Warsaw, 12 October 1948. A member of the District Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes, Judge Halina Wereńko, interviewed the person specified below as a witness, without swearing him in. Having been advised of the criminal liability for making false declarations, the witness testified as follows:
|Forename and surname||Leon Ejda|
|Names of parents||Bazyli and Anna, née Skowronek|
|Date of birth||12 April 1911 in Białobrzegi|
|Education||fourth grade at elementary school|
|Place of residence||Białobrzegi, Nieporęt municipality|
I live in Białobrzegi opposite the barracks. In the autumn of 1941 – I do not remember the date accurately, but it was at the time of harvesting potatoes – the first transport of Soviet prisoners of war arrived at the barracks in Beniaminów. It contained a few hundred people. The barracks had previously been fenced in with barbed wire. As more transports of prisoners of war arrived, new huts were built. I could see transports arrive from the direction of Nieporęt. The prisoners of war were very exhausted; I could see that some of them travelled on carts, on which corpses were also transported.
In the autumn of 1941, I was hired to build huts. At that time, I do not remember the date, I saw that a fairly large transport of prisoners of war was brought; they were gathered in a cramped hut; they started screaming and the Germans fired two volleys into the open door from a machine gun that had been set up nearby. I saw the prisoners of war taking away the corpses of their fellow inmates.
On many occasions I saw German soldiers beat prisoners of war for no reason, also when meals were being given out. They were kept in wooden huts, where they slept on bare planks; it was filthy all over the inside and there were a lot of insects. I saw prisoners of war outdoors brushing lice off their clothes with their hands.
On many occasions I saw weak prisoners of war being taken out of the huts; their fellow inmates took away their clothes and left them to die next to the hut.
There was a hospital in the barrack building that housed rooms able to hold 48 people each. In addition, there was a separate isolation ward. The hospitals were overcrowded and most of the sick did not go there. The peak of the epidemic was in the winter of 1941/42 and in the spring of 1942. Two carts drawn by a few horses each arrived every day in the morning and in the afternoon and took away the corpses piled next to huts. That time was also the peak of starvation. Shortly after the arrival of the first transports, I could see prisoners of war eating linden seeds, and I once witnessed a German non-commissioned officer shoot a prisoner of war for eating such seeds. During the following years I saw prisoners of war eating grass, so the grass was always cut inside the camp.
I do not know how many Soviet prisoners of war were in the camp. In the winter of 1942, I heard Germans saying that there were a dozen or so thousand prisoners of war in the camp. The composition changed with new transports arriving and leaving. In the autumn of 1943, a transport of Italian internees arrived; they were put in the camp separately and their conditions were better. In the spring of 1944, the Italians were taken away. Three of them died during their stay in the camp.
In 1943, the Germans started recruiting Soviet prisoners of war for auxiliary service in the German army. These units received good supplies and provisions of food. On many occasions I saw the prisoners of war that worked for the Germans receive generous meals in the direct proximity of the prisoners of war imprisoned inside the camp. I often saw a group of prisoners of war digging graves on Winna Góra, located about 200 meters away from the camp. They usually dug long and deep pits, into which corpses were transported on the first day and covered with earth, and on the following days new corpses were brought.
At first, corpses were thrown into the pits, without being arranged. From the autumn of 1942 onwards, corpses were arranged and sprinkled with chlorine. All the graves of the Soviet prisoners of war are situated on Winna Góra. Dead prisoners of war who had worked for the Germans were buried singly at the bottom of the hill. There were plates put on the mass graves, which showed the number of the buried corpses.
I do not know the total number of the dead prisoners of war.
At thisthe report was concluded and read out.