Warsaw, 12 December 1947. The member of the District Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes, Judge Halina Wereńko, interviewed the person specified below as an unsworn witness. Having been advised of the criminal liability for making false declarations, the witness testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Jadwiga Kowalska, widow, née Majewska|
|Name of parents||Wawrzyniec and Urszula née Krzeszowska|
|Date of birth||29 September 1907 in Warsaw|
|Religious affiliation||Roman Catholic|
|State and national affiliation||Polish|
|Occupation||housemaid in the American Embassy|
|Place of residence||Warsaw, Widok Street 11, flat 2|
The outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising caught me in the Radium Institute of Maria Curie- Skłodowska in Warsaw, on Wawelska Street 15, where I worked as a cook. Our district was in German hands from the beginning. The insurgent action was not conducted from our area. The Institute received the wounded from both the civilian population and the insurgents.
On 5 August 1944, at diner time, soldiers in German uniforms stormed into the Radium Institute area for the first time. They used the Russian language in conversation. At the moment of the soldiers’ entrance I was in the basement with the sick. Hearing that looting was taking place, and that they were demanding that people hand over jewelry, I ran to the kitchen to hide my ring. When I returned to the basements after some time, I found only the sick. The medical and sanitary personnel had already been led out, apart from four women and a few men - workers who had hidden. The following remained: J.[...] - a nurse, (I don’t know her surname, she is dead), a servant named Bronisława Mazurkiewicz (currently residing in Warsaw), Apolonia Kania (residing in Warsaw, in the Praga district), Aleksandra Barcikowska (residing in Szczecinek, District Hospital), Danka - a nurse (I don’t remember her surname), Borowiecki - a caretaker (currently residing in Warsaw), Czesław Stefański – the stoker’s son (currently residing in Warsaw), and Puchalska - an X-ray operator and doctor’s wife (I don’t know her address). At that time, the remaining wounded and sick were located partly on the ground floor, but mostly in the basement. There were around 80 sick. After leading the personnel out, as I later learned, to Zieleniak, the soldiers looted the Institute storehouses, the workers’ flats, and things belonging to the sick. Over the entire night of 5 and 6 August, groups of drunk soldiers wandered around the area, drinking alcohol, demolishing the medical equipment, tables, chairs, tearing bags of sugar and flour, destroying the pharmacy. I saw them drinking denatured spirit and ether. At night, I mostly stayed in the basements. I saw how in the basement a few soldiers committed rape on a sick woman who had been staying in the Radium Institute already before the uprising.
I don’t know her surname. I know that she came to the Radium Institute from Komorowo. On the next day she told me that the soldiers had tormented her, one of them had given her some injections, she showed me bruises and signs of beating on her body. She was shot on 19 August in the area of the school adjacent to Zieleniak. I heard that on that night many women had been raped by soldiers, among others J.[...], the nurse.
During the day of 6 August, the soldiers stayed in the area of the Institute, around 4.00 - 5.00 p.m. Our workers who were hiding told me that a group of soldiers went to the sick lying on the ground floor. I heard shots after a moment. I didn’t see the corpses of the executed. Five or six wounded men and a few sick were on the ground floor. I saw how a soldier in the basement was shooting at the men hiding. He shot Stefański and killed an insurgent, whose name I don’t know. Because of the shooting, six people from the personnel and I hid in a flue in the boiler room. At that time, the soldiers set the Radium Institute on fire from all sides, and then they left. During the following days, groups of soldiers came to the Institute area looting the remains of the property and looking for men.
Hiding in the boiler room, I often heard squeals and desperate cries of women coming from the Institute garden. It was said in our group that soldiers were taking women to our area who had been dragged from groups of civilians led out from the neighboring houses in the direction of Zieleniak. Borowiecki said that he had seen a few corpses of men in the garden.
On 19 August, around 5.00 - 6.00 p.m., I saw a solider in a German uniform and a man dressed as a civilian (later in Puszków it was said that he was a doctor) in front of the window of the boiler room. He asked how many of us there were there and called for us all to come outside. Men from our group remained in hiding. The women took the sick and went outside in a group of 56 people. Three sick women, not being able to walk, remained in the basement. We carried one out on a blanket. While in the garden, I heard shots in the basement, and then soldiers came out of it and set it on fire from the side of the exit, spilling a large bottle of denatured spirit and pouring petrol (which I recognized by smell).
One of the sick remaining in the basement was called Wojciechowska, I don’t remember the surname of the other one. Remaining in the garden, I started conversation with a young soldier speaking in Russian, I told him that in our group - apart from the sick - three colleagues and I were nurses, I showed him documents. After setting the buildings on fire, the soldiers put us in threes, the nurses with the sick woman on the blanket, and we were led along Wawelska Street. Around number 17, one of the “Ukrainians” gave an order to leave the sick woman being carried by the wall of the house, assuring us that a car would take her to the hospital. After taking a few steps I heard a shot, I looked back and I saw that the same “Ukrainian” who gave us the order to leave the sick woman, shot her.
After reaching Zieleniak, the young soldier to whom I had previously shown a nurse’s certificate, spoke with an officer standing by the entrance, and confidentially put me and three nurses with three children aside, then he told us to join a group of people gathered on the square. Around 50 sick people were led to the school located by Zieleniak. After some time I heard shots coming from the direction of the school, and then the soldiers chose a few men from the group gathered on Zieleniak, taking them to the school. One of the sick, a Ukrainian woman (I don’t know her name), came back from the school and told us in detail what fate befell the others. She had shown a Kennkarte and was released from the school. Other sick women, and Danka (I don’t remember the surname), the nurse with them, were led in in threes through the gate of the burned school building, where the soldiers shot them in the back of the head. The information about the execution of the sick was confirmed by the men taken to the school, who made a pyre of wood, placed the corpses of the executed women on it, drenched them with petrol supplied by the soldiers and set it on fire. Afterwards, the men were allowed to come back to Zieleniak.
I don’t know the surnames of those men.
I saw the smoke from the pyres burning in the school area. I don’t remember the surnames of the sick who had been executed, I know that one of them was the mother of Dr Świtalska.
At this the report was concluded and read out.