Warsaw, 8 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||Stanisław Sikorski|
|Date of birth||15 April 1909 in Warsaw|
|Parents’ names||Karol and Agata, née Gurniewicz|
|Citizenship and nationality||Polish|
|Education||one technical school course|
|Profession||office worker at the committee of the Polish Workers’ Party|
|Place of residence||Warsaw, Stępińska Street 54 flat 2|
When the Warsaw Uprising broke out, I was in Lower Mokotów. On 28 August I was at Stępińska Street 54. At around 18.00 – 19.00 a detachment from the SS-Galizien arrived at our house (they had SS markings, raspberry-coloured lapel badges on their uniform collars). The soldiers ordered all of the residents to evacuate their apartments. The house contained only civilians. The Germans had not been fired upon from our house.
I went outside with my family and the other residents of our house. The soldiers immediately separated a man wearing tall boots and military clothing; I don’t know his surname. He did not return to the group. The rest of us were led to the barracks at 29 Listopada Street, where we remained for three days. The SS-Galizien soldiers stripped us of all our valuables.
The command of this SS group was located in the barracks; I don’t know the surname of the commander. Suddenly there was a commotion – General von dem Bach had come to the barracks. I heard German soldiers mentioning this surname. I witnessed his arrival.
After three days, the SS-Galizien soldiers led out group to aleja Szucha. Opposite building number 25, which housed the Gestapo offices, we were segregated by the SD men (they had black lapel badges on their uniform collars, death’s heads, and the letters “SD” on their sleeves) and men in civilian clothes.
The fundamental criteria were age and the personal impressions of those conducting the segregation; employment and documents had no meaning. Some 35 men, myself included, were taken from the group, while the others were led on, as I later learned to the Zieleniak and through the Western Railway Station to the transit camp in Pruszków. We were taken to cells – the so-called tramcars – located in the cellars of the Gestapo building. The cell to which we were led was empty. On the next day we were marched to the camp at Litewska Street 14. There were prisoners there already, but I could not establish their number.
In the camp, on the porch of the ground floor, in the front part of the building, I saw a storage area for shoes –the majority of them were men’s, but women’s could also be seen; as a rough estimate, there could have been some fifteen hundred to twenty hundred pairs. Finer clothes had also been placed there. The poorer clothing and underwear was lying by the barn. During the two weeks following our arrival, the prisoners would be ordered by the Germans to load the clothes and shoes onto trucks, which then drove to the Western Railway Station, where the items would be loaded onto trains.
Over the first few days after our arrival I would be used to take down barricades, while on 2 and 3 September (I don’t remember the exact date) I was ordered to help bury fallen German soldiers. We buried the bodies in the open-air kindergarten. I worked there until the middle of December, when the camp was transferred from Litewska Street to Chałubińskiego Street 4.
On the first or second day of work I saw that more or less in the middle of the wing of the Chief Inspectorate of the Armed Forces, which had been destroyed by a bomb in 1939, from the side of the open-air kindergarten, young people had dug a pit at a distance of a few metres from the building. The pit was six metres long and up to three metres wide.
They placed chunks of wood at the bottom. At this moment the Schutzpolizei soldiers (technical police) who were escorting us ordered us to leave the courtyard, for – as they said – they would be executing bandits. We proceeded to the gate of the Inspectorate at Aleje Ujazdowskie, together with Kowalski (I don’t know his address), Jan Trzaska (currently residing in Płock at Bielska Street 12, flat 9) and Franciszek Woźniak (the owner of a bakery at Sielecka Street 49 in Warsaw), leaving some six to eight young people near the pit. The next day we came to the open-air kindergarten and saw smoke rising from the spot where yesterday we had seen the chunks of wood. Empty petrol barrels were standing alongside. We could see charred bones. I think that those who had helped prepare the pit had been shot dead.
In September (I don’t remember the exact date), a dozen or so days after the murders described above, and thus probably on 25 or 26, we were ordered to leave the kindergarten and go out into aleja Szucha, for bandits were about to be shot. Walking to the exit through the courtyard of the Inspectorate, we passed a groups of some 8–10 men and a dozen or so women who being marched along aleja Szucha towards the open-air kindergarten. The men were in their underwear, while the women were completely naked. This was at around 16.00– 17.00. The next day, when working in the open-air kindergarten, we saw smoke rising from the abovementioned pit, and charred bones were once again visible; unburnt human bones (their shapes were distinct – tibia bones, humeral bones) also lay along the trench that had been dug around the open-air kindergarten, at a distance of 7–10 m from the Inspectorate building. I think that both of the executed groups comprised civilians from Czerniakowska and Przemysłowa streets, for at the time residents were being displaced from these two streets.
I did not recognise anyone.
The bodies of the victims were no longer being incinerated in the Inspectorate building – I heard that this had been the procedure in August. At the time, the building still had walls up to the first floor.
Following the capitulation of the Śródmieście district, I don’t remember the exact date, but I think that this was in the first half of October, Trzaska and I were able to enter the building through the open-air kindergarten, and there, right in the middle, over an area of a few metres, we saw a channel filled with ashes and charred bones. Shortly thereafter, still standing in the open-air kindergarten, I saw the arrival of a group of technical police, who drilled holes, placed mines, and blew up the wall of the ruined Inspectorate building from the side of the courtyard, along with the columns inside the building. Rubble from the fallen walls covered up the channel containing the ashes and charred bones of the murder victims.
Towards the end of September, I don’t remember the exact date (twenty-something), I saw a group of Polish soldiers from Berling’s Army who had been captured at the Czerniakowski bridgehead on the Wisła and were being brought into the Gestapo building. There were some 400 of them, the group was isolated and we were not even allowed to give the soldiers water. They were led in the direction of Rakowiecka Street.
Following the capitulation of the Śródmieście district, the SD and Gestapo partially abandoned aleja Szucha 25 and left Warsaw. They left Warsaw completely in the second half of November 1944. The Schutzpolizei (they had dark- and light-grey markings on their uniform collars), which had its headquarters at aleja Szucha 23, departed at the same time.
Initially, the camp at Litewska Street 24 was administered by the Schutzpolizei, but after command headquarters left it was taken over by a technical company of the Schutzpolizei, the command of which was quartered at Litewska Street 5, and subsequently – in December and in January 1945 – at Chałubińskiego Street 4.
Following the surrender of the Śródmieście district, prisoners from the camp at Litewska Street 14 were used to drill mine holes. I drilled such holes in the Wola district, in Stroński’s factory, in the Belweder, and on Filtrowa Street. Other groups drilled holes in the Brühl Palace, Saski Palace, in the church at Emilii Plater Street, and elsewhere. The detachment of technical police was commanded by Krüger. I saw how his company burned down houses in Zbawiciela Square, at Polna Street, 6 Sierpnia Street, and a section of Mokotowska Street.
At this point the report was brought to a close and read out.