On 18 January 1946, in Warsaw, Court Assessor Antoni Krzętowski, delegated to the Warsaw-City Department of the Main Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes, interviewed the person named below as a witness. Having advised the witness of the criminal liability for making false declarations and of the content and significance of the oath, the judge swore the witness, who then testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Józef Kiersz|
|Names of parents||Józef and Helena|
|Place of residence||Warsaw, Litewska Street 4, flat 26|
|Occupation||guard of the workers’ council at the Cooperative Construction Company|
On 2 August 1944, the Germans took me from my house at Litewska Street 4, where I served as a concierge. Other residents taken with me included Mr. Tomczak and his son, and five or six other men. Those men joined us later, they came from Mokotów. We were led to aleja Szucha 23, and from there quickly to the Gestapo HQ (aleja Szucha 25). When I was taken from my flat, my two children were there, that is my 16-year old daughter and my 14-year old son. My wife was not in the flat at the critical time because she was in her allotment garden on Boboli Street with our youngest daughter.
Having come to the Gestapo HQ, we were directed to an underground corridor where we found many people already crowded in that space. There were also many people in the basements (in cells). Having checked our ID cards, the Germans gave them back to us and placed us in cells by the corridor. When I was standing in the corridor I heard my son’s voice behind me, so he must have been taken from the flat shortly after me. While in the cell, I asked a German soldier standing nearby in the corridor, who spoke Polish, to bring my son to the cell I was in. The soldier fulfilled my wish. My neighbors from the house on Litewska Street, Konstanty Balcerzak, his son Stanisław and Józef Rączkowski, who was a hairdresser employed by the Gestapo on aleja Szucha, came to my cell with my son. Rączkowski had been taken, as had everyone else, from the house on Litewska Street without appeal. The Gestapo kept us in a cell for about five hours. Later, we were told to go outside, where, in the courtyard, we were stripped of all our documents, money and wallets. As this was happening, a German officer passing by recognized Rączkowski and ordered his release as a Gestapo hairdresser. I started calling to Rączkowski to take me with him, pushing through the crowd, dragging my son with me. A German officer named Lebog, noticed me pushing through. He was quartered in one of the flats in the house where I was concierge. The officer who recognized me ordered that I be taken aside by the wall and then told me to go home. I was afraid to go alone, because it was dangerous to go on the streets alone, and so at my request, Szelig assigned us, that is me, my son, Rączkowski and a German named Klein, a soldier who was supposed to walk us home. Klein was some kind of SA official and also lived at Litewska Street 4, but had been taken to the Gestapo HQ from his flat by the German soldiers as a civilian and only there, when they checked his ID, was he released. The German soldier led us home, but right after ordered the three of us (with the exception of my son) to carry packages to the Gestapo HQ from Litewska Street 10 (there was a flat belonging to Gestapo men there). When we came with the packages, we found a crowd of Polish men in front of the Gestapo building marching in the direction of Unii Lubelskiej Square, surrounded by a tight cordon of German soldiers. We carried the packages to the first floor, which took us no more than ten minutes, and right after the soldiers took us back to Litewska Street. When we went out on the street, having delivered the packages, we couldn’t see the crowd, hence I deduced that they were led not across Unii Lubelskiej Square to Rakowiecka Street (because had that been the case, we would have seen at least the rear of the convoy), but rather to the grounds of the former Main Inspectorate of the Armed Forces [GISZ] at aleja Szucha 12/14.
Having returned to my house, I hid in the basement for two days and then went out to check [on the situation], but I didn’t leave the precinct of the house.
I cannot say anything more specific about the execution site at aleja Szucha 12/14, since – as I said – I had not left home. However, I often heard shots coming from that direction, both single, and in short series. Observation, however, was difficult, because, essentially, there was shooting everywhere, in all directions.
However, I did see smoke rising from the grounds of the former Main Inspectorate of the Armed Forces. The smoke had a very unpleasant, sickening smell, resembling burned skin.
I know from eye-witnesses accounts that the Germans murdered civilians en masse and later burned their bodies at the GISZ. These witnesses are: Stanisław Buchler, whose address I don’t know, but Franciszek Zieliński (residing at Polna Street 44 or 46) knows it, he worked as a gardener at aleja Szucha 23. Zieliński stopped working there a few days before the outbreak of the uprising. The second witness of German crimes inside the GISZ grounds is a certain Popelnicka (residing at Bagatela Street 8).
At that the report was read out.