Warszawa, 6 June 1947. Judge Halina Wereńko, member of the District Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Warsaw, interviewed the person specified below as a witness. Having advised the witness of the criminal liability for making false declarations and of the wording of Article 106 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 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||Jan Bogdanowicz|
|Names of parents||Edmund and Maria|
|Place of residence||Warszawa, Zawrat Street 3, flat 2|
|Occupation||specialist in paediatric diseases|
Three days before the uprising, I myself (acting as the director of the hospital due to the absence of Doctor Zbigniew Kajkowski) and the head nurse, Mrs. Jurkowska, were asked for permission to prepare a sanitary and alimentary reserve for insurgent groups who were to fight in Wola. I was approached in this matter by three gentlemen, insurgents (I don’t remember the names) from, as it later turned out, the “Parasol” group. We were asked to take special care of these materials, brought in by several trucks (in the hospital we deliberately spoke of the need to organize a dispensary, as a batch of “flammable” materials for the dispensary was brought in). They were put in the attic of an old out-patient clinic and in the gatehouse, in the basement. At the same time we agreed to having around 50 young people quartered in the hospital library. On the day when the uprising broke out this group received weapons from the boxes of “flammable dispensary materials”. As agreed, by 2 p.m. I was to receive the password and then to hand over the materials to the insurgent authorities.
Since by 2.30 p.m. on 1 August 1944 I had received no news, and [un]officially had heard contradictory news, I went to the house in Chłodna Street. It turned out that my family had already left for pre-determined locations, so at 4.50 p.m. I, too, went to the hospital. On the way I was stopped by a father, who asked me to come by and treat [his] seriously ill child. It was there that the outbreak of the uprising took me by surprise, so I was able to make my way to the hospital only three days later.
The uprising sanitary authorities had planned for the hospital to be only an out-patient clinic (we had no beds for adults). Wolski Hospital, Saint Stanislaus Hospital, and Saint Lazarus Hospital were to function as actual hospitals. However, the influx of the seriously wounded and the lack of organized surgical help at Saint Lazarus Hospital forced us to transform the out- patient clinic into a hospital. We assembled all the staff beds and organized a surgical ward in the former surgical and internal medicine rooms. With time, the shortage of beds forced us to put the wounded directly on mattresses on the floor. In total we had around 200 patients. Some of the seriously wounded died and were buried on the hospital grounds.
One day before the Germans entered, the [uprising] sanitary authorities left the hospital, neglecting to inform me about this beforehand. On the same day, in the evening, soldiers from the Home Army [Armia Krajowa – AK] notified us that the insurgents would most probably withdraw from Wola and advised us to evacuate the patients. I went to [Żyt]nia Street, to the sector commander, where I got a confirmation of the news and the advice to “do whatever we wanted”. Since it was impossible to evacuate a large number of the seriously wounded, after consultations with my colleagues we decided to evacuate the lightly wounded from the hospital, who were able to walk unassisted, and the entire auxiliary staff of the Home Army sanitary station (sanitary patrol), as well as to remove any remaining insurgents’ clothes and badges and return the sanitary ambulance to the Home Army (they left [it to us] without fuel or a driver). On 5 August the Germans took over the Wolski Hospital, and in the evening also Saint Lazarus Hospital from the direction of Wolska Street. A large number of civilians came from the Wola district and we directed them to Śródmieście.
Having spent the night restoring the hospital to its civilian character, moving all the children to Ward S, protecting the gatehouse against fire (a pavilion of Saint Lazarus Hospital on the other side was on fire and the wind was blowing the flames in our direction), in the morning I went to Ward Five, where we had some eight or ten infants and about thirty older children.
In the morning three SS-men entered the hospital and, having established that there were no insurgents in the hospital, withdrew.
Then there entered German troops (“Kałmuks”), who called themselves “Azerbejdranie” [“Azerbastards”] (under the command of SS officers). They said they were from the “Herman Göring” division. At about 3 p.m. they surrounded the nearest pavilions: the out-patient clinic, the surgical pavilion and the utility pavilion. First they brought out the administrative staff together with a part of civilians from Wola who had sought refuge there. Having being brought out, four persons were robbed of their valuables, watches and rings. These staff members survived (the group of Jurkowski, Staszewski and others). Then the surgical staff were brought out (Dr. [name illegible]), preventing the doctor from finishing an abdomenal surgery. At the same time the wounded were ordered to leave the ward, and a part of them, despite severe abdomenal wounds, were forced to walk. The staff were allowed to take only a part of them on stretchers.
On the way Dr. Kmiecikiewicz, a brave man and a surgeon, was killed for absolutely no reason. Before being brought out of the hospital three nurses were raped, namely: Sz.[...], K.[....] and I do not remember the name of the third one (one nurse got seriously wounded by shrapnel – Stobierska). Upon arrival at the Wolski Hospital, ten nurses and ten patients were ordered to return to Karol and Maria Hospital. In front of the hospital the staff were separated from the patients (no-one from this group was ever found). What happened to them remains unknown.
Having been called in from Ward S we went to rescue the remaining patients, as the surgical ward had been set on fire by the Germans, but we were able to retrieve only three patients on stretchers. A German officer wanted to kill them, but as we explained they were just civilians, he walked away yelling that all of them were bandits. The Germans did [not] allow us to remove any more wounded.
Later, according to nurse Wanda Dąbrowska’s account, at night it was possible to move about ten wounded who were still alive to the hospital garden, where a group of ten children, including three infants, had also been brought.
At about 5 p.m. the “Kałmuks” entered Ward S and established posts at the windows there. At that time there were still around ten infants and twenty children in the ward. The Germans did not allow me to take any food for them from the utility unit.
Here, too, the staff were robbed of their watches. At the same time the nurses’ hospital flats were plundered and set on fire. In the night from 6 to 7 August 1944 all pavilions were thus on fire except for Ward S. We were worried about this pavilion, since a supply of spirit and gasoline was stored in a basement there. Being afraid of fire, we twice carried the children out to the garden and then back in. In the morning, since the S pavilion had [also] been set on fire, the children were carried out to the nearby garden, at which point it was decided to bring them to the other side, between the utility buildings, as suggested by a hospital employee, Stępień. Only a part of the children were moved, since shooting began above the hospital grounds.
Germans put machine guns among the children in the garden (according to Wanda Dąbrowska’a account). During this shooting, Nurse Dąbrowska was wounded and a couple of children and a number of the adults were killed. In the second group, Nurse Broniewska got shot (she was standing right beside me) and a child.
The shots were fired by the Germans from the houses in Górczewska Street (where there [were] no insurgents). The fighting in the hospital broke out in connection with the German attacks on the factory buildings in Karolkowa Street.
It needs to be noted that the insurgents were not using the hospital as a defensive position, although it was perfectly suitable for that. It must also be remembered that the hospital was shot at with artillery and grenade launchers, although no insurgents were on the premises and a Red Cross flag was hanging.
A group of doctors and nurses – I was at the section of the utility buildings – were forced by the Germans to immediately leave their locations, under the threat of being shot. We managed to take some of the children, most infants and a part of the older children (that is as many as could be carried in our arms and on just one stretcher). From the other group, in which Nurse Dąbrowska had remained until 3 p.m., after she was forcibly removed from it by the Germans […] children and adults were later taken.
After three days the Germans took two infants to this group [sic] to the Wolski Hospital; they died the same day. A little girl, “Omalińska”, the one with a plaster cast on her leg, was never found. On that spot the next day Dąbrowska and another nurse saw only dead bodies of children who had been killed and wounded adults who had been finished off. Only one child was found, [Zdeńko?] Synowiec (recently, in 1946, he was in the University of Warsaw clinic), who said that a German wanted to shoot him and draped a kerchief over his head. The boy tore it off and, as a result of his pleadings, the soldier left him alive. He was taken in by our nurses.
Upon arriving at the Wolski Hospital, a group of doctors and nurses from Karol and Maria Hospital organized a hospital for adults and children (surgical wards for adult males, females and children, internal medicine wards for adults and children). Karol and Maria Hospital operated on the new premises of the Wolski Hospital up to its final liquidation at the end of October. It was the main place of work, although in time other scattered hospitals started to operate: the Maltese Hospital, the Red Cross Hospital, Saint Roch Hospital and others.
In Karol and Maria Hospital, at the beginning of October 1944, surgical help was administered to around 200–300 wounded.
Neither the “Parasol” nor any other insurgent unit conducted any military action in the hospital, and not one shot was fired from its premises.
Setting the hospital on fire, murdering the wounded, killing Dr. Kmiecikiewicz, wounding three nurses (Broniewska, Dąbrowska, Stobierska), raping three nurses and robbing the hospital had no strategic motivation.
Repression against the staff and sick children cannot be explained by any military operation having been carried out from the premises of the hospital. They could have been evacuated beforehand. The killing of Nurse Stobierska and the attempt to shoot a child demonstrate all the more that the Germans were murdering for the sake of murdering. Their keeping the children and the sanitary staff on the battlefield was aimed, it would seem, at protecting themselves against the insurgents’ fire.
At this the report was concluded and read.