Warsaw, 15 January 1946. Judge [Halina Wereńko] delegated to the Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes interviewed the person specified below as a witness. Having advised the witness of criminal liability for making false declarations, of the wording of Article 109 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, and of the gravity of the oath, the judge swore the witness.
The witness testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Janina Józefa Mamontowicz née Rybicka|
|Names of parents||Józef and Salomea née Jakubiak|
|Place of residence||Wolska Street 59, flat 9|
I was in my parents’ flat in Płocka Street 23 when the Warsaw Uprising broke out. From the beginning of the uprising there were no insurgents in our house and nobody was shooting at the Germans.
On 5 August 1944, a troop of around six armed German soldiers (I did not recognize their division) burst into our house, throwing grenades into flats and ordering all residents to get out (raus). I got out, holding my two sons, Zygmunt, aged 9, and Tadeusz, aged 6, by their hands, together with my parents Józef and Salomea Rybicki and my sister Eugenia Rybicka, aged 19. In the yard I found myself in a group of residents of our house, numbering around seventy persons.
Among them were: the Skowroński family numbering seven persons, the Paduch family (Józef and Rozalia with their five-year-old son Wojciech), Józefa Małosz with her sons Janusz, aged 7, and Wiesław, aged 5, Wojciechowska with her daughter Krystyna, Magnuszak with son Robert, Mr and Mrs Paprocki, Gutsman with son Czesław, Mr and Mrs Fil with their son, Mr and Mrs Śmigalski with their daughter, aged 7, Kołacz with a son aged 23 and a daughter aged 19, Mr and Mrs Bułyga, Mrs Ebel with her daughter Maria, Filipiak with a little daughter Hanna, Strauss with a daughter and her fiancé, Mr and Mrs Majewski, Mr and Mrs Janicki with two children, Mr and Mrs Żurek, Mrs Łagad, Mrs Szostkiewicz with her daughter and son. Apart from the abovementioned persons, there could have been a couple more people, whom I didn’t know.
The soldiers drove our group between the caretaker’s flat and the carpet hanger, and having surrounded us, they robbed us of our valuables. They put a machine gun in the middle of the yard and they fired a round at us. The bullets were flying from the direction of the carpet hanger towards the caretaker’s flat. I was standing near the entrance to the caretaker’s flat so I withdrew with the children into the hall and I collapsed without being injured. When the bursts of shooting died away, I heard single pistol shots. I saw that the soldiers were walking among the corpses and killing those still alive, who were moving or moaning, with a pistol shot or with a rifle butt. My son Zygmunt must have moved, because a German soldier who was already turning away from the place where we were lying, shot him two times in the temple, and my son died.
The soldiers set our house as well as the caretaker’s flat on fire using grenades and left. The house in which I was lying was burning, the fire was moving towards the corpses, whose clothes started to smoulder.
Right after the soldiers left, I got to my feet with my son Tadeusz, who also was alive and uninjured. From among the corpses the following persons also got up: my sister Eugenia Rybicka, Longina Kołacz, Stanisław Biernacki. Irena Szostkiewicz, daughter of the caretaker, stayed among the corpses, since she was gravely wounded and unable to escape.
With the group of execution survivors we went to the second floor of our house. In one bathroom there was a window overlooking the neighbouring property, the macaroni and chicory manufacturing plant in Wolska Street 60. I was the first to jump from the window, asking my sister to throw the child to me. But my sister, upset by what we had gone through, jumped herself, followed by Ms Kołacz and Mr Biernacki, and they left my son behind, who, although we begged him, would not jump and stayed alone in the burning house. Hearing the Germans yelling I could not go back for my child and I went into the production plant with my sister and Ms Kołacz. Approaching a corner, I heard German voices and my sister saying: “Please, spare my life, I have done nothing wrong”. To date neither my sister nor Ms Kołacz have been found, and we have had no news of them.
When I heard the Germans detaining my sister and Ms Kołacz, I retreated to the house at Płocka Street 27, hiding in a toilet. I waited until nightfall, and then I went to the basements of the house in Płocka Street 25, where I found a group of civilians hiding.
After a week we were detained by German soldiers who herded us to Saint Adalbert Church in Wola, from where we were transported to the transit camp in Pruszków.
During my stay in the basement of the house at Płocka Street 25, I learned from the residents of the house hiding with me – Jan Mszner, Uzdowski, Kolczyński, Władysław Pec, Kiewic, Mieczysław Tulik and others (I don’t know their current addresses) – that on 5 August 1944 a mass execution of civilians had taken place in the macaroni manufacturing plant in Wolska Street 60. Three thousand people were rumoured to have been killed there.
Ms Rajz, a resident of the house at Płocka Street 25, told me that a part of the residents of her house had been executed by German soldiers in the yard of the house at Płocka Street 23, and a part of them had been shot in the house at Płocka Street 27.
After I returned to Warsaw in February 1945, in the yard of the house at Płocka Street 23, at the location where the group I had been in had been executed, I saw traces of a pyre and charred human remains. Among the remains I recognized limbs and pieces of clothing of our house’s residents, so their corpses must have been burnt in that location. A bit further, by the wall of the house at Płocka Street 23, there was another pyre and human remains, among which the residents of the house at Płocka Street 25 recognized small items belonging to their loved ones. That is the location where the bodies of the residents of the house at Płocka Street 25, who had been executed in the yard of our house, must have been burnt. Presently the remains have been collected and buried in a mass grave in the garden adjacent to the macaroni manufacturing plant.
At that the report was concluded and read out.