Grójec, 22 February 1946

The Commission for the Investigation
of German Crimes in Poland

I am a former inhabitant of the house at Muranowska Street 14 in Warsaw. I had a shop at Bonifraterska Street 8. A few days ago I went to Bonifraterska Street, to the shop’s rubble, and I paid attention to whether the execution site, the corner of Bonifraterska Street and Franciszkańska Street, is sanctified. Since it is not, as an eyewitness of a mass execution which took place there, I wish to submit some information concerning it and I kindly ask for a proper plaque to be placed there, as at other execution sites.

I would like to emphasize that, as the matter is very serious, I will confine myself to what I had seen and what I have kept in my memory.

It happened a few days before the end of 1943 or at the beginning of 1944. About noon, a few cars came and German gendarmes surrounded Bonifraterska Street from Swiętojerska Street to Muranowska Street and Muranowska Street to Sierakowska Street. At the junctions, medium machine guns were placed on the ground. By the Ghetto walls there were many gendarmes with rifles pointed at the houses on Bonifraterska Street and Muranowska Street, at the even numbers, in other words those inhabited by Poles. The Germans ordered the shops to be closed, they forbade people to stand in windows and gates. Trams were allowed to drive only before the shooting and immediately afterwards, that is, they stopped traffic during the execution.

As I was both curious as to what was going on and concerned about my safety, I tried to go out to the street. They checked my papers at the gate, and since I had a shop, they allowed me to go in the direction of Krasiński Square. At Miodowa Street I got into a tram and I went to Dworzec Gdański [railway station], keeping a sharp lookout from the deck. Just in front of the first carriage, there were cars with the execution victims (four or five cars), with motorcycles on both sides. There were four or five gendarmes at the rear end of each car, kneeling, with rifles and grenades ready. I saw the prisoners, but only half of them, as the tarpaulin was half down. The cars came rather slowly through a gate (across from Konwiktorska Street) to the Ghetto, and just by the wall went in the direction of Franciszkańska Street.

I called to my shop from Dworzec Gdański and I learned from my employee that all was quiet, so I got into the tram again and, after having my papers checked, I got to the shop, to which I had a rear entrance from the gate. I went to the attic with my employee and we watched the execution for some time.

Exactly opposite house no. 4, behind the Ghetto paling, there was a wall of house which had been demolished before the war, when Bonifraterska Street had been widened. The prisoners were being brought to that wall from the cars parked just by the paling. The gendarmes were standing by the paling of the Ghetto and shooting from there. Some prisoners were in just their underwear, they had their hands tied. Some had their mouths plastered. One prisoner’s trousers fell down and he was executed that way.

As I managed to notice, they brought Jews in to carry the corpses from the execution site to the cars. I didn’t observe the whole execution, as I did not want to be noticed. I spent the rest of the execution in my shop. The cars with corpses probably stayed in the Ghetto, as they did not leave through that gate. On the following day, on red posters, there were 105 or 107 names, including at least two women. As far as the number of the executed is concerned, some daredevils from other houses counted them and gave the number on the day of the execution, which was later confirmed by the posters. I don’t remember any names of the executed. From among acquaintances from that street, now dispersed, I have met the former owner of a shop at Bonifraterska 4, Mr Jankowski. He is now the chief of the Raw Hides Centre in Warsaw, Municipal Slaughterhouse. He also witnessed the execution, so maybe he will be able to provide some details.

I append a site plan of the execution site. Should the Commission request it, I am willing to come to Warsaw and explain it.


I kindly ask the Commission to investigate this case and maybe place a notice in the papers that witnesses of that execution who could provide more details are being sought.

I would also like to draw attention to one thing. Even before the Uprising, I had been thinking about a way of commemorating the executed at execution sites. I like the form that is being used: a cross and an inscription. But I would add who had committed the crime: Nazi executioners. One more thing: there are already many foreigners in our country. I suppose that there will be trips to Poland in the future. Few foreigners speak Polish. Therefore, I suggest making the inscription in at least two languages, or even three. We should let the world learn about our sacred memorials of martyrdom, not only when foreigners are brought here on purpose and shown these places, but also when a foreigner passes such a place by chance, without an interpreter, so he or she could read and learn what that cross commemorates. It would be well to place an inconspicuous inscription: to show respect for the dead, please remove hats; or something of that sort, as it was in the Citadel.

Yours faithfully
Zygmunt Powichrowski
Grójec, Stokowa Street 22