Warsaw, 22 March 1946, Acting Judge Alicja Germaszowa, delegated to the Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes, interviewed the person specified below as a witness. The witness was advised of the criminal liability for making false declaration and the gravity of the oath. The judge received the oath, and the witness testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Bronisława Mazurkiewicz|
|Date of birth||28 August 1910|
|Names of parents||Piotr and Balbina|
|Place of residence||Radium Institute of Maria Curie-Skłodowska|
|Religious affiliation||Roman Catholic|
I have worked as a nurse in the Radium Institute of Maria Curie-Skłodowska for ten years. During the uprising I mostly stayed in the Institute. From the beginning of the uprising, the district was in German hands, we only heard the sounds of fighting conducted in the vicinity.
On 5 August 1944, at midday, German soldiers numbering a few dozen burst into the area of the Institute from the side of Pole Mokotowskie. Initially, they stormed into the so-called scientific building, which is located from the side of Pole Mokotowskie. There were around 20 people in that building, partly from the personnel of the Institute, their families, partly people who had happened to take shelter there. I saw from the hospital building, in which I stayed, that everyone from the scientific building was led outside into a yard, then men were placed by the wall and were to be executed by machine guns directed at them, but then as a result of an intervention by one of the officers, it did not happened, but [instead] all the men, women, and children were led out in a convoy on Pole [Mokotowskie] in the direction of Zieleniak. Next, the soldiers stormed into the hospital building. They were all “Ukrainian” and drunk. At that time the seriously ill and wounded were located on the ground floor of the building, having been carried down by the Institute personnel, whereas the lightly wounded [and] other sisters were located in the hospital - in the basement. Altogether there were around 90 sick (men and women), the whole medical and auxiliary personnel of the hospital with families, and a few people who by chance were hiding there.
A few dozens “Ukrainians” with “rozpylacze” immediately stormed into the basement, ordered everyone to raise their hands and began a brutal inspection. They checked pockets, purses, took money, jewelry, watches. When a ring was found hidden behind the lining of the purse of one woman, one of the “Ukrainians” was about to shoot her and only abandoned this intention at our pleading. Next, they ordered everyone to come down into the yard with raised hands. All the men, women, and children were arranged in threes. All this happened very brutally, amidst shouts, pushes, a disorderly shootout, and when one man, the brother of a sick woman (I don’t know the surname) did not stand as was demanded, a “Ukrainian” ordered him to look at a number and fired a pistol at his head, shooting him dead on the spot. Eventually, one of the officers gave an order to “set the guns”, but another officer told everyone to go onto the street. They were led out in the direction of Zieleniak. Around 90 sick people (men and women) and eight people from the hospital personnel remained in the hospital area. Then, mass looting and breaking of the hospital property began. The “Ukrainians” demolished everything they found in their way. They were breaking tables, chairs, wardrobes, doors, destroyed medical tools, took the packed suitcases of the sick and the personnel, food supplies from the storeroom, partly took it and partly destroyed it, for example tore bags with sugar and spilled their contents, broke jars with confiture. They broke the hospital pharmacy, drank the spirit, the ether, the denatured spirit. This happened throughout the entire day and the next night. We all sat, partly on the ground floor, partly in the basement. At night, rapes of women started. One of the nurses (J.[...] G.[...], now dead) was raped publicly by a “Ukrainian”, in the corridor, I saw this myself. Another nurse was locked in a separate basement and the soldiers went there individually or in small groups for the entire night. I heard how they called each other to go there and spoke of their impressions. Apart from that, a sick woman, A.[...] L.[...], now dead, was publicly raped - when she tried to defend herself, a “Ukrainian” officer killed her. Afterwards, one more of the sisters was publicly raped in front of the sick, and two seriously ill women lying in the basement. Finally, they set the Institute library on fire. One of the officers stormed in then with the words: “There still hasn’t been an order”, and ordered them to put out the fire. During the daytime on 6 August, in the morning, new soldiers still kept coming, drank vodka, made inspections, took more valuable things that they managed to find. On that day, an officer burst in with an order in Russian: “Kill and burn everything”. He ran to the ground floor and started shooting there, next - killing one man and wounding a few others - burst into the basement and started shooting with a pistol. At the same time, the hospital building was being set on fire, the soldiers were throwing pieces of kindled cotton wool drenched in spirits into the basement window.
At this the report was concluded (stopped) because of the late hour.
Warsaw, 10 April 1946. The testimony is continued:
The basements started to burn. At the same time, the ground floor of our building was burning very strongly, the smoke choked us more and more, one could hear the roar of fire. One of the seriously ill, Janina Wojciechowska, who stayed in a bed on the ground floor, crawled down to us in the basement with a burned leg. She said that the “Ukrainians” had set the mattress under her on fire, they did the same with other bedridden patients lying on the ground floor. All of us staying in the basement, because of the increasing fire, wanted to go out of the building. However, all doors leading from the building into the courtyard were guarded by the “Ukrainians”, with rifles ready to shoot, and no-one was allowed out. A few people managed to sneak out, including J.[...] G.[...], Biernacka - ill, with a sister, Gineferowa, and others. None of those people have yet shown any sign of life. Over a dozen men escaped by sliding down a rope made of towels. There has not been any news about them. We, the rest of the people in the basements, numbering 60 (women and four men), hid in the boiler room, where despite the great heat it was bearable. A number of the people hid in chimneys. We sat there together, trying not to be heard outside, we ate biscuits, which some of the sick had with them. This lasted a couple of days.
On 9 or 10 August, the “Ukrainians” looked through the windows into the basements again, we heard the words in Russian: “Look, Vania, they’re still alive”, and then we heard again an increasing hum of fire, as if from renewed kindling. I have to add that the building of the Institute was burning very slowly and not completely, because of the reinforced concrete construction. We stayed hidden in the boiler room. At night, from time to time, I cooked soups for everyone. In that period, we often heard the imploring cries of Poles from the Marii Curie-Skłodowskiej Park (by the very building of the Institute) “spare my life” etc., shouts, shrieks of children and always followed by shots. It looked as though mass executions were being conducted in that park. We often saw through the window, from which a piece of the courtyard could be seen, how German soldiers were leading young girls individually. Imploring requests of those girls were coming to us from the stairs to let them go.
This had been taking place until 19 August. On that day, a “Ukrainian” in the uniform of a German officer looked through the window of our basement and asked what was there. When we replied that it was a hospital he ordered everyone to leave the building. All the women came outside then, and the men stayed hidden. Three severely ill women were among them, unable to walk. I carried one of them to the garden, when I went back for the two remaining ones, I saw that the officer killed them as they lay on mattresses. Then the bedding and the mattresses in the basement started to burn, I suppose that the officer must have pour petrol over everything. Afterwards, some other civilian men came with a big bottle of spirits or petrol and poured it over everything again, at the command of that officer. We were ordered to sit down in the garden, the officer then said that we would be executed as being sick, and therefore useless. I then approached the officer and said that there were many people from the hospital personnel, not only the sick. The officer then looked at my documents and a few other people’s. After some time, we were arranged in threes and led out under a convoy of the “Ukrainians” along Wawelska Street to Grójecka Street and to Zieleniak. I had to carry one sick woman on a blanket together with others. On Wawelska Street, one of the “Ukrainians” ordered us to leave her on the ground. Walking away, I saw that he killed her straight away with a shot from a pistol, then poured spirits over her and set her on fire.
When we arrived at Zieleniak, a group of people standing by the wall surrounding the square had already been there. There were also terribly many “Ukrainians” there. The “Ukrainians” from our convoy allowed us, the healthy with documents checked before, to walk away from the sick and to join the group of people standing by the wall. We walked away - four nurses with three children. The rest of the people were led in threes to the partly burnt-down building, where the school had previously been. Cries and shots were reaching us from there. After half an hour, one of the sick (I don’t know her surname) from the Institute came out of there, who had been released as a Ukrainian. She told us that all the sick brought there had been executed. They were led in threes to the threshold of one of the rooms and one of the “Ukrainians” shot them in the back of the head with a handgun.
On the same day, in the evening, the “Ukrainians” took a few men from Zieleniak to work in the school. Those men (I don’t know their surnames) told us after their return, that the “Ukrainians” had ordered them to place a few dozens corpses of killed women on one pile on a grate constructed specially from iron bars, then the bodies were drenched with spirits and set on fire. I saw myself then clouds of smoke coming from the school building.
On the next day, in the afternoon, together with the entire group of people from Zieleniak, I was moved to the transit camp in Pruszków. I was sent with a transport from there, I escaped in Piotrków.
Next, I worked in a hospital in Częstochowa, where I was found by the husband of one of the sick women from the Institute and asked to go with him to Warsaw to find the body of his wife. Thus, in early November 1944, I was in Warsaw in the Radium Institute. There I saw in the building, in the basement, on the ground floor and on the first floor, around 30 human corpses. They were only women with traces of burning. Most often, they lay on iron beds (which did not burn), in a number of cases, a skull separately, arms separately, legs separately etc. By the position of the beds, I could tell who the sick people were and give their surnames. In that way, I pointed out to the man searching with me the place where his sick wife, Janina Wojciechowska, had lain. In the same way, I recognized the sick Paulina Molin, Suchocka, and others whose surnames now I do not remember.
From among the sick who were executed in the school building in Zieleniak, I remember the following surnames: Maria Mańko, Stefania Dydyńska, A.[...] L.[...], Niedzielska, Stefania Gałka.
I don’t remember more at this moment, altogether there were around 50 sick women from the Institute.
In March or April 1945, an exhumation was conducted in the Institute area assisted by the Polish Red Cross. I was present there. From individual rooms of the scientific building, a dozen bodies, partly burnt, and a huge number of burnt human corpses were taken. All the corpses which I had seen in November 1944 were taken from the Institute building. The bodies were buried in a mass grave near the church of St. James.
Concerning the events in the Institute area during the uprising, the following can testify: Antoni Borowiecki, the caretaker (Wawelska Street 15), Czesław Stefański, the stoker’s son (Glogera Street 1), who had been in the Institute area until 10 October 1944, Jadwiga Kowalska, Apolonia Kania, Aleksandra Barcikowska - Institute workers, who went out with me (I don’t know the addresses) and Dr Józef Laskowski (currently residing in Cracow), who left the Institute on 5 August 1944. I can give other surnames on request.
I have to add that Dr Laskowski and director Łukaszczyk are moving to Warsaw in May this year, with the reopening of a part of the Institute.