On 23 May 1946 in Warsaw the Deputy Prosecutor Z. Rudziewicz interviewed the person named below as a witness. Having been advised of the criminal liability for making false declarations and of the wording of Article 106 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the witness testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Seweryn Stanisław Jaworski|
|Date of birth or age||17 December 1898|
|Parents’ names||Jan and Stanisława|
|Place of residence||Warsaw, Szczecińska Street|
|Place of birth||Warsaw|
|Relationship to the parties||none|
|Education||seven classes of secondary school|
During the War I lived at Skaryszewska Street 6, flat 5, and worked at the Employment Office (Arbeitsamt) at Kredytowa Street 1. From the windows of my home I could see the school at Skaryszewska Street 8, which had been turned into a transit camp for persons deported for labour to the Reich. I moved into the aforementioned apartment in March 1943.
After office hours, or even during the working day when I didn’t go to the office due to sickness, I was able to observe transports of Poles being taken to this camp. A few times a day the blue police, German Gendarmerie, Gestapo men and ordinary army (Wehrmacht) brought groups of people to the camp on foot or using motor vehicles. Both those who were led on foot and those transported on vehicles were surrounded by a heavy escort of German police and blue police.
You could see at once that these people did not come voluntarily to go to work in the Reich, but were led under compulsion, having been either arrested in round-ups or taken from their homes. These people shouted out their surnames and telephone numbers, pleading for someone to notify their families of the fact that they had been arrested. Often they threw pieces of paper with their names, surnames and addresses. These pieces of paper were gathered by myself, my son Jan (deceased) and other tenants from nearby houses – obviously, once a transport of people had been delivered and there were no police in the street. I myself and other tenants telephoned the families of those arrested in round- ups, or handed over the pieces of paper in person. I figured out that those transported to Skaryszewska were arrested in round-ups in Warsaw.
The camp at Skaryszewska Street was closely guarded by German Gendarmes and Germans in yellow uniforms with swastika armbands. My neighbours told me that the detained persons – wanting to flee – would jump from the windows of the building, frequently dying on the spot. The Germans shot at those who ran. I don’t know whether they were shot for this reason.
I worked at the Arbeitsamt as a paymaster, that is, I was responsible for paying out allowances to the families of persons deported to the Reich for work. The allowances ranged from 18 to 36 zlotys per month. Quite obviously, these sums were absolutely insufficient to survive. The family of a person employed in industry received this allowance for a period of three months only, while that of a person
working in agriculture collected the allowance throughout his or her period of employment. Generally speaking, working conditions in Germany were terrible, particularly for women. The Germans engaged labourers by force, and these frequently fell ill with tuberculosis due to the bad working conditions and could no longer work. Women were dismissed when they became pregnant, in the eighth month of pregnancy even.
I referred labourers who had tuberculosis and pregnant women to Social Insurance, and I think that data concerning the mortality rate of labourers returning from work in the Reich may be found there.
Registrations for work in the Reich were made in the same office in which I worked; these were administered by a few officials, both Poles and Volksdeutscher.
On the basis of my personal observations I can state that in 1940, once the demand for volunteers who would go to work in the Reich was announced, over a period of some two weeks between 20 and 30 people reported daily. I would like to stress that at the time the Employment Office (Arbeitsamt) was not yet centralised at Kredytowa Street, with more than 20 branches of the Arbeitsamt functioning simultaneously. My account concerns solely the branch at Królewska Street 37, where I worked at the time.
After two weeks, the influx of volunteers ground to a nearly complete halt. Because of the lack of applicants, the central office of the Arbeitsamt, which at the time was situated at Długa Street, ordered that people be arrested in round-ups. The subordinate offices then received instructions to prepare for writing up referrals to the camp at Skaryszewska. In 1941 or 1942 the approach changed: individual offices had to delegate their officers designated by the office head to Skaryszewska, where forms concerning people arrested in round-ups were filled out.
In connection with the above, I may state categorically that more than 90 per cent of people who worked in the Reich had been arrested in round-ups. The whole operation was administered by the German police and the Arbeitsamt. The following could give testimony regarding working under duress and the round-ups: 1) Helena Pietruszewska, residing at Hoża or Wspólna Street, 2) Wanda Tarczyńska, Żoliborz, [residing in the] blocks of flats belonging to the ZUS (Social Insurance Institution), 3) a former office worker of the Arbeitsamt, Solec Street 62 – I don’t remember his name or surname.
Just before the Warsaw Uprising, when the German forces collapsed and started fleeing in disarray, I took advantage of the panic that was gripping their ranks and took the transport lists of persons arrested in round-ups and deported to Germany from the beginning of 1939 until July 1944 from the camp to the cellar of my home. I left these documents in the cellar of my home. Following the liberation of Poland, I did not return to Warsaw, and my apartment, together with the cellar, was occupied by Maria Kasprzak. On 13 May 1946, in the company of the Citizen’s Militia, I went to the cellar of my former home in order to retrieve these documents. I found the transport lists in great disorder. The Militia secured the documents and transferred them to the Prosecutor’s Office at the Special Criminal Court in Warsaw at Marszałkowska Street 95.
I would also like to testify that all of the persons deported to the Reich, or – to put it more precisely – the vast majority of them, had the forms containing their personal details stamped with an annotation that they were leaving as volunteers, even though they had been rounded up in the streets.