Warsaw, 8 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 Art. 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||Józefa Marczak a.k.a. Marczyńska née Kurzela|
|Names of parents||Jan and Franciszka née Dembkowska|
|Date of birth:||4 November 1897 in Warsaw|
|Place of residence||Krasińskiego Street 16, flat 42 (Żoliborz)|
|Education||three classes of Russian school|
|Occupation||head chef in the Cultural Centre for Labourers and Construction Workers, Szwoleżerów Street 2/4 in Warsaw|
I was in a flat in Elekcyjna Steet 8 when the Warsaw Uprising broke out.
On 5 August 1944 at around 10 a.m. I heard shots fired.
At that time, the fighting between the insurgents and the Germans was taking place far away from our area, behind the railway tracks, near Skierniewicka Street and the Wolski Hospital.
Soon after I heard the shots, a troop of twenty fully armed “Ukrainians” (soldiers in German uniforms, speaking Ukrainian or Russian) approached and started shooting at the gate and windows of our house. Then soldiers burst into the hall, yelling in Polish that all residents were ordered to get out of the house. I got out with my husband Kazimierz Marczak, my son Jan Leon, aged 17, and my daughter Teresa Józefa, aged 12.
A group of residents of our house numbering from forty to fifty persons, men, women and children, were herded to Elekcyjna Street. I then saw that houses at Elekcyjna Street 4 and 6, as well as the magistrate house on the corner of Wolska and Elekcyjna Streets (on the odd numbered side), were in flames.
By the fence of Sowińskiego Park, right behind the magistrate house on Wolska Street, I saw corpses of men, women and children covering the entire pavement, at points lying in piles of several layers.
I believe that those were the corpses of residents of the houses that were on fire.
I didn’t recognize any of the murdered persons. I am unable to specify the number of corpses.
Opposite the fence of Sowińskiego Park, on the even numbered side of Elekcyjna Street, there was a plot of land where a burnt-down house used to stand. I saw six or seven machine guns, set on stands. Our group was herded in the direction of Sowińskiego Park, where corpses were lying as well; by that time I had already realized that there was going to be a mass execution.
We were halted before the ground where the machine guns were standing, and at that very instant the first burst from the machine guns was fired. Whoever was hit fell to the ground, moaning and screaming.
I saw my husband and children collapse, I myself fell to the ground without being hit, and already on the ground I got shot in my left arm. I lay motionless on the corpses, pretending to be dead.
After a while the burst subsided, I heard heavy footsteps close to me and further away, single quieter shots and moaning. I figured that soldiers were walking among the corpses searching for whoever was still alive and then killing them off with a shot from a pistol.
I lay quietly for a long time, maybe for two hours, and when I opened my eyes I saw that the “Ukrainians” were still on the grounds. My little boy, who was wounded, crawled up to me. I pleaded with him to keep still and quiet, but he was in too much pain, having been shot in a lung, and some unnecessary motion betrayed him.
I heard heavy footsteps and a gunshot and then my son was not moving anymore. A burning window frame fell out of the magistrate house, I saw that the clothes on my son’s body had caught fire.
I moved away a little and kept lying until nightfall. Then I heard footsteps, someone kicked me, but I did not say anything. My neighbour, Mrs Matysiak (she was not even wounded, she only had some burns), got up and called me. I got up and I saw a German soldier who took me and Mrs Matysiak to the corner of Wolska Street, where around ten other execution survivors were already standing. Among them was Edward Kucharski, a resident of the magistrate house on the corner of Elekcyjna and Wolska Streets.
I saw entire piles of corpses near Sowińskiego Park from the side of Wolska Street. A German soldier gave each of us a piece of bread, and then took our group to Saint Lawrence Church, where civilians displaced from their homes in Wola were collected.
On 6 August 1944, together with a group of civilians fit for work, I was transported to the transit camp in Pruszków and from there to work in Germany. Before the transport left for Pruszków, a German soldier made an announcement from the pulpit that the wounded were to remain in the church. As far as I know, none of those who remained has ever been found. Kucharski told me that they had been executed and that their corpses had been exhumed by the Polish Red Cross in 1945.
A few men from Saint Lawrence Church, Kucharski among them, were pressed by the Germans into a group of workers sent to burn corpses at the execution sites. Presently, there are three graves in Sowińskiego Park containing the ashes of the people executed in the vicinity of the park.
I remember that the following residents of our house were executed in that execution in Sowińskiego Park which I survived: Stanisława and Witold Kaliński; Stefan and Kalina Gewart with their son Krzysztof and Mr Gewart’s mother; Weronika Morawska with three children and her sister; Mr and Mrs Pakuła with two children; Mrs Boguszewska with her daughter; Mrs Nowakowska with her child; Mr and Mrs Nowakowski with their child; Michalina Marcelewicz with her mother; Mrs Dukowska with her daughter; Mrs. Fitas with two children and her mother.
At that the report was concluded and read out.