Warsaw, 13 March 1947. Member of the District Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes, [Judge] Halina Wereńko, interviewed the following person as an unsworn witness. Having been instructed of the criminal liability for making false declarations and of the wording of Art. 107 and 115 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the witness testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Włodzimierz Cyryl Konstanty Starosolski|
|Names of parents||Mikołaj and Jadwiga|
|Date of birth||8 December 1889|
|Religious affiliation||Roman Catholic|
|Place of residence||Bytom, Prusa Street 36|
In 1944 I was the technical director in Franaszek’s factory and the chief of Anti-Aircraft Defence [Obrona Przeciwlotnicza] in the factory.
During the Warsaw Uprising, I was in the factory from 2 August 1944 on.
There were no insurgent troops or arms storage facilities in the factory. Insurgents carried out military operations from the empty neighbouring houses.
On the other hand, since the factory was richly equipped in sanitary and fire installations, and since the safety shelters had been expanded, civilians from nearby burnt-down houses gathered there, seeking shelter, from the very first days of the uprising. The number of people gathered there fluctuated constantly, but it could be estimated at roughly one thousand people.
The following factory employees were there, among others: Kazimierz Franaszek with his pregnant wife and small child, Kazimierz Rajewski with his wife, Eugeniusz Koskowski, Remiszewski with his wife and two children, Łoziński with his wife.
On 3 August 1944 at around 11 a.m., the first SS troops burst into the factory, having blown up the gate. The SS men were brutal, catching men from the office and the yards, looting film rolls and photographic paper.
A group of men and women they had caught, numbering around two hundred people, were taken away from the factory; the men were sent to demolish barricades in Wolska and Młynarska Streets and in Wolska and Karolkowa Street, under fire.
Then a group of thirty men in fire-fighter uniforms was released. The rest of the group was detained in St Adalbert church. What happened with that group can be related by the factory worker Smoliński.
At that time I was in the film division; I heard shots and I found Germans looting photo- technical materials.
On 5 August 1944, before noon, the SS men manned the factory, setting all the factory buildings on fire, with the exception of the Photo department located on the Skierniewicka Street side, which was only looted.
While setting the buildings on fire, the Germans were shooting the people who were getting out of them.
Coming out at a later time, I saw a few corpses in the main yard, namely the bodies of: porter Kosakowski in the porter’s lodge, and near the Photo department I saw a wounded woman, whose name I don’t know. She was doused with petrol and burnt alive.
At that time the SS men led around five hundred people, mostly women, from the factory grounds. As I later found out, this group was taken to the tram depot at Młynarska Street 2, where they were executed.
Janina Rozińska survived this execution.
At that time, I, together with the following factory employees: Koskowski, Remiszewski, Nowak, Kasprzak and others (fourteen people in total), were hiding in the cellars under the water station and in the conduits connecting that building to other buildings.
On 5 August 1944 at 5 p.m., I started to walk around the factory grounds; the factory was ablaze. I found no Germans. In the main safety shelter I discovered around five hundred civilians.
On 6 August 1944 at 5 in the morning I climbed to the fourth floor of building M, which was still partially on fire, from where I could see the entire factory grounds. At around 11 a.m. military trucks came into the main yard (I saw two such trucks) with groups of SS men. A part of them (around thirty) formed a semicircle in the main factory yard, and the rest were herding people caught in the street and in the factory [and] people brought out from the safety shelter.
I later found out that only those people who were near the entrance to the safety shelter had been taken to the execution. People who had been hiding deeper inside and who had not come out at the call of raus, survived.
The SS men standing in the semicircle were killing those brought to them, shooting pistols. I observed the execution from the second floor of building M, hiding behind a wall ledge. I could very clearly hear the moans and heart-breaking screams of the murdered people.
I don’t know the exact number of people murdered, it could be specified by Mieczysław Miniewski (residing in Warsaw, Koszykowa Street 60, “Hurt owocowy” [“Fruit Wholesale”]), who took part in the burning of corpses in the factory.
From my observation point I only counted forty-nine bodies; I saw the corpse of Kazimierz Franaszek.
The execution continued for around two hours. In the evening, together with twenty people, I hid in the factory in the sewage conduits, where we remained until 5 September 1944.
As I later found out, on 8 August 1944 the Germans took the civilians who were still alive from the safety shelter and herded them to St Adalbert church.
On 5 September 1944, I managed to get to St Stanislaus Hospital, where others, too, gradually managed to sneak in stealthily. I left the hospital on 22 September 1944.
At that the report was concluded and read out.