Warsaw, 9 March 1948. A member of the District Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes, Acting Judge Halina Wereńko, interviewed the person named below as a witness, without an oath. 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||Leopold Stefan Widymski|
|Parents’ names||Bogusław and Emanuela, née Schrmor|
|Date of birth||19 June 1888, Lwów|
|Education||Doctor of Law and Economics|
|Place of residence||Warsaw, Styki Street 11a|
|Nationality and citizenship||Polish|
|Occupation||Vice-Director of “Dal” Towarzystwo Handlu Międzynarodowego SA|
|Religious affiliation||Roman Catholic|
From 1941, I was a consultant at the Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Kraków. In August 1944, as the Soviet troops approached Kraków, the German authorities, in closing major companies, took documents and files to the German territory, mainly to Lower Silesia. The director of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dr. Heinrich Walter, entrusted the task of packing and sending the documents and equipment of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Kraków to Jelenia Góra to the Polish personnel: Zofia Kohn (currently employed at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Kraków), myself, and others. We carried out the order in the following way: we sent chests packed with stones and newspapers to Jelenia Góra, while typewriters, files and all accounting documents remained in Kraków, hidden in private apartments. However, the deputy director of the Finance Department of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a German named Dobber, opened the chests in Jelenia Góra and ordered the Gestapo in Kraków by phone to investigate the matter. The director of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Kraków, Heinrich Walter, was in close contact with the Gestapo. Everyone knew that a secretary from the Gestapo visited him every day and he made reports to her. He quickly solved the matter and on 15 September 1944, the Gestapo arrested my wife Małgorzata, Zofia Kohn, and me. We were kept in the Montelupich prison until 3 October. We were interrogated regarding the hidden files and we confessed to everything. The files and hidden typewriters were taken back by director Heinrich Walter. However, a considerable part of those files and typewriters stayed in Kraków thanks to the fact that in January 1945, when the Germans left Kraków, they did so in a hurry. Detailed information on this matter can be provided by Henryk Mianowski, currently the director of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Kraków (Długa Street 2). A few days after I left the prison, I received a notice from Juliusz Twardowski, which said that the Governor of Kraków, Burgsdorff, wanted to see me.
Juliusz Twardowski is now deceased. In 1922 and 1923, he was the chairman of the Commission for Trade Negotiations with Germany, and he concluded the first Polish trade agreement with Germany. For some time, he held the office of a minister of the Republic of Poland. He was a prominent economist; he published many works and was respected in scientific and official German circles in the pre-Hitler period. He was considered a supporter of economic cooperation with Germany. He worked closely with the Metropolitan Sapieha, Prof. Krzyżanowski, and [illegible]. He knew me from the period between 1922 and 1938, when he was the president of the Polish Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Vienna, where I was the director and, at the same time, the acting Commercial Counselor at the Legation of the Republic of Poland.
On 8 October 1944, I had an audience with Burgsdorff, which lasted an hour, in the presence of former Minister Twardowski and Dr. Knoll, a German and the Commissioner of the Economic Department in Kraków. The audience was held in a friendly atmosphere. Burgsdorff asked me detailed questions about how we had hidden the files, which he already knew from the case files. He asked why I had done it. I explained that the Germans were soon to evacuate, so as a Pole, I was trying to maintain the working tools for my colleagues. He confessed that he would do the same in my place. He informed me that he had ordered the Gestapo to release my wife, Miss Kohn, and me. He asked me not to do anything like that again and said he had intervened because of Twardowski, who, as my former superior, had fiercely defended me. Then, he declared that he knew me as an economist and he wanted me to write a memorial for him about the importance of Kraków as a trade center from the Middle Ages to the German occupation. He pointed out that I should write the memorial only for him, and not for official purposes, and that I could write honestly because he was interested in Kraków. Finally, he declared that I was to assume my previous post at the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, and that he had already given a suitable order to Heinrich Walter.
I returned to work, but I was being sabotaged by the management even in the office, and no one would talk to me. I wrote the memorial for Burgsdorff, completely alone in my room. I remained idle at the Chamber of Industry and Commerce until the Germans had evacuated completely, that is, until January 1945.
At this point, the report was concluded and read out.