Warsaw, 1 February 1946. Judge Alicja Germasz, delegated to the District Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes, has interviewed the person stated below as a witness. Having advised the witness of the criminal liability for making false declarations and of the importance of the oath, the judge swore the witness in accordance with Art. 109 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
The witness testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Danuta Kemus|
|Date of birth||16 August 1924|
|Names of parents||Stefan and Anna|
|Occupation||hospital office clerk|
|Place of residence||Warsaw, Leszno Street 127|
|Religious affilation||Roman Catholic|
During the Warsaw Uprising I stayed at the Hospital of St. Lazarus, where I had been living with my parents and siblings in one of the hospital buildings since before 1939.
On 5 August, I was in a shelter in the basement of the building on the side of Wolska Street 18. The shelter consisted of three basements, about 200 people were hiding inside it. They were residents of the hospital buildings and tenants of neighbouring houses on Wolska Street, all of them simple civilians.
There were no insurgents in the shelter.
In the evening, the son of one of the women hiding in the shelter ran in, bearing the news that the Germans had taken some men from the houses at Młynarska Street and were shooting them dead. That was when some of the men from our shelter escaped. The people who stayed were mostly women, children and the patients (in hospital clothes).
At about 8 p.m., the Germans forced the entrance door of the building at Wolska Street 18 and broke into the shelter. Three Gestapo men came into the basement I was in, pointing their guns at us. We could hear voices of more Germans from other basements and from the courtyard. The Gestapo men first asked if we had weapons, then they told us to hand over all of our jewellery and watches. We all gave them our belongings, one by one. It all took place in a relative calm, until they suddenly threw three grenades under the window. The light went out, the bricks showered down, there were screams and moans. We all rushed to escape through the second exit leading to the courtyard. Holding my 10-year-old brother by the hand, I ran through the courtyard and got into the flat on the ground floor in an adjacent building. Several other people who escaped from the shelter went in there as well.
I would like to mention that when I ran out of the basement where I had previously stayed through the neighbouring one, I saw many dead bodies and wounded people on the ground, I could hear moaning.
After fifteen minutes the Germans entered the flat, shouting: “Are you still here”, and told us to go out into the courtyard, yelling terribly. Once there, we were lined up against the wall of the building, one person next to the other. It seemed that we would be shot right away. I then walked up with my little brother to one of the Germans and asked him not to execute us (I spoke in German), that we were only civilians, in particular my brother, I said, pointing at him, after all he was still a child. Then, the German shouted: “This is not a child, it is a Polish bandit!”. He pulled my brother’s hand from mine and pushed him to one side and me to the other. Then I stepped back and I was able to enter the building. I met there a Gestapo man who spoke Polish, and he allowed me to go to the flat to take my belongings. I went there with him and took two dresses. I could take no more, because the house was on fire. When we left the courtyard, the German allowed me to go wherever I wanted. I went back into the building which the Germans had just told us to leave, and hid in the basement there, between the sacks of washing soda. There were two more women with me.
After some time, when there was silence all around, I went into the courtyard. There were about thirty dead people, men and women, lying in front of the building I left. It looked as if they were lined up in front of the wall and shot. I went on and saw a pile of human bodies, stacked one on top of another by the wall, in front of the burning building which housed the hospital chapel. There were dozens of people. I noticed a nun on the pile, who was still alive and begged for help. She died in my presence.
I didn’t meet any Germans. I went back to the basement. The next morning several “Ukrainians” came to our basement. They led us first to Hoser’s garden, where they told us to go with other people to the church in Wola for segregation. Then I was taken to Pruszków, and later on deported to Germany. I got to the Pentig commune, where I worked in a weapons factory.
I came back to Poland at the beginning of July 1945. This is when I learned from my sister that during the exhumation at the St. Lazarus Hospital she recognised the corpse of our little brother. I have not had any news of my parents.