ADELA PANEK

On 15 December 1971 in Iłowo, Antoni Lamperski, judge of the District Court in Mława, with the participation of court reporter Ewa Jakubowska, heard the person named below as a witness. The witness was warned of the criminal liability for giving false testimony, after which the witness stated with her own signature that she had been cautioned about this responsibility (Article 172 of the Criminal Code). The witness, [also] cautioned about her responsibility regarding the content of Art. 165 of the Criminal Code, then testified as follows:


Name and surname Adela Panek
Maiden name Watemborska
Parents’ names Antoni and Karolina
Date and place of birth 31 October 1892, in Mławka
Place of residence Iłowo, Nowa Street 7
Occupation manual worker
Education none

Before the outbreak of World War II, I lived in Iłowo, where I live now. I didn’t sign the Volkslist during the occupation—I was a Polish woman. I worked as a laundress, washing the German army’s underwear. The army was quartered in a Polish school on Szkolna Street. There were three companies. Before the outbreak of the war, this street was called Marszała Piłsudskiego Street. I knew that during the occupation, at the crossroads of Leśna and Jagiellońska Street, there was a German camp. First, it was populated by Ukrainian civilians. They escaped, but I do not know where to. There were about 20 barracks in the camp. Before the Ukrainians, prisoners of war stayed in this camp.

In a brick barrack, which stood in this camp, as I mentioned above, there were small children up to five years old—Ukrainian, Russian and Polish. These Ukrainian children had been taken away from those Ukrainians whom I mentioned. I heard that there were also some children from Warsaw in this camp. I learned about it after the end of hostilities, when I went together with other residents of Iłowo and the surrounding area to take these children home to raise them. The Polish nun who took care of them asked me if I wanted to take a Polish child. Before that, she asked if I had a group—that is, whether I had signed the Volkslist. When I replied that I didn’t have any group, she told me: ‘I can give you a Warsaw child’ and she gave me one. The boy’s name was Stanisław Kazimierczak. Then he married a girl who was also in this camp, her name was Zenona Kierzkowska. Later I adopted this boy through the court, and he is now called Panek.

We went to the camp for the children after the Soviet troops had taken Iłowo. The employees who worked in the camp said that there were 95 children; 13 were taken to the Soviet Union, and the rest were taken by Poles.

I heard that the children often died of starvation and were buried in the excavations on the right side of the railway tracks, running from Iłowo towards Mława, near the forest. The Germans didn’t put up any crosses there, and [the area] is now overgrown with bushes and trees, but the places where the children were buried were sunken.

The nuns went to their homes when the children were separated.

Two children slept on each bed, next to each other. The boy whom I took was one and a half years old. He already spoke to me in German. I learned that the children were spoken to in German. I remember, for example, when I baked a cake and [when] he saw it, he said: ‘Du hier’ [‘You here’]. The boy was already able to name items of clothing, for example, he knew what shoes were in German. At first he didn’t call me mother because he didn’t understand.

The Germans fled from Iłowo on Thursday afternoon, and the Soviet troops entered Iłowo at 10:00 am on Friday—[at that time] the camp was staffed by Poles.

I know that people took children from various places: from Mławka, Mławy, Iłowo. These children were gaunt, skinny, ragged. For example, my boy was wearing a torn dress and had no shoes. Before I took him, the nun gave me a girl to raise. I didn’t take her—although initially I was going to take a girl—because the baby had thin legs and a bloated belly. I came to the conclusion that it would be difficult for me to raise her, because she was so haggard.

This concluded the hearing and the witness signed the report after reading it.