Warsaw, 20 February 1946. Acting investigating judge Halina Wereńko, delegated to the Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland, heard as a witness the person specified below. Having been advised of the criminal liability for making false declarations and of the importance of the oath the witness was sworn and testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Antoni Koch|
|Date of birth||18 June 1886|
|Parents’ names||Ludwik and Marianna née Włodarczyk|
|Occupation||senior citizen, previously a clerk in the juvenile court|
|Education||four classes of secondary school|
|Place of residence||Ursus, Mickiewicza Street 2, flat 2|
|Religious affiliation||Roman Catholic|
During the German occupation, I worked in the juvenile court in Warsaw, and I lived also in Warsaw. My brother, Konstanty Koch, worked in the Ursus factory as an iron turner and lived in Ursus at Mickiewicza Street 2, flat 2, in the house in which I live now, in flat no. 8. Whether my brother was a member of an underground organization, I do not know, as he did not confide in me.
In the winter of 1943, I don’t remember the exact date, my brother was arrested by the Gestapo when he was at work in the factory. On the same day, Szwagrzyk (whose first name I don’t know), who was the owner of a hat store in Ursus, was also arrested in his flat. Both of them – my brother and Szwagrzyk – were on a list. I know this from my brother’s wife, Teofila née Mickiewicz (domiciled in Ursus at Mickiewicza Street 2, flat 8).
Whether my brother was arrested for sabotage or for participation in conspiracy work, I do not know. I think he took part in the conspiracy, as I was told so by some of his friends, I don’t now remember which ones. My brother was arrested on the night between Saturday and Sunday (I don’t remember the date), and on Monday he was taken from the Pruszków Gestapo to Pawiak prison. At that time I spoke a lot with my brother’s friends, as I wanted to find out why he had been arrested and who had brought it about. I also tried to get him released.
My brother’s co-workers from the Ursus factory and the residents of the house in which he had lived, of whom I remember Przybył – his name was Jan if I remember correctly – all believed that my brother had been arrested because he had been denounced by a German informer, Rzeźnik, who had lived in the same house as my brother, on the second floor. I think it was Przybył who told me that when the Gestapo came that night, Rzeźnik showed the gendarmes the door to my brother’s flat. As my brother was not home, the Gestapo men went to the factory and arrested him there.
Szwagrzyk lived in the same house as my brother, and his hat store was on another street. Then, at night, the Gestapo men wanted to arrest Szwagrzyk, but he was not home as well; they did, however, encounter someone who must have been hiding, as he started to run away from them, firing his revolver. He managed to flee. Szwagrzyk was taken from the workshop by his hat store, where he had been spending the night.
As for Rzeźnik, I would like to emphasize that I do not know whether he was a Volksdeutsch, but I think he was not. However, he was believed to be a German informer. When the Polish Army seized Warsaw, I think that he had fled Ursus with the German army and went to his wife’s parents in Końskie. Currently someone else lives in Rzeźnik’s flat in Ursus, but many of his belongings are still there. From time to time Rzeźnik’s wife comes to the flat, as she brings eggs and butter for sale. I noticed that she always passes me stealthily and quickly, so as not to be recognized. All of these circumstances could be better described by my brother’s neighbor, Przybył, whose first name I don’t know, domiciled in the same house as my brother, on the ground floor. My brother lived on the first floor.
I think that Przybył works now in the Security Department in the Praga district of Warsaw. I will undertake to serve the summons on him, the one which I have presently received from the citizen judge, for 2 March 1946 at 10.30 a.m.
As I wanted to save my brother, I went with my sister-in-law to the Ursus factory to see my brother’s direct superior, a Volksdeutsch named Lafery, who has a villa in the Skorosze commune. What post he had occupied, I don’t know exactly, but I think it was higher than a foreman. When I asked him to intervene on my brother’s behalf, he assured us that my brother would be fine and didn’t want to talk about the matter at all. He just dismissed us and didn’t take any interest in the case.
Presently, as I have heard in the special prosecutor’s office, Lafery – who is incarcerated in the prison at Rakowiecka Street with his wife and daughter for being a Volksdeutsch – strives for rehabilitation, and I’ve heard that there are people who are collecting signatures under a petition saying that he had been behaving well towards Poles during the German occupation. I have to protest against this, as in my brother’s case Lafery had behaved as I have described above, although he had been my brother’s direct superior.
After a month, my brother and 19 other people were taken to Pruszków and executed. The execution took place by the paling of the garden near the Potulicki park. I cannot recall the date of the execution, but I will determine it with my sister-in-law and I will tell Przybył, who will come to testify.
After the execution there were posters with names around the town, including the names of my brother and Szwagrzyk. As I was told by eyewitnesses from Pruszków, whose names I don’t know, the corpses of the executed had been put in a truck and taken in the direction of Warsaw.
We have not managed to find my brother’s corpse. My sister-in-law received his death certificate written in German, but I don’t know where from.
I will serve the summons for 2 April 1946 on my sister-in-law.
The report was read out.