Warsaw, 27 May 1946. The investigating judge Halina Wereńko, delegated to the Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland, 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||Władysław Szarejko|
|Parents’ names||Ludwik and Teresa née Chojnacka|
|Date of birth||16 October 1893 in Riga (Latvia)|
|Education||seven classes of an elementary school|
|Place of residence||Anin, Bałtycka Street 17, flat 3|
|Religious affiliation||Roman Catholic|
Before the war of 1939, I had worked in Zakłady Amunicyjne “Pocisk” [the “Bullet” Ammunition Plant] in the Praga district of Warsaw, and I had lived in Anin at V Poprzeczna 4/5 Street in Kosmulska’s house. When the Warsaw area was seized by the Germans in 1939, I was not working anywhere.
On 26 December 1939, at 4.00 p.m., I was in the flat of my former lodger Zygfryd Jabłoński at Piłsudskiego Street, I don’t remember the house number, in Klukowa’s house. My wife and our little daughter were with me there. About 8.00 p.m. four German soldiers in green uniforms with gold epaulets came in. The Germans ordered the men to go out – as they said – for a moment. Jabłoński and I left the flat, and women stayed inside. In front of the house there was already a host of men, and the Germans joined us to them. We stood in the street while the Germans were bringing new men from adjacent houses.
How many people there were, I cannot tell. It was quite dark. I don’t know whether we were taken by German soldiers or gendarmes, but I think they were from the Gendarmerie.
After two–three hours, a group of about 180 people were divided into twos. There was one man left after that, and a German kicked him and told him to run home. I don’t remember the name of that man. Late at night, about 12.00 p.m. or 1.00 a.m., we were taken to Wawer under the escort of German soldiers or gendarmes, surrounding the pairs on both sides. We were told to stand by a wooden paling. As I don’t remember the exact spot, I cannot name any adjoining streets. I will sketch this place when I am in Wawer and send a copy to the citizen judge. On the sketch which was shown to me (the witness was presented with a sketch from page 10 of the files), the execution site, that is, the spot near the paling where we had been brought and where later the execution took place, is represented correctly. Only the adjoining streets are not named. I will submit such a sketch with street names within seven days.
After I had been taken from the house, but before I reached the paling on a spot marked with a number 7 on the sketch which was shown to me, I was not asked to produce my identity papers. As far as I could see, other men also were not asked to do so. The gathered men wore various clothes, some were in their underwear and some in coats. We were standing there in a throng, not in a line, and armed Germans were standing in front of us. The paling was made of wooden boards about one metre high. I jumped the fence, following the lead of Aleksander Sobótko, who did so first. Apart from us, some dozen men ran away. It was a moonless night, but it was not dark thanks to the snow. The Germans noticed our escape immediately and began to fire at us. As I learned later, Sobótko was shot while running. I was running in the direction of the Vistula river, then I turned and got to Grochów. It was still night when I got there, but I don’t remember what time it was exactly.
Later my wife told me that at 6.00 a.m., by that paling from where I had escaped, they executed over a hundred people. About 8.00 a.m. on 27 December, my wife and other women were able to go to a ditch dug at the execution site where they could take all the belongings of the executed after taking them off the dead bodies. Apart from those hundred-something Polish men executed, that night the Germans hanged above the main entrance to a café in Wawer, marked on the sketch with a number 8 (sketch on page 10 of the files), its owner, whose name I don’t know. On the following day the hanged man was buried in a ditch along with the executed Poles. Later that day the Polish uniformed police in Wawer uncovered his corpse and hanged it anew on a rope outside the porch. This time the corpse had a plate fastened to it which said that should someone take the corpse down within three days, a certain number of Poles would be punished for it. And so the corpse remained hanging for three days.
I learned all this from my wife when I returned home after three days on the run. Then I saw the corpse of the café owner for myself; I noticed he had his hands tied behind his back. Only then I learned the reason for the execution of over a hundred Poles on the night of 26/27 December. In the afternoon, a few Germans came to the restaurant marked on the sketch with a number 8, where they encountered bandits (the criminal element) who shot the two Germans. The above-described events happened in revenge. I also heard that the Polish policemen from Wawer had warned those Germans, who later got shot, that the restaurant marked on the sketch with a number 8 was frequented by the criminal element.
One of my neighbours in the house at Poprzeczna Street, Bakurewicz, was a photographer. I don’t know where he is now, he is not in Anin. This Bakurewicz was developing films of the Wawer execution for the Germans, who warned him not to give anyone prints under pain of death. Despite the prohibition, Bakurewicz gave me three prints: one of the ditch with the bodies of the murdered Poles, a second one showing the moment of the hanging of the café owner’s body by the Polish policemen, and a third one showing the corpse of that man with a white sign reading do not touch the corpse. Presently I submit only one photograph of the hanged café owner with the white sign visible. I cannot find the rest of the photographs, but if I find them, I will submit them for the records.
I didn’t know then on whose order the execution was carried out, but I have learned presently from the press that the order was given by Daume.
The report was read out.
[An envelope with inscriptions]
A photograph from the Wawer area is attached to the report of the testimony of witness
Władysław Szerejko of 27 May 1946, for the files no. OKMW II/1 in the District Commission
for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland in Warsaw.
[photograph of the hanged café owner]
[inscriptions on the back of the photograph]
Attachment 1 to the report of the testimony of witness Szerejko of 27 May 1946.