Warsaw, 29 April 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||Edward Kryszkiewicz|
|Parents’ names||Jan and Franciszka, née Kamińska|
|Date of birth||21 October 1904 in Warsaw|
|Citizenship and nationality||Polish|
|Education||vocational school and four classes of evening courses|
|Profession||proprietor of a hairdressing salon|
|Place of residence||Warsaw, Marszałkowska Street 18, flat 23|
When the Warsaw Uprising broke out, I was at my hairdressing salon at Marszałkowska Street 18 in Warsaw. On 1 August at 17.00 I heard shots and cries of Urra coming from the direction of Litewska Street. It was later said that a group of insurrectionists from Oleandrów Street had advanced through Litewska Street and attacked the building occupied by the Gestapo at No. 25. In the evening the gunshots receded. I learned that the attack had ended in failure. During the night from 1 to 2 August, I heard a German tank driving along Marszałkowska Street. The tank would go down to Unii Lubelskiej Square at one end, and then up to Zbawiciela Square at the other, and then enter Litewska Street. The streets were empty, and the Germans shot at people who tried to look out of their windows. From then on, the insurrectionists would only attack German positions at night, mainly from the direction of Aleje Ujazdowskie . On 3 or 4 August, I don’t remember the exact date, I saw how a German unit made up of Gestapo men (with death’s heads on their caps and uniform collars), Vlasovtsy soldiers and “Ukrainians” set fire to houses at Marszałkowska Street 9, 11/13 and 15. The soldiers did not call upon the residents to leave their homes, but simply threw flammable materials through the windows. The civilian population escaped through cellars in the direction of Zbawiciela Square.
On 7 August (or maybe on the 8, I don’t remember the exact date), in the morning, a small two-man detail entered our house: the manager of the hairdressing salon at aleja Szucha 25, Szymański, in a Gestapo uniform (with a death’s head and black lapel badges) and an armed soldier in the same uniform. They took only the hairdressers, myself and Jerzy Durski (currently employed at the Polonia, residing at Marszałkowska Street 14), and a manicurist, Jadwiga Zawolska. Szymański robbed my salon. We were led to the hairdressing salon at aleja Szucha 25, and that is where I remained until the end of August.
On the first day I was too upset to look out of the window. Only on the next day did I look through the window of the salon, and saw that the Germans were bringing in groups of civilian men through the gate of the building. After some time, groups of men were led out from the premises towards the former Chief Inspectorate of the Armed Forces. I could not see the gate of the Inspectorate from the window. I don’t remember the date, but a few days later Szymański brought in a hairdresser from Chocimska Street (I don’t recollect his surname), who had been picked out from a group of men taken to the courtyard of the Gestapo building.
On another occasion I heard that men from Puławska Street had arrived there. In the second half of August a group of men from Czerniaków was brought in. It was then that Marian Brzeziński (currently living in Sopot) came to the salon.
From the very first day of my forced stay in the salon, I heard bursts of machine gun fire throughout the day, with brief pauses, and the sound was coming from the open-air kindergarten. The day after my arrival at the salon at aleja Szucha, and thus probably on 8 August, Szymański took me and Jerzy Durski to the premises of the Inspectorate. We collected hay from the building adjacent to the demolished wing. In the wall of the room from which we collected the hay there was an opening onto the premises of the destroyed wing of the Inspectorate building, adjacent to the open-air kindergarten. Szymański told us then that through this opening we could watch ‚how they kill and burn you’. I did not have the courage to look, but Durski did, and he told me that he had seen people being shot. Since the beginning of my stay at aleja Szucha, I could smell the characteristic whiff of burning bodies, particularly in the evening. During the period from 22 to 25 August the smell was so strong that even the Gestapo men and Szymański would tell us that it was difficult to endure.
It was commonly known that mass shootings of civilian men, who were led from the Gestapo courtyard, were taking place in the wing of the demolished Inspectorate building. These continued throughout my stay in the salon. I heard that the uniformed Gestapo officers who executed the men were rotated every so often.
I heard nothing about women being shot. I don’t know the surnames of the soldiers who carried out the shootings.
I don’t remember the date, but I think it was around 12 – 15 August, Szymański brought in a young girl (I don’t know her surname) and ordered her to tidy up the salon. She refused. Szymański led her out. He returned in a while and declared that ‚she is already being smoked’.
Many Germans came to the salon for a shave. I remember an older German who was titled Komendeur: he was always shaved by Rączkowski. He was a tall blonde man, aged around 40. He stopped coming to the salon after 15 August. Another patron was Bürkner, a senior Siecherheitspolizei officer.
Szymański would rob the apartments of the civilian populace, bring all valuable items to the salon, and send them to Poznań to the following address: Posen, Reveler or Keveler Strasse 68, Kita Szymańska.
I don’t know Szymański’s first name, but I heard that he came from Poznań. His father currently runs a hairdressing salon in Poznań.
The following worked together with me at aleja Szucha 25: Jerzy Durski, Stanisław Milczarek (presently the proprietor of a restaurant in Wałbrzych), Tadeusz Rączkowski and his wife (currently residing at Litewska Street 4 in Warsaw), Marian Brzeziński (residing in Sopot), a hairdresser from Chocimska Street (he died at aleja Szucha), and the manicurist Jadwiga Kowalska. Towards the end of August, Szymański took me and Durski in a car going in the direction of Sochaczew. At the time, the entire Gestapo was leaving for the village of Kompina, located between Sochaczew and Łowicz. From there I managed to escape.
At this point the report was brought to a close and read out.
[I would like to add that] between 15 and 20 August 1944, I don’t remember the exact date, Szymański forced me to drink some vodka, thinking that it was poisoned.