Warsaw, 12 July 1949. A member of the Main Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland, Norbert Szuman (MA), interviewed the person named below as an unsworn witness. Having been advised of the criminal liability for making false declarations, the witness testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Julia Kornacka, née Chwiałkowska|
|Date and place of birth||23 November 1921 in Warsaw|
|Parents’ names||Antoni and Elżbieta, née Kot|
|Citizenship and nationality||Polish|
|Education||4 classes of vocational school for handicrafts|
|Place of residence||Warsaw, Kazimierzowska Street 25, flat 12a|
When the Warsaw Uprising broke out, I was in my house at Olesińska Street 7. From the very first moments our street was occupied by insurgent detachments, which were deployed in all of the houses. As a result, Olesińska Street was fired upon constantly from German positions in Dworkowa Street and in the house at Puławska Street 51. Although the insurgents withdrew from Olesińska Street already on 1 August 1944, our street continued to come under fire.
In the afternoon of 4 August – I even remember the time exactly, for I looked at the clock; when I heard the shots, it was ten to two – a detachment comprising two German officers and around fifty soldiers, “Ukrainians”, entered our street. They walked from gate to gate in Olesińska Street, breaking down gates that were closed with grenades, and ordering residents to come out into the street, all the way to the wall of the house at no. 1. Not all of the tenants obeyed their summons. However, I and my entire family, that is, my fiancé, my sister and her two children, and my father, walked out into the street. The residents of nearby houses in Puławska Street were already gathered near the fence and wall of the house at no. 1. I think – but I am not sure – that tenants from other streets, for example Grażyny Street, were also gathered there. The Germans, or rather the “Ukrainians”, ordered us to stand with our arms raised, holding our identity cards in our hands. In the meantime, a few of them stole valuables that some of those gathered had on them. Next, machine guns were set up opposite us and the soldiers prepared for an execution. However, at that very moment some German officer ran into the street and, speaking in German (I have a weak grasp of the language, but this I understood), ordered them to take the civilians to the basements of numbers 5 and 7. There were already a few dozen people in the basements, rounded up from other houses in our street. My family and I returned to our flat, located in the basement of the house at no. 7. I got through to our room. The windows of the room and kitchen opened onto the courtyard. Initially, the Germans threw grenades into the kitchen, which was located closer to the staircase. The force with which the bombs exploded caused me to fall to the ground and lose consciousness briefly. Two elderly women fell on top of me.
I don’t know whether the Germans threw grenades into the room as well.
I regained consciousness when my fiancé dragged me out from under the bodies of the two women who had fallen on top of me; he told me to escape through the window. I ran out into the stairwell, and from there – together with my fiancé (presently my husband) – we passed through the attic, and then through a hole smashed in the wall to the next-door tenement on Grażyny Street. While running along the stairs, I kept hearing explosions in the basement.
I don’t know how many people perished in this execution. However, I do know that in the spring of 1945 the Polish Red Cross carried out an exhumation in this area. Some 150 whole bodies were recovered from the basements of the houses at nos. 5 and 7.
In addition, there were bones scattered throughout the basements, and also charred human remains. For this reason I think that some 200 people might have perished in both basements.
I remained in the area of Mokotów controlled by the insurgents, together with my family, who had managed to save themselves from the execution carried out on 4 August 1944 in Olesińska Street, until 21 August. On that day we went together with a few other people, unknown to us, to Służew, where my husband’s brother lived near the Dominican (or so I think) monastery. We stayed there for a week, at which point the insurgents started attacking the monastery, following which the area came under heavy fire. I therefore left with my family on the Grójec train from Piaseczno (to which we went on foot); we traveled well beyond Grójec.
At this point the report was brought to a close and read out.