Warsaw, 16 April 1946. Judge Halina Wereńko interviewed the person specified below as a witness. Having advised the witness of the criminal liability for making false declarations and of the gravity of the oath, the judge swore the witness in accordance with Art. 109 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
The witness testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Mieczysław Jan Krysztoforski|
|Date of birth||7 February 1923|
|Names of parents||Karol and Natalia née Tokarska|
|Place of residence||Warsaw, Lubelska Street 23, flat 6|
|Occupation||guard in “Społem”, Sokołowska Street 27|
During the German occupation I lived in Działdowska Street 15, I worked as a clerk in the “Avia” works in Siedlecka Street 63. I was at home when the uprising broke out. At that time I lived with my family, father Karol Krysztoforski (born 1898), mother, […] myself and my sister.
From 4 August 1944 on we sought shelter in the Wolski Hospital, thinking that the hospital was extraterritorial and that the Germans would not execute us on its grounds. On 3 August 1944, the hospital administration, fearing reprisals, since Działdowska Street was on the front line and since Płocka Street was constantly changing hands between the insurgents and the Germans, removed the civilians. We came back later, though.
On 5 August 1944, around 12.30–1 p.m., the Germans burst into the hospital. SS troops, the Ukrainians, were first to arrive. They had tricolour shields on their sleeves (red, blue and yellow), therefore presumably they were from the Galician division. Initially, when they scattered around the hospital, they told us all to put our hands in the air and to leave all parcels behind. At that time I was near the woodworking shop, by the storage facility. The Ukrainians robbed us right away, taking our watches, jewellery and women’s purses. Then they drove us into the street. After a moment they brought out the sick with less severe conditions, the wounded and the medical personnel. They put the men in the front and the women behind them. I later found out that patients with more serious conditions had been left in the hospital.
There could be around fifteen hundred persons in our group, including around five hundred men. I am unable to provide the exact figures, I was too upset.
We were brought to Płocka Street and down Górczewska Street to the flyover on Górska [sic] Street. Having passed the flyover, we were brought to a halt, an SS-man stepped forward and told us to pray, since we would be executed in a moment. Machine guns had been set around our group. Behind them, I could see corpses lying in the field. I didn’t notice how many there were. And so we stood under the threat of execution for about half an hour. During that time people in our group were crying and screaming. Some SS-man stepped forward and told everybody to go to a shed in Moczydło Street, some three hundred meters away from Górczewska Street. There were two sheds there. Women and children were ordered into the smaller one, men were brought to the larger one. When we entered the shed, there was nobody there. I later learned that before we came, the residents of Górczewska Street and of the vicinity had been taken from this shed to be executed. Once in the shed, we were ordered to sit. An hour later, a group of residents from Wawelberg’s houses was brought in. There were up to one thousand of them, mostly men, but there were also women with children. Both sheds became full then.
Some Pole offered to translate, and with his help an SS sergeant segregated the gathered civilians into women with children, hospital staff, doctors, nuns, and men all together, both healthy and ill. There were three priests in the group of men. One of them was Father Filipiuk, another one was young, around 25 years old, the third one was bald and wearing glasses.
I don’t know the names of the two priests.
About an hour after the segregation, a group of around twenty Gestapo men arrived. One of them inspected the room and said that he needed three men for electrical work. One of them was called Berger (residing at Działdowska Street 15). All three of them never returned, I presume they were executed. I was standing with my father and my wife. My sister and my mother were in the other shed. My sister’s fiancé, Eugeniusz Bajerowcz, and his father, whose name I do not recall, were there with me as well. Fifteen minutes after those three had been taken away, the same SS-man returned and said that he needed fifty workers to demolish barricades. The atmosphere in the barracks was very tense, and since people had lost their nerve, they started to volunteer. So I also volunteered along with those dearest to me: my father, Eugeniusz Bajerowicz’s father and an acquaintance named Glice (residing at Wolska Street 64). The SS-men surrounded our group and then demanded that we hand over our valuables. Nobody offered anything.
The group was herded in the direction of Górczewska Street; however, instead of driving us through the flyover in the direction of the city, we were ordered to turn left into Górczewska Street before we reached the flyover. We passed the place where the machine guns had been pointed at us, and where corpses were already lying, and were brought almost opposite to a yard, near which houses were still burning.
The yard was forty meters long and thirty meters wide. On the sides houses were burning, in the back there was an empty ground, and on that ground there was a small wooden house which was not on fire. In the yard from the side of the two houses there were corpses, I didn’t have the time to count them, but anyway there was already a pile.
I heard that residents of Płocka Street had been executed in that yard before us.
We were brought in threes to the left side of the yard (near the single standing house). In front of the house there were several Gestapo men who fired at us from light machine guns. I followed my father, who, seeing that they were killing people, held me up and said: “Mietek, this is the end”, and then he collapsed behind me. I was not hurt, I do not know whether my father got hurt at that time. We later confirmed that he was dead, he had been shot through the head. I assume that they finished him off later. Having collapsed, I lay near the edge of the pile, from the side of the shooters, and my head got half-covered by my coat. When everybody was already on the ground, the Germans were still shooting the machine guns in the direction of the lying people, firing long bursts, and then I heard that they were bringing in another group.
I know that because a man who was lying beside me and was still alive raised his head and was calling to his son, walking in the second group, and then he was calling to him.
With such a mass execution, around seventy per cent were still alive, the wounded suffered terribly and died a long and painful death. These were terrible moments.
The second group was executed in the same way. More groups were brought in the same way. I think that everyone from the Moczydło Street shed were brought there, that is to say all the people brought from the Wolski Hospital and Wawelberg’s house.
Six to seven hundred people might have died there. I know from what my mother and my wife told me that the Germans were taking men out of the barracks, where they were looking for men hiding among the women. Only one young priest (I don’t know the name) had been saved, hidden among the nuns. In the next-to-last group, male doctors were executed.
From what my mother and wife told me, I know that the Germans intended to execute the women as well, several women from the first group where even brought out and killed and others were told to be ready to leave. Something happened, however, and there were no further executions of women.
Our execution started around 3.30 p.m. and ended after an hour and a half. However, after the last group had been brought, Ukrainian soldiers returned three more times and killed off the dying. The Ukrainians were laughing, talking, they were drunk, and they were eagerly shooting anyone who was moving or giving any signs of life.
I kept lying still until nightfall. I was not hurt, my coat had four bullet holes, on my face and left arm I had marks of bullets (they had just brushed past me), a bullet had also tore out hair from my temple. The Ukrainians left in the evening. At night, with the only light being the burning houses, I rose to my feet.
I wish to add that when the Ukrainians were still killing those alive, one of them walked over me, I don’t know why he kicked me, and then he also hit me with his rifle butt. I was then sore, but afraid that the corpses would be burnt and searched for any valuables left. I raised my head: the Germans were no longer on the ground, but they were walking in the street. I determined that [my] father and Bajerowicz’s father were dead, they had been shot through the head. After a while I saw that someone was getting out of the pile of corpses. Together we started crawling over the pile. The pile of corpses had three, perhaps even four layers throughout the length of the yard and was […] wide. We made our way towards the little house.
From among the escapees I know Father Filipiuk and a friend, Kazimierz Derkacz, who had a barber shop in Działdowska Street 13, I don’t know his current address. All residents of the little wooden house had been executed, we were told this by a severely wounded man lying next to the well (I don’t know his name).
Later, crawling in the direction of Koło, about half a kilometre away from the execution site, near the egg house, we met a woman whose husband and children had been killed together with the residents of the nearby houses. People were murdered there on the spot without being brought out. Along the way two escapees who were with us died from their wounds. There were four of us who continued our escape.
Derkacz said that at the time of the execution he ran to one of the burning houses. As he was reaching the house, he got shot in the arm. In one of the flats in that house he found some women who had been hanged. He cut them loose, and it turned out that two of them were alive. It turned out that the Germans had set the house on fire with the residents still inside. The women, afraid to jump out of the burning house and seeing through the window the site where men were being executed (the same place where I had been) – perhaps these were their dearest ones – hanged themselves. All six of them and one child in one flat. Derkacz mentioned that after he had cut the nooses three out of five women were alive. However one of them, who had hanged her child as well, having come around and seeing that the child was dead, hanged herself again. But the remaining two rescued women (I don’t know their names) ran away, and one of them was escaping with Derkacz, and then with us.
We were crawling in the direction of Koło until dusk. Father Filipiuk started to grow weak. Therefore, without reaching Koło, we entered a wooden house whose residents had been evacuated. There was no execution there, but the civilians living there were thrown out on 4 August 1944, herded in the direction of [Ko]ło and Górce. This is what we were told by an old lady who had stayed in one of the houses.
On the next day, we continued our journey in the direction of Koło. People did not want to take us in anywhere, since we were covered in blood. Only the priest was taken into one house. On the way I lost Derkacz, as well as the other men with whom I was making my escape. In the end, having washed myself in some house, I went back to Warsaw to the Protestant Cemetery through Zawiszy [Street], and then I again made my way to Górce village. I found out there that there was a camp in Jelonki for women from Wola. I ran there, since I was concerned about my family.
I learned that a part of the inhabitants of Staszica and Młynarska Streets had been killed in their homes, and a part taken to the sheds in Moczydło Street. Those people were not executed, but were taken with the women to the Wola Fort, from where after four days they were transported to Pruszków, to the transit camp. Female doctors and patients from the Wolski Hospital were released to Jelonki. My mother and wife managed to get out and we were reunited in Jelonki.
After a week in Jelonki we were caught in a round-up and taken to the camp in Pruszków.
I learned from the people from Wola that on 5 August 1944, before our execution, other executions had taken place behind the flyover on [both] sides of Górczewska Street, which included residents of Górczewska Street from the section starting almost at Ulrychów and ending by Działdowska Street (Wawelberg’s house). These were in fact residents of Płocka, Działdowska, Sokołowska, Syreny and Górczewska Streets. On the other hand, inhabitants of further blocks in Górczewska Street, that is Staszica or Młynarska Streets, were executed or killed with grenades on the spot, or there were mass executions in Franaszek’s plant. Some of the residents of these streets were taken to the sheds in Moczydło Street (where we were as well before the execution) and then herded to Wola Fort. A part of the residents of Działdowska Street, after it had been seized by the Germans, were murdered in flats numbers 3, 5, and 7. Some women and children were taken to Kowalski’s Palace and executed in the yard. Around six hundred women with children died there. Others were taken to the “Ursus” plant, where another execution was organized. Some residents from Działdowska, Płocka and Wolska Streets were taken there too, to be executed.
I wish to emphasise that Dworska and Płocka Streets, on the right side of Wolska walking in the direction of the city centre, were in German hands all the time, and civilians from there were evacuated without mass executions.
I wish to add that after we were taken out of the hospital, when we were walking along Płocka and Górczewska Streets, the Ukrainians were pulling young women from the line and either raping them on the street or dragging them into gateways. I myself witnessed four such rapes.
At that the report was concluded and read out.