Warsaw, 19 May 1947. Member of the District Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Warsaw, Acting Judge Halina Wereńko, 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||Stanisław Feliksiak|
|Parents’ names||Jan and Anna, née Krauze|
|Date of birth||6 April 1906, Łódź|
|Religious affiliation||Roman Catholic|
|Education||Doctor of Zoology, University of Warsaw|
|Occupation||Director of the State Zoological Museum in Warsaw|
|Citizenship and nationality||Polish|
Before the outbreak of the war, I worked as an assistant at the State Zoological Museum in Warsaw (Wilcza Street 64). After I returned from a trip in October 1939, I came back to the museum. I don’t remember the date, but soon after I returned, at the end of October or at the beginning of November, the acting head of the museum, Associate Professor Dr. Tadeusz Jaczewski, was visited by a German police officer named Tratz, as I have recently learned from Associate Professor Jaczewski, who demanded to be shown the museum’s collections. Associate Professor Jaczewski showed him around for over an hour, but I don’t know the details of their conversation. A few days later, a truck arrived with German police officers and ten Jews. Among them, there was Tratz and a non-commissioned officer, whose name has not been determined yet. The police team began collecting the exhibits and scientific books from the museum. The truck came back several times, and I once saw it leaving fully loaded. As far as I know, the robbery of the museum’s collections could have been part of the Paulsen operation. As it turned out when we were trying to recover some of the exhibits from Germany through the National Museum, the collections of our museum were transported to the Haus der Natur. In 1939, the following items were taken away: several hundred books from individual laboratories, very valuable, four microscopes, a stereo microscope, a table magnifying glass, everything with a set of optical glasses, several hundred stuffed birds and skins, a collection of mammalian skulls, including an aurochs’ skull, stuffed mammals, including three bison, a wild boar, etc. When the war losses were being estimated, it was calculated that our losses amounted to 91 thousand zlotys in the pre-war currency. Already in 1945, I started efforts to recover the items stolen from the museum by the Germans. Associate Professor Jaczewski, who was participating in a military mission in the British zone, was to search for the collections. Thanks to the team of the National Museum, in May 1946, we recovered some of the exhibits from Salzburg. Then I informed Associate Professor Jaczewski and the National Museum that not all the collections had been returned.
As far as I remember, the following items are still missing: several microscopes, a stereo microscope and a table magnifying glass, many animal skulls (including the aurochs’ skull), a number of hunting trophies in the form of tusks and horns, which used to hang in the museum’s corridors, a stuffed crocodile, turtle, a large sea mussel, about 100 cm long; about a hundred birds, and some of our valuable books, including volumes on mollusks.
While the collections were being stolen from the museum in 1939, secretary Otto heard a German dressed in civilian clothes asking for an ornithologist, Dr. Andrzej Dunajewski, a museum assistant, who is now deceased. It might be assumed that this was Dr. Gunther Niethammer, a famous German ornithologist and a Waffen-SS officer, who, I believe, could provide more information on the ornithological collections.
At this point, the report was concluded and read out.