Warsaw, 28 May 1946. Deputy Prosecutor Zofia Rudziewicz interviewed the person specified below as a witness. Having been advised of the criminal liability for making false declarations, the witness testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Konrad Okolski|
|Date of birth||19 February 1884|
|Names of parents||Adolf and Felicja|
|Place of residence||Warsaw, Oczki Street (Child Jesus Hospital [Szpital Dzieciątka Jezus])|
|Place of birth||Nowostarce in Volhynia|
|Religious affiliation||Roman Catholic|
|Occupation||doctor, director of the Child Jesus Hospital|
|Relationship to the parties||none|
|Education||medical faculties of the universities in Cracow and in Moscow|
Before the war I was the director of the Child Jesus Hospital in Warsaw. I kept this position also after the Germans entered Warsaw up to June 1940, when I was arrested by the Germans and sent to Auschwitz, from which I came back at the end of 1941. From then on, after a long illness, I was not reinstated to my former position, but the German authorities appointed me as the head of the tuberculosis department in the Praga Hospital (in the veterinarian building, known as the Treasurers Hospital [Szpital Skarbowców]).
While I worked in the Child Jesus Hospital I noticed that the Germans were acting to the detriment of the Polish healthcare. The hospital system was subordinated to the Municipal Board of the City of Warsaw, but supervision was exercised by a German, Amtsarzt Schrempf, who was indirectly subordinated to the district, i.e. to Fischer. I met Schrempf several times when he carried out inspections in the hospital. He was a brutal and ruthless man, dangerous to anyone who came in contact with him. He wore a uniform, he carried a gun, he had SS markings, and as far as I remember the skull-and-crossbones badge on his cap, but I cannot confirm this beyond all doubt. Schrempf gave orders either vocally during his visitations or sent them [in writing] via the Polish department of hospitals. As a result of these orders, the Polish healthcare and hospital system suffered great damages, namely:
1) Schrempf ordered that the number of doctors be limited by means of disqualification of Jewish doctors and the reduction of posts. I don’t remember what the consequences of these limitations were in my hospital in terms of numbers. Schrempf did not allow volunteer doctors to work, which made hospital work difficult and reduced its capacity. These orders were clearly aimed at causing harm to the Polish population, since there were no reasons to limit the number of employed doctors. 2) Schrempf ordered that the number of physical workers of the hospital be reduced and that their working hours be increased up to twelve hours a day. The workers did not want to agree to this. Schrempf told me that this was sabotage on my part, which in the end I was accused of when I was arrested. 3) German authorities issued a prohibition against admitting Jewish patients to the hospital and after a few months of the occupation (I don’t remember the exact date) they ordered that Jewish patients be transferred to the Jewish hospital in Czyste Street. Such conduct is in breach of the fundamental principles of medical ethics and, as far as I know, it is also in breach of the binding act on treating patients in hospitals, since reasons of nationality may never be taken into account. 4) Insufficient amount of food for patients. Milk that was delivered was always skimmed, fats were provided in small amounts. I am unable to provide an exact calorie count, but I can say that it diverged grossly from the standards necessary to feed a patient. Also the food for the hospital staff was poor, or rather insufficient. 5) The Germans did not provide a sufficient amount of medicines, only thanks to the huge supplies we had in stock were we able to overcome the difficulties created by these orders. 6) Only Polish patients were in the hospital, it was prohibited to admit Germans. 7) The Germans persecuted doctors, as they persecuted the entire Polish intelligentsia in general. Many of them were arrested, a large number were sent to concentration camps, a few were executed. I don’t remember the exact number of victims.
During the first days of June 1940 I was summoned to report to Schrempf in Daniłowiczowska Street. I was accused of sabotage and of issuing false certificates to hospital employees and students and of hiding in this manner the young people studying at universities. He summoned the Gestapo via telephone, who escorted me to aleja Szucha. I was interrogated there by a few Gestapo officials, Germans. Some of them wore plain clothes, others were in uniforms. They too were accusing me of sabotage. During the interrogation I was beaten with a hand and with a rubber [truncheon].
After the interrogation I was sent to Pawiak prison, where I was put in a cell shared by several inmates. I was not interrogated again. I stayed in Pawiak prison for two and a half months. During that period a large number of arrested advocates were brought to Pawiak. With a certain number of these advocates I was sent to Auschwitz, where I stayed until October 1941. Then I was released.
As a result of the inhuman treatment administered by the Germans to the Auschwitz prisoners, I returned home with tuberculosis, bilateral pleural effusion, severe glomerulonephritis, bone decalcification and general exhaustion after the typhus and dysentery I had gone through in the camp. When I returned I weighed 44 kilograms; before the arrest I had weighed 86 kilograms. After a year of illness, I began to work as the head of the tuberculosis ward of the Treasurers Hospital in Praga. I observed that German authorities were still implementing the same system of operations as before, aimed at the extermination of the Polish population. Sending patients to sanatoriums was not permitted, since they were reserved for the military or for Volksdeutschen. Polish patients with tuberculosis received completely insufficient food rations, which made treatment very difficult, if not impossible. As a result of the general poverty and insufficient food rations issued on tickets for the Polish population, the incidence of tuberculosis increased considerably. At that time a German, Janik, was the Amtsarzt.
Because I still lived within the grounds of the Child Jesus Hospital, the uprising found me there. Since the director at that time was not present, I instinctively returned to my former duties. Initially, the hospital was surrounded by Germans, insurgents were only on the side of Nowogrodzka Street. Insurgents were bringing their wounded to the hospital through a hole in the wall, while Germans were bringing theirs through the gate from the side of Nowogrodzka Street.
The Germans suspected that the hospital was harboring insurgents, so they would often burst into the hospital with guns in their hands, looking for wounded insurgents among the pavilions; since insurgents were hidden in an ingenuous way, they managed to escape death, as the Germans announced that they would be executed on the spot. I believe that the Germans who would burst into the hospital belonged to an SS formation. During one such raid, searching for insurgents, they shot at and wounded two physical workers who were busy doing their job. The Germans were shooting without warning and without any reason. One of these workers (I don’t remember his name) is a cripple to date.
In the first half of August a peace envoy, a Pole, arrived with a white flag, and brought us a letter signed by the command of some German operational group, probably the Wehrmacht. In the letter I was summoned to surrender the hospital within three hours, otherwise the hospital would be bombarded and entirely demolished. I replied in writing that, according to international law, the hospital was a neutral unit under the protection of the Red Cross and as such could not surrender. I indicated that in the case of a bombardment of the hospital not only would Poles die, but also German patients treated there. As a result of this reply, which according to my envoys – Nurse Bielańska and a doctor (I don’t remember the name) – had surprised the Germans greatly, the Germans asked for permission to check whether the hospital did indeed hold German patients, and after they confirmed that it did, they did not carry out the announced destruction. They took away their patients then.
On 15 August 1944 at 7 p.m. SS-men came and ordered all the men to get out of the hospital with the exception of the mechanic and several doctors. All patients who were able to walk were evacuated then. SS-men told me that they were only taking these men to have their identities checked and that they would let them come back. However, these men were sent to camps and many of them have not come back to date.
The second evacuation took place on 25 August 1944. It included all doctors without any exceptions, all workers, nurses, and even all patients. SS-men and Vlasovtsy were shooting in hospital rooms, beating people and hustling them with rifle butts. More than seventeen hundred people were evacuated from the hospital on that day; one of the doctors was shot in the street, wounding him seriously, and died half an hour later. I too was thrown out into the street, but I stated that I would sooner die, as I had to stay with the patients with serious conditions who were unable to get out of their beds. Some Viennese intervened on my behalf, and not only was I permitted to stay, but also one more doctor, Nurse Bielańska, and my wife.
Even between the first and the second evacuations, Kałmuk soldiers were constantly bursting into the hospital, raping women, plundering and robbing, threatening to execute people. They took over the obstetrics clinic and in there they raped and robbed women. Under fire, I transferred all of the patients from the obstetrics clinic in Starynkiewicza Street to the hospital.
After the fall of the uprising, and actually still during the last stage of the fighting, Amtsarzt Janik came to the hospital with men and cars and took away all medical apparatus and X-ray machines from the hospital. To my enquiry, he replied that he was exercising orders. I managed to hide a few machines. Removal of the equipment continued for a few days.
On 25 October 1944, Germans demanded categorically that the hospital be evacuated. This demand was put forward by a German doctor named Lambrecht; as far as I know, he was the head evacuation doctor. Patients were evacuated on trains to Cracow; a part of them were transferred to Piastów, to a transitory hospital. The hospital itself was evacuated to Piastów and in part to Milanówek. I took up residence in Piastów. Gendarmes would often burst into the hospital, looking for hiding Jews. They took them outside the hospital where they probably were killed. One day German gendarmes burst into the hospital, into the surgical ward, dragged a patient out from their bed and, despite my protests, having verified that he was a Jew, took him behind the pavilion and shot him within the hospital grounds, giving the order to bury him on the spot.