucha 25), to a cell in the cellars, the so-called tramcar. While passing through the courtyard I saw that the men from my group were no longer there; others had taken their place. I recognised a colleague of mine, Eugeniusz Operski, who lived on Podchorążych Street. He managed to tell me that he had been waiting since 17.00. I was placed in the second tramcar in the row. The first cell housed some 15 prisoners from Litewska Street. As I later learned, the Germans used them do burn the bodies of murdered civilians in the ruined building of the Inspectorate.
I don’t know whether there were any people in the other cells.
After half an hour I was conveyed to a third cell, where I found an office worker. A Gestapo man beat us up as punishment for talking, and I was taken to the next cell, where there sat some 30 sick men from the group of civilians taken from Podchorążych Street. On the morning of 20 August a German arrived and took me to work. My work was administered by a German by the surname of Schweizer, a non-commissioned officer; I cannot specify his rank. I worked in the second building from the side of the courtyard, between the second and third buildings of the wing of the Inspectorate. In the evening, at approximately 18.00, the German led me away for the night to the house at aleja Szucha 16, where my helpers, the prisoners from the camp at Litewska Street, slept. When going to the exit of aleja Szucha 12/14, I saw how three groups of civilian men were led into the courtyard, between the first and second buildings of the Inspectorate; each group comprised some 15 people.
On 21 August I was taken once again to work in the Inspectorate. I collected fertiliser in the cellars in the second building from the side of the first courtyard. When the courtyard was empty I saw that more or less in the middle of the destroyed Inspectorate building adjacent to the open-air kindergarten, from the side of the courtyard between the first and second buildings, three boards with crosspieces had been set against the upper ground floor. During the day I heard voices and shots coming from the first courtyard, but I don’t now remember the time or their number. I did not look through the window.
The next day I was working on the first floor, carrying furniture. I didn’t hear any shots on that day.
On 23 August after dinner a new bricklayer arrived, one Michał Raszczyk, and from then on we worked and slept together in the cellar of the second house on the corner from the side of the first courtyard. Świderski, a butcher, also slept with us. After 18.00, when we had finished work, there was movement and commotion in the courtyard. Schweizer covered up the window of our room, which opened onto the courtyard, with parcels. I heard a command given in Polish: ‚undress, quick’. Salvoes were fired more or less half an hour later. I did not look out of the window at the time. I don’t remember how many times I heard this repeated and how long it all took.
On the morning of the next day, 24 August, Raszczyk and I were painting two sections of the cellar in which we slept. In the morning, I don’t remember the hour, I heard a group of men being brought into the courtyard between the first and second buildings of the Inspectorate. I looked out of the window and saw a German in uniform who repeatedly shouted the order: ‚undress’ at a group of civilian men. The men undressed near the board set against the upper ground floor in the first Inspectorate building, situated near the open- air kindergarten. I did not look through the window again.
I did not see whether the men entered the demolished building using the boards placed against the window. After some time I heard shots.
I don’t know how many groups were brought in.
I don’t remember with certainty whether it was on the same day in the evening, or on the next day in the evening that I heard another group of men being led into the first courtyard and told to strip. One of the men was crying terribly, and screaming that he wanted to live. From the time I began sleeping in the Inspectorate building, in the evenings I would smell the whiff of burning human flesh and see smoke rising from the building adjacent to the open-air kindergarten.
Over the next few days we worked in the first courtyard, and I didn’t see any groups being led there. And then, after a few more days, I once again saw a group of some 15 men being led into the first courtyard, and then I heard shots. I didn’t see any more men being led into the first courtyard.
Each time after the shots rang out, the prisoners from Litewska Street would carry away the clothes lying near the boards set against the upper ground floor of the first Inspectorate building on carts. I didn’t learn the surnames of the Germans from the Inspectorate, nor of the Gestapo men.
In September – I don’t remember the date – four or five days before a larger group of SD officers left Warsaw, Schweizer took Raszczyk and myself to the first Inspectorate building near the open-air kindergarten, from where we collected barrels of tar. In the middle of the area I saw a pit lined with hay, and above it a scaffold of beams.
I didn’t take a closer look at how the scaffold was placed. I didn’t see whether it consisted of wooden beams or iron bars. On the last day before the departure of the Gestapo and the SD in September, I don’t remember the date, I saw how a group of prisoners from Litewska Street were led onto the premises of the Inspectorate. I never saw any of them again.
I don’t know their surnames.
At the time I could not find 15 of the prisoners who had been used to burn bodies.
Towards the end of September, I don’t remember the date, a German took myself and Raszczyk to the village of Kompina between Sochaczew and Łowicz. The Gestapo were using motor vehicles to take furniture, coal, and other items from Warsaw. I was once forced to assist them in this work. A few wagons of clothing were transported to Sochaczew, and from there through Leszno to Germany.
In 1945 I was liberated by the Polish Army.
At this point the report was brought to a close and read out.