Warsaw, 31 May 1946. Deputy Prosecutor Zofia Rudziewicz interviewed the person specified below as an unsworn witness. Having been advised of the criminal liability for making false declarations, the witness testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Józef Oleksy|
|Date of birth||9 July 1892|
|Names of parents||Michał and Katarzyna|
|Place of residence||Warszawa, Kawęczyńska Street 53|
|Occupation||a priest of the Salesian Society, prefect of elementary schools|
|Religious affiliation||Roman Catholic|
|Education||Theological Institute in Turin|
After the German general administration was established, the Germans issued a series of regulations aimed at limiting the freedom of activity of the Catholic Church in the General Government [Generalne Gubernatorstwo – GG]. These regulations were sent to us by the Metropolitan Curia, which was subordinate to the orders of the Warsaw district [authorities]. This included limitations on the freedom of religious cult and on administering the sacraments, limitations concerning national differences and [a prohibition against] admitting new members into religious congregations and societies.
The Society of St. Francis de Sales ran a general high school for boys in Sokołów Podlaski. This school, together with the dormitory, was seized for the purposes of a German army hospital; when the troops were retreating in 1944, the school and the dormitory building were blown up by the Germans.
There were sporadic arrests in the Society of St. Francis de Sales. A mass arrest took place on 7 February 1944. According to neighbors’ accounts, as early as around 3 in the morning the SD surrounded Browarna Street up to Leszczyńska Street, Dobra, and Karowa Streets. Machine guns were set up at the mouth of Lipowa and Browarna Streets, as well of Dobra and Lipowa Streets. At around 5 a.m. Germans from an SD formation started pounding on the doors of the Father Siemiec Facility [Zakład im. ks. Siemca] at Lipowa Street 14.
This facility included an orphanage and a tailor’s shop where young men were taught. All priests, friars, and older pupils were ordered to gather in a room, where identities were checked based on the registration log. Also, female servants working in the kitchen and in the laundry room, as well as residents of the neighboring house, had their identities checked.
We were gathered in the courtyard and ordered to line up facing the wall. Salesian priests and friars residing at Księdza Siemca Street 6 were joined to our group.
Fifty persons were arrested in total, including thirteen priests, thirteen friars, two male servants, five female servants, and nine older pupils.
We were loaded onto trucks and transported to Pawiak prison. An interrogation took place on the fourth day after the arrest, in Pawiak prison. We were examined in groups. We were asked whether we knew any underground organizations; we were accused of maintaining contacts with the resistance, in particular of sewing uniforms for the Polish army in our tailor’s shop. The director of the facility, Father Jan Pykosz, was kept in isolation from the others.
After three weeks, four priests and two friars were released, the rest was sent to concentration camps in Gross-Rosen and Sachsenhausen, from which only a few persons have come back to date.
The director of the facility, Father Pykosz, and many others died in the camps. I myself was released after spending three weeks in Pawiak prison.
Pupils of our craft school, arrested with us, were also detained in Pawiak prison, and then sent to concentration camps.
Based on the fact that the Germans found nothing that would incriminate us politically, I had the impression that the entire operation was aimed at the extermination of the clergy.