14 January [194]8 in Łódź

S. Krzyżanowska
Clerk at the District Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Warsaw, Andrzej Janowski

Father Tomasz Rostworowski, 43 years old, parents’ names: Karol and Teresa, Łódź Secondary school catechist and university chaplain for the city of Łódź; Roman Catholic, criminal record – none, relationship to the parties – none.

When the Warsaw Uprising broke out I was at Świętojańska Street, at the office of the Jesuits. Initially, I would make intelligence forays into the city, primarily with the objective of gathering information. Among others, I visited the Maltański Hospital. Detailed information about the fate of this facility might be provided by its Director, Stanisław Lipkowski, Dr Drejza, Dr "Tarło", colonel, surname of Tarnawski. After this I began to provide pastoral services at the hospital at Barokowa Street. The hospital was just being organised. The street, however, was heavily fired upon (it housed the command headquarters of general Bór) and so the hospital was evacuated. I then proceeded to Długa Street 7, and from that moment on worked as a chaplain at the hospital which had been set up there; I was also engaged as a nurse, for on the day of my arrival at Długa a tank exploded in Kilińskiego Street and a great many wounded were sent to the local hospitals. The hospital came under particularly heavy fire on 20 August, when it was hit with two missiles. Since Mass was being held at the time and the shells fell into a wing which housed the living quarters, no one was killed. Quite a bit later a neighbouring house was set alight, but the fire did not reach the hospital. Among others, Dr "Tarło", Dr Tomaszewicz, and Dr Roman from the "Wigry" Battalion were present at the hospital. Dr Roman conducted surgical procedures in the nine cellars on the side of Długa Street; this wing was occupied by the severely wounded and postoperative patients. Two married doctors – both Jews – also worked at the hospital; at present I don’t remember their surname. I heard that they did not leave the premises at Długa Street along with the civilians, and remained in the ruins until January 1945. I met them after the Germans had left Warsaw. The chief surgeon was Dr Tomaszewicz, and the other surgeon was Dr Falkowski.

On 1 September, when the civilian population was evacuating the Old Town, some of the doctors were instructed to mix with the civilians and leave the district. Only one doctor, a Jewess, remained, but unfortunately I cannot recall her surname. Some of the patients, the least severely injured, also left the hospital and the district together with the fleeing civilians. I would guess that when the Germans entered, there were at least 200 patients at the hospital. Among other things, I base my calculation on the number of wounded who received Communion on that day.

The Germans advanced from Podwale Street, from the direction of the Castle, on the morning of 2 September. They reached Długa Street. These were SS units. Fearing reprisals against the populace, I went out to the Germans in my chasuble. The commander – or maybe it was just a soldier – to whom I turned told me that we had 30 minutes to evacuate the district. At the time everything was calm, only a group of men were seized to take down the barricades. Men were being separated from the women. Priests left the immediate vicinity, but I remained with the wounded and gave them Communion. I first gave Communion to the wounded at Kilińskiego Street 1 and 3; these were small posts, with some 25 – 30 wounded. Next I proceeded to Długa Street 7, where on the first floor I ran into an SS man who was shooting at the wounded lying there. I heard seven or eight shots. This all happened in a flash – at one moment I was administering sacraments and then, returning from the far end of the hall, I heard shots and saw the smoking gun in the SS man’s hand.

Shortly thereafter, seeing that the Germans had set fire to the house at Kilińskiego Street 3, I ran in with two female nurses in order to save the wounded. After talking to a few SS men, one of the senior soldiers allowed us to take the wounded from the ground floor. A few were transferred to Długa Street 7, while the others remained in the courtyard at number 3 Kilińskiego Street. I later learned that those who remained at Kilińskiego Street 3 perished; bones on a stretcher were found in January 1945.

While I was leaving the city on 3 October, I didn’t see any bodies lying outside on the premises; however, I did not make it to the cellars, for there were no stairs – they were partially burned down, and partially caved in. In the meantime the military units changed, giving various instructions, for example to separate men and women in hospitals for moral reasons, while others ordered patients to be brought down to the cellars due to safety concerns. Since the hospital was drawing attention as a military facility through its emblems and Red Cross markings, I myself took down the sign with the insignia of the "Wigry" Battalion. Only the signs of the Red Cross were left. I think that even a flag was hung, while all of the personnel taking care of the wounded had armbands. In the evening, at around 14:00 – 15:00, a senior SS man appeared and started screaming for the people to exit; he was surprised that the building was still standing. I learned that he had given us 10 or 15 minutes to evacuate the hospital. The whole group of SS men ran through the hospital, shouting orders for everyone to leave, for the house would soon be burned down. I approached one of the SS men and was told that the commander of the group was one Kommandeur Kotschke; I consulted him regarding the wounded. To my inquiry as to what he intended to do with the gravely wounded who were unable to walk, Kotschke replied that I should not concern myself with the wounded, but with my own welfare, and ordered me to join the group of hospital personnel that was being gathered near the wall. Some of the women started to come out into Podwale Street, including a few who were bleeding following surgical procedures. I remember one man, a leg amputee, who was bleeding profusely but nevertheless continued walking – or, rather, being dragged along by his comrades. When the flow of wounded stopped, the Germans spoke among themselves. A few SS men entered the cellar and we heard shots. I ran in after them, feeling the hot air, and saw a blazing pallet that had been pinned down by a wooden bench. I continued to hear individual shots. Having administered a general absolution and blessing to the dying, I left the cellar. At the exit I ran into a wounded woman who was trying to leave the cellar.

Later on, in Milanówek, I met a wounded woman who had escaped being executed by hiding under a bed. I also know that the Germans did not go into one of the cellars, and the dozen or so people present there managed to survive. One of those saved was Father Pągowski.

The Germans did not restrict their inspection to the cellars, for they also walked around the upper floors of the hospital and continued shooting. When I came out of the cellar, I was stopped along with a group of hospital personnel, searched yet again, and finally told to walk along Podwale Street in the direction of Zamkowy Square. At this moment we were approached by a group of "Ukrainians"; their epaulettes had a yellow border. I heard Ukrainian, and saw that some of them had the trident symbol on their arms. Once I got to the barricade, I helped the sisters guide the wounded over the barricade, on top of which a tank was standing. I myself led two wounded, while the sister in front of me was helping one. Three of the wounded were herded towards – and then into – Wąski Dunaj Street. The Ukrainian nationalists stopped the wounded. They were commanded by an SS man. Shortly thereafter I heard shots, while some time later a sister ran up to our group; she had had an experience identical to mine, for the wounded man that she had been conveying had been taken away from her, and now she was walking behind the wounded, crying that her brother had been shot.

I must stress that only the wounded whom the Germans suspected of taking part in the fighting were taken from our group. An older wounded man who appeared to be a civilian was allowed to pass, even though he was on a stretcher. We carried him to Zamkowy Square. There I saw an SS man pour some liquid over a woman’s body. Then he sprayed it with a pump of some sort. Having sprayed the body, he fired off a shot, immediately setting the clothing alight.

In Zamkowy Square some senior SS man ordered that persons with medical or sanitary experience be stopped, while the others were told to proceed along Mariensztat Street. There I managed to separate myself from the group and hide in a bunker in Źródłowa Street. I left this bunker only on 3 October. I then proceeded to Kilińskiego Street and saw, for example, at Kilińskiego Street 17 – I would like to correct my testimony: at Podwale Street 17 – the bodies of women and a child, while in Kilińskiego Street I saw a body that had probably been set on fire; in a courtyard in Źródłowa Street there was the body of an old man who had been killed by a gunshot.

When I returned to Warsaw on 2 February 1945 I saw human remains – skulls and tibial bones – on the ground floor of Długa Street 7, on the ground floor and in the cellars. At the time I noted that the number of corpses was, in my opinion, small.

If my memory serves me correctly, the following first-aid posts had been set up: "Krzywa Latarnia", "Czarny Łabędź", Kilińskiego Street 3, "Gustaw" Battalion – whose medical personnel included Dr Podgórski ("Morwa"), Kilińskiego Street 1, Długa Street 15 (Fathers Kordecki and Pączek, Pallottines, could provide more information about this post), Miodowa Street 23 and 24, Długa Street 29 and 27, and Freta Street 10. I do know that one of nurses working at the post at Miodowa Street was the sister of colonel Enochowa, currently residing in Łódź at Piotrkowska Street 121.

I would also like to add that around 12:00 a group of Wehrmacht officers arrived at the hospital at Długa Street 7. These officers visited the hospital, so to speak, although they just passed through and were not interested in anything. Photographs from the insurrectionary period caught their attention. However, these officers refused to provide any specific answers to questions concerning the fate of the hospital, responding rather evasively; it appeared that their knowledge of the matter was insufficient, and that they could not influence either the operations taking part in the area, or the fate of the hospital.

The report was read out.