On 3 June 1948 in Poznań, Deputy Prosecutor Marian Kaczmarek interviewed the person named below as an unsworn witness. Having been advised of the criminal liability for making false declarations, the witness testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Jan Wierzbicki|
|Names of parents||Józef and Bronisława née Nowak|
|Place of residence||Poznań, Śląska Street 11|
|Occupation||Polish Red Cross inspector|
|Relationship to the parties||none|
I was taken to the Stauferkaserne on 2 August 1944. After the first houses on Rakowiecka Street were seized, SS soldiers, on the orders of Lieutenant Patz, the commandant of the Stauferkaserne, forced people out of the basements. They threatened to fire on them from machine guns and tanks, and set some of the houses on fire. Then, the people were marched to the Stauferkaserne on Rakowiecka Street, at gunpoint and threatened with hand grenades. The men were made to stand with their hands in the air by the wall in the courtyard. From time to time, they were terrorized with machine gun fire. The women and children were locked up in the rooms of the barracks complex and then, after a few hours, released. The men were detained as hostages. Nobody had been shooting at the Germans from the house we had come out of (Kazimierzowska Street 79). People from the houses on Rakowiecka Street, aleja Niepodległości, Kazimierzowska Street, Narbutta Street, Wiśniowa Street and Sandomierska Street were being gathered at the Stauferkaserne.
The commandant of the barracks was SS-Lieutenant Patz. His deputy wore a black Allgemeine-SS uniform – he was supposedly with the Gestapo and people called him the Baumeister, or simply “Black.” He was allegedly a commissar under Patz. The barracks were occupied by a Waffen-SS battalion, some 600 strong, already stationed there before the Uprising. I do not know the formal name of the unit. I heard the name Franckowiak but I cannot recall who he was. He might have been a soldier who often accompanied the Baumeister and carried out executions on his orders. I do not know the details of the crimes perpetrated by these two, but I know that the Baumeister was in charge of the executions in that district and of the operation of setting houses on fire. He was a brown- haired man, of average height, around 40 years old, plump, who spoke a little Polish. He always had a hand grenade on him. When I was being held hostage at the Stauferkaserne, between 2 and 8 August, over the first four days a young SS-man selected groups of 15 men from among the hostages (some 300 people in total) who were kept with myself in the big room. He stated, in no uncertain terms, that they were going to be executed in retaliation for the deaths of wounded Germans who were allegedly being murdered by the insurgents. The executions took place in the grounds of Mokotów Prison, a fact which was corroborated by the hostages who were made to bury the corpses of those executed.
I do not remember the names of those executed. They were young men, usually not older than 40 and personally selected by the SS soldier at his discretion. The perpetrators of these crimes were on the barracks staff, so they were with the Waffen SS. After my intervention further executions were put on hold by Patz, who claimed that he had had no knowledge of them. Every day, a couple of hostages from the barracks were selected, in groups of up to four people, and taken to the Gestapo on aleja Szucha. They never returned. This was between 2 and 8 August. The hostages were used for cleaning up the barracks (cleaning toilets etc.), collecting food supplies or raising barricades. Acts of looting and stealing cultural antiquities started immediately after I was arrested at the beginning of September. The hostages remained in the barracks, with elderly men of 60 years and over and kept until 6 August, while the rest remained there for a significant period, beyond the time of my incarceration.
I assembled the sanitation team around 7 August, reaching an agreement with Patz and getting clearance from him. Initially, I was given four young men to collect fallen civilians and insurgents. Gradually, the number of people on the team increased to 16, while the team of the Polish Red Cross branch that we had assembled included around 60 people, with two doctors and two nurses from the Polish Red Cross, and one van. The Polish Red Cross team operated in the area of Rakowiecka Street, aleja Niepodległości, Madalińskiego Street and Puławska Street, and it was responsible for burying fallen civilians and insurgents, providing help to the wounded and placing them in the hospital set up on Kazimierzowska Street, at the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, and in the hospital on Pułaskiego Street.
During the evacuation period, the Polish Red Cross team also distributed food to the evacuees.
Partial reports from the burial and identification of bodies are on file at the Information Office of the Polish Red Cross Board in Warsaw.
The Germans ordered us not to provide help to wounded insurgents and young men suspected of involvement with the Uprising. The Germans took the documents from fallen insurgents, which made it impossible to identify them.
As regards individual executions, I remember the following cases: at Kwiatowa Street 24, Citizen Zielińska was shot as she was leaning out the window of her flat; the execution of insurgents at aleja Niepodległości 132, near its junction with Ligocka Street – a house was set on fire and nobody could get out, with those trying to escape being executed, and the rest, including three elderly women, burnt alive. In the chapel of the Jesuits on Rakowiecka Street, near its junction with Andrzeja Boboli Street 26, monks and civilians were driven down into the vault, hand grenades were thrown in and they were torched with flamethrowers. I did not bury the corpses, but instead ordered that the vault be walled up. The building was set on fire and the Jesuit chapel, where a couple of the wounded had been burnt, was looted, while Rev. Kosibowicz, the prior, was taken away and executed. An SS patrol opened fire from machine guns on the first-aid team burying the fallen on Madalińskiego Street, despite the team bearing Red Cross flags. One paramedic was killed and one seriously wounded. One evening, after insurgents appeared in the corner house at the junction of Madalińskiego and Kazimierzowska streets, all the men staying on the premises were executed, with the women watching. In a couple of cases, men holding children in their arms were executed in the same building, which was then set on fire with the wounded and fallen still inside; the women were forced out. The evacuation of the Infant Jesus hospital was wholesale, with no help from healthy people so that sick people carried other sick people and whoever could not keep up was executed by the guards – SS soldiers – who were in charge of the evacuation.
The civilians from the Stauferkaserne neighborhood started to be displaced around mid- August, and this continued beyond the period of my incarceration.
This is my deposition, which was read to me.