Warsaw, 15 March 1949. Judge Halina Wereńko, a member of the District Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Warsaw, interviewed the person named below as an unsworn witness. Having been advised of the criminal liability for making false declarations and of the obligation to speak the truth, the witness testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Jan Masiak|
|Date and place of birth||2 December 1896, Powsin, Wilanów county|
|Parents’ names||Jan and Małgorzata, née Matyjasiak|
|Father’s occupation||farmer, some 12,5 acres|
|Citizenship and nationality||Polish|
|Education||three classes of elementary school|
|Occupation||trader (shop proprietor)|
|Place of residence||Warsaw, Olesińska Street 8, flat 2|
When the Warsaw Uprising broke out, I was in my home at Olesińska Street 8. On 1 August 1944 the insurgents occupied the whole of Olesińska Street. I saw on that day that the insurgents were gathered near the houses at nos. 5 and 7, while the Germans were firing at them from the house at Puławska Street 51. On 2 August at around 10.00 a.m. a small group of five – if I remember correctly – German soldiers came up from Puławska Street to Olesińska Street. They set fire to the houses at Olesińska Street 1 and 2, after which they stopped at the house at no. 5, smashed the window in the barber’s shop, threw grenades into the shop and one of the flats, and then proceeded to the house at no. 7, where they hammered on the door of the cake shop, and subsequently went on to the house at no. 9, killing a man and wounding three other people in one of the flats – this was in the flat of the Sobolewski family, on the ground floor. At the time there were no insurgents in Olesińska Street and the Germans did not meet with any resistance, afterwards withdrawing to Puławska Street.
During the next few days I did not see any insurgents in Olesińska Street, however shots could be heard.
On 4 August at around 2.00 p.m. a detachment of German soldiers entered Olesińska Street; judging by how they spoke, they were mainly “Ukrainians”. They secured Olesińska Street – as I could see – right up to number 14, and then started to bring out the residents, starting from number 8, where I lived. There were no residents at numbers 1 and 2 – they had fled after these houses had been set on fire and burned down on 2 August. The tenants from nos. 4 and 6 were not evicted; I heard that the Germans threw grenades into these buildings, killing a few people. Henryk Stankiewicz (currently residing in Raszyn, in the commune of Falenty) was one of the residents from no. 4 who survived. The residents of the houses at nos. 8, 10, 12, annex no. 14, 9, 11 and 13 were led out into the street and forced into the basements under number 5, and when these became full – to the basements under no. 7. I found myself in the basements under number 5. Some 500 people – including the residents of the building – might have been gathered there. It was very cramped. The Germans, standing in the corridor, threw a grenade into the basement in which I was taking shelter; it exploded close to me. I heard screams and groans, and was wounded myself, lightly, in the forehead. I later learned that the German soldiers in the courtyard threw a few grenades into the basement under number 5. The people gathered in the basement tore the bars from the window and ran out into the courtyard, where they were shot dead. Suddenly, I felt a jolt and was buried under a mass of coal and wood. Later on, after I had dug myself out, I determined that the house had collapsed down to the first floor due to the explosion of a mine placed under the basement. I also saw that a second mine (a Teller mine) had been planted in the barber’s shop above the basement of no. 5; however, it failed to explode. (No mines were planted prior to 4 August). A few days later, I myself handed the mine which had failed to explode over to the insurgents. Many people perished in the ruins of the collapsed building, and many were buried alive. After more or less a week, I and the other survivors buried the bodies that could be recovered – there were around 50 – in two graves in the small garden. In the spring of 1945 the Polish Red Cross carried out an exhumation in this area.
I don’t know how many bodies were dug up.
During the Uprising I walked to the basements under no. 7 Olesińska Street for water, and therefore know that the Germans burned this house down on 4 August, throwing grenades at the civilians they found there. Together with the other people whom I went looking for water with, I saw the charred remains of some 20 people.
I stayed at Olesińska Street 5 until 19 August. There were a great many sick and wounded people in our house. Sometimes insurgents would venture through our area to their command headquarters at Grażyny Street 22. The Germans did not come up to our building, preferring to shoot at our street from the direction of Puławska Street.
At this point the report was brought to a close and read out.