On 9 November 1945 in Warsaw, the investigating judge Mikołaj Halfter heard as a witness the person specified below. Having been advised of the criminal liability for making false declarations and of the importance of the oath the witness was sworn and testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Feliks Stryjewski|
|Age||63 years old|
|Parents’ names||Franciszek and Wiktoria|
|Place of residence||Wawer, Urocza Street 6, flat 2|
|Occupation||locksmith in Państwowe Zakłady Samochodowe [National Car Plants]|
|Religious affiliation||Roman Catholic|
On 26 December 1939, at about 8.00 p.m., three German soldiers came to our flat (I was living then in the same house as the hairdresser Piegat, that is, at Widoczna Street in Wawer). These soldiers searched our flat (I guessed from the way they were doing it that they were searching for weapons). They also examined the shoes and coats of the men (it was snowing then, so they probably wanted to see whether the garments were wet, thus whether some of us had been outside). They did not take either us or anything from our house, and went away. We went to bed. About 12.00 p.m. that night I heard someone hammering on our door, and when we opened the door, a few gendarmes came in, but they were not searching the flat, they only told us to come downstairs, but they let us dress. We came downstairs, I mean only the men: myself and my three sons, 28, 26, and 15 years old. We, that is ourselves, Piegat, and those men who were in his flat, were taken to the station of the broad gauge railway, where we had to stand with our faces to the building. There were already several dozen Polish men there. It was very cold then – about 27 degrees below zero. We did not know what it was all about. We saw through the window that the soldiers were getting ammunition and a machine gun ready in the station room. We realised then that we were in some danger. We had to stand there for about an hour, and during that time we were forbidden to move, we had our hands behind our backs, we were also forbidden to talk. When my son, who was standing next to me, said something to me in a whisper, he was punched so hard in the head from the back by some German, that his face was swollen for a week. About an hour later they took us to Anin and told us to stand in II Poprzeczna Street, with our faces to the paling and our backs to the commander’s office. When we arrived there, many people had already been standing there.
How many people were gathered there, I cannot tell; I think there must have been some 200–300 people. We were, of course, guarded by the Germans.
From that street they were taking groups of people to the headquarters’ yard, then by threes to the corridor of that building, and then one by one (at least it was so when I was being taken there).
I would like to add that while we were standing in the yard, my youngest son asked my second son (we were standing together), since he spoke some German, to tell the Germans that there was a boy in the yard who was only 15 years old. My son Zdzisław (my oldest son, a physician, Jerzy Józef, had already been taken for interrogation) was at first afraid to speak to the Germans as he was afraid that they might punch him again, as they did in the Wawer station (as I mentioned above), but eventually he yielded to my son Jan’s request and told some older soldier that Jan was only 15 years old. The soldier examined Jan and brought an officer who also examined Jan, asked him how old he was and told him to step out of theline (the officer was from the Gestapo) and then walked my son home himself. On the way home (I know this from my son) he started talking to Jan in German, and when my son said that he did not understand, the officer said that he could speak Polish and started talking in Polish, asking my son about school and education, and emphasised he was not responsible for what was happening.
When Jan was taken away by the officer, the same soldier to whom my son Zdzisław had spoken about Jan, poked my son in the back with a rifle while walking behind him. Zdzisław said to me, “what does he want? I’m standing still”. A moment later the same soldier was passing Zdzisław and poked him again. Then my son turned his head to look at that soldier, and he took Zdzisław out of line, led him to the gate, called two German soldiers and told them to walk my son home, saying that he “is free”. Before he left the headquarters’ yard, my son managed to tell that soldier (he was also from the Gestapo) that his father was there. The soldier said gut, gut and later, when he was forming threes for interrogation in the commander’s office, he was pushing me back so eventually I was among the last six people. Then our six was also taken to the hall outside the administrative room of the headquarters, where three people had already been waiting. None of us was interrogated.
I would like to add that while I was still standing in the yard, I saw that the Germans who were standing on the top landing of the staircase were beating and pushing down the Poles leaving the headquarters after interrogation, and the soldiers (the same soldiers whom I later saw driving away to Warsaw) who were standing in the yard near the stairs were beating everyone and kicking those who were leaving. When I was already in the hall of the headquarters, I saw my acquaintance from Wawer, Benicki, over 60 years old, who was being led out from the administrative office after interrogation. When they reached the exit, a Gestapo soldier kicked Benicki from the back and Benicki fell. Benicki was short. Another Gestapo man took him by the collar, and yet another Gestapo man punched Benicki in the face several times, and then they pushed him down the stairs, where he was again beaten by the soldiers standing in the yard.
After some time a certain major left the administrative office, and one of the soldiers standing in the hall asked him about our fate (at least I understood it that way). The major answered genug. Then the major walked out to the porch and told all the gathered Poles that as two German soldiers had been killed, they were all to be executed. Then we were also led out to the yard, but we were standing apart from the rest (so none of our six was taken for interrogation to the administrative office). After the pronouncement of that sentence, the condemned people in the yard began to wail and plead for commutation of the sentence, promising that they would find the ones responsible for killing the German soldiers, and asking to be released to this end, except for some hostages. These requests were to no avail and I saw that they began to lead the condemned out of the yard in groups. We were kept in the yard until all the people were executed. Standing there, we could hear a volley of shots from time to time. Then a soldier and an officer approached our group of nine (consisting of myself, Krupka (a commune administrator), Bażyczak, Lessman, Olearski and some man from Lublin unknown to me, who – as he said – had been going to Warsaw and was pulled out of the train in Wawer, and three other men whose names I don’t remember), and the officer said something in German, and the soldier repeated it in Polish, telling us that we were extremely lucky as the major ordered that we should not be executed, but that we must bury our “comrades” before 12.00 noon, otherwise they would execute us and burn all those executed, and then told us to thank the major. So we tipped out hats.
They began to take people from the yard for execution about 5.00 a.m. on 27 December 1939, and they finished about 6.00 a.m. At that time we were taken under escort to the execution site, which was in Wawer, approximately on the same spot where the cross monument stands now. As they were leading us along Widoczna Street and Rubinowa Street in the direction of Zastów, and we were passing by the café owned by Bartoszek (if I remember his name correctly), I saw that he had been hanged above the entrance to his café. When we reached the execution site, I saw more than a hundred executed people there. The Germans told us to bury the executed and went away. I stayed there only as long as it took me to find the corpse of my son Jerzy Józef. He was already dead, lying face down on the ground, and had two wounds to his head. As I was busy looking for my son, I didn’t see the moment when Piegat and some other men sprang up. I learned later from the others that the hairdresser Piegat, Jankowski (I don’t know his first name, he is domiciled in Wawer at Widoczna Street, I don’t remember the house number; he has just returned from captivity) and Wasilewski, whose first name I don’t remember, survived the execution. Jankowski and Wasilewski were injured, but they did not die. After I had found my son’s corpse, I went home, as I was really exhausted. Later I returned to the execution site with my sons Zdzisław and Jan to bury the executed. In total, if I am not mistaken, one hundred and nine Poles and Jews were executed on 27 December 1939.
The report was read out.