The thirteenth day of the trial, 23 January 1947.
(After a recess)
Presiding judge: I resume the session. Would witness Cybulski please come forward.
Witness Tadeusz Cybulski, aged 46, resident of Warsaw, deputy prosecutor at the Court of Appeals, no relationship to the parties, exempt from taking the oath.
Presiding judge: Sir, you are testifying as a witness. Please describe to the Tribunal the character of the police summary court before which you were personally tried.
Witness: I was arrested on 12 November 1943, by accident, in the staircase of the house where I lived. On that occasion, some individuals whose names were on a list were arrested, as well as many random people, myself included – given the questions I was asked then, I presume I was just a random person they arrested. A few days after we were taken to the Pawiak prison, the whole group of 132 people (we had been lined up in rows and counted) were ordered up to the chapel. We stood in rows of four in the corridor. The arrangement of the chapel was as follows: there were four tables, with one situated by the altar, another one by the entrance, and the other two opposite the windows, where some Gestapo men sat, two of them uniformed and two in civilian clothes, and each prisoner, after his name was read out, would come up to the table. Some files were already lying on the table, that is a sheet of paper, a green form, and an envelope with a black lining where they had stuffed everything they had found on the prisoner upon his arrest, except a handkerchief. Each prisoner would come up to the designated table. They asked one question. Lying on the table as props were a rubber cord used for beating, a revolver, and the documents I mentioned.
As I later determined, the questions asked to all my fellow prisoners were stereotypical: whether they confessed to various crimes committed in the city of Warsaw, such as breaking railway tracks in the city of Warsaw (but at no particular location), possessing weapons, stashing leaflets, or reading them. There were plenty of these questions. A report was compiled, in German, and I was told to sign it. I refused on the grounds that I did not understand a lot. When I refused, they started to talk to me in perfect Polish and translated the contents, and there was nothing of significance there aside from the answers to the questions. I signed it. Then, one German started to write something on the green form. I did not realize that was a German police court. When I leaned forward and took a small step, one of them shouted, “Snout to the wall!”. I had to turn around. After a couple of minutes, the announcement was made: “Arrest”. Nothing more. In the corridor, I learned from the Ukrainian who guarded the door that it was a German police court. Everybody was interrogated in the same fashion, only some were also beaten. No particular charges were pressed. Stereotypical, general questions were asked, concerning whether one confessed to various crimes. No sentences were announced. Later, everybody would find out they had been sentenced to death. The guards who went out and read the poster even told me three or four days later that my name was listed at no. 15 on the posters hanging in the city.
Presiding judge: How did it happen that you avoided the execution?
Witness: To date, this is a great mystery to me. My family and friends took some steps, but I do not know the exact reason.
Prosecutor Siewierski: Do you remember what date you were listed under on those posters as a person sentenced to death?
Witness: I do not, but I can calculate that: 18 or 17 November.
Prosecutor: When you were signing the green form, did you realize it was a death warrant?
Witness: I did not.
Prosecutor: From the conversations you had in your prison cell, did you get the impression that the others were tried in the same fashion?
Witness: All of us in the same fashion.
Prosecutor: Did anyone have a trial or have a sentence read out to them?
Witness: Absolutely not. In the different cells where I was kept – we were transferred from one cell to another – we had nothing else to do but talk. Nobody ever said he had been tried in a different way.
Prosecutor: Please tell me if those who had been taken from their cells to be executed had undergone the same judicial proceedings.
Witness: It was never done in a different way. These cells were only populated by people sentenced to death, maybe except some common thugs, present in every cell – these people had been previously tired elsewhere, but not in the Pawiak prison. They were brought from different locations across Poland, having been tried by other courts.
Judge Grudziński: Did you see what this sentence looked like?
Witness: It was written in a gothic font. It was not a regular sheet of paper but half a sheet at most, a green sheet of paper.
Judge: Did you see it at close range?
Witness: It was not possible, someone would immediately shout, “Face to the wall”. I saw the report on a white sheet and the green sheet on which a German started to write immediately after the interrogation finished. It was definitely headed.
Judge: Did the judging panel comprise one person?
Witness: That is correct.
Judge: Was there an interpreter on site?
Witness: There was not. In my case, the interrogator was himself the interpreter because he spoke excellent Polish. I suspect that interpreters were not used at all.
Presiding judge: Was it possible to supervise the compilation process?
Witness: Absolutely not. He read out the report but obviously did not present it to me.
Presiding judge: You said you had signed it.
Witness: I did. He read it out but did not present it to me. It invariably read: no, no, I plead not guilty. Additionally, I would like to point to one thing: they planted leaflets on many of the prisoners from my group. Upon being arrested, they had all their documents and belongings taken away, and many of my fellow prisoners told me they had no leaflets. In the meantime, during the trial, these could be found in the envelopes where all the documents had been placed. One prisoner said that the leaflet in the envelope was not even folded in half: it was a sheet of paper just off the printing press.