Warsaw, 8 January 1947. Judge Janina Skoczyńska, delegated to the Main Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes, interviewed the person named below as a witness. Having advised the witness of the criminal liability for making false declarations, the witness testified as follows:

Name and surname Roman Kowalski
Date of birth 17 February 1901
Religious affiliation Roman Catholic
Nationality and citizenship Polish
Marital status married
Place of residence Warsaw, Smolna Street 34, flat 1
Education middle school
Occupation paramedic

During the first days of the Warsaw Uprising, on 2 or 3 August, the Germans took me, along with all the civilians from Smolna Street, to the National Museum. A total of several thousand people – men, women, and children – were taken there. Conditions at the museum were particularly tough; people slept on the floor, no food was delivered to us throughout the entire time.

On 4 August, the Germans released a significant number of people, leaving around 300-400. I was in the latter group with my son, Stefan Kowalski. We were told that we were hostages and that we would not be let out of the Museum. Our whole group was put in the boiler room. As far as I remember, around 30 men were taken from our group on 5 August. After a couple of hours only one of them came back – I don’t know his last name – he told us that the Germans had placed the entire group in front of tanks and rushed them to Bracka Street. I suppose they were taken to the barricade at the junction of Bracka and Widok streets. The insurgents fired a volley at the tanks, whereupon a dozen of the hostages were killed on the spot and another dozen gravely injured. The man who told us the story had managed to crawl into an entrance and survive.

On the night from 5 to 6 September 1944, the Germans organized a “court hearing” at the Museum. There were four defendants: myself, my son, the late Mr. Tomaszewski (deceased) and Mr. Henryk Popielewski (currently residing at Skaryszewska Street 10 in Warsaw). I was accused of having tried to provide plainclothes to three German soldiers who supposedly wanted to join the insurgents while at the National Museum.

The court hearing consisted of all of our money, documents and valuables being taken away from us; we were then told that we had been sentenced to death. We were “tried” by three Germans. An execution squad was immediately called in to carry out the sentence.

At that point, having nothing to lose, I made a deal with the commandant of that section of the Museum, who had just arrived. The commandant agreed that they would set me free for a certain number of wristwatches. The sentence was halted and we were heard again, after which I was allowed to go to my flat at Smolna Street 34. I brought back 14 watches, in exchange for which 23 people were set free.

The other men remained at the National Museum; as far as I know, the vast majority were later deported to concentration camps. Those deported included Wiktor Szantyr, whom I knew, and so I know for sure that he was at Oranienburg.

I have read the report.