In 1949 in Radom, the District Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes with its seat in Radom, this in the person of a member of the Commission, Deputy Prosecutor T. Skulimowski, with the participation of the secretary of the District Commission, E. Rokicki, interviewed the person mentioned hereunder as a witness, without taking an oath. Having been advised of the criminal liability for making false declarations and of the provisions of Article 107 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the witness testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Zygmunt Glogier|
|Age||51 years old|
|Parents’ names||Maciej and Martyna|
|Place of residence||Sienkiewicza Street 12, flat 1, Radom|
|Relationship to the parties||none|
On 11 November 1939, I was arrested together with some 400 other people. At the time, the Germans detained representatives of practically all social circles, both Poles and Jews. This was the first mass arrest conducted in Radom and the vicinity. We were locked up at Radom prison. They treated us reasonably well, and only in the ground floor cells, in which representatives of the Jewish community were detained, were inmates subject to barbaric behavior. These cells had been stripped of all plank beds and benches, and so many people were crammed into them that the prisoners had to maintain a standing posture day and night. Every now and then, Gestapo men would barge into the dungeon and beat the prisoners with leather whips for no reason whatsoever. One of the functionaries, Pochluda, particularly enjoyed tormenting Jews, and I remember that he battered Mr. Hassenbajn, a lawyer locked up in one of the first-floor cells, with terrible ferocity. We Poles, located on the upper stories of the prison, were considered more as hostages. We were allowed to receive food, and some of us even had visits. The Germans started releasing us after some 10 days. The first to be freed were the doctors, all of whom had initially been detained, while the rest of us were let go in small groups. Only a few special prisoners were left behind, namely the former senator Sołtyk, the former MP Grzecznarowski, the former Governor of the Voivodeship, Gnoiński, and the local pastor, Friszke. The latter were all sent to concentration camps. I would like to stress that none of the arrestees were interrogated. From what I could tell, the whole action was aimed to intimidate us. In December 1939, acting upon the instruction of the incumbent Polizeiführer of Radom, Katzmann, the Germans started to expel Poles and Jews from the city center. Since the deadline for vacating our homes was very short (two or three hours), the whole operation was accompanied by heartbreaking scenes, for the residents – not wanting to leave their belongings behind – often threw them out of the windows into the street. But while we Poles were at least given a deadline for gathering our property, the city’s Jewish residents were forced to leave everything behind – fittings, furniture, everything – and allowed only to take the most necessary items. Making full use of the occasion, the Gestapo men – declaring that a given flat was Jewish – would barge into Polish homes and plunder them of anything of value. In 1940, the arrests in Radom and indeed the whole district grew in scale, and ever more frequently we heard that the arrestees were executed in the Siczki forest, in the direction of Kozienice and Firlej. In 1941, in turn, due to the disclosure of some organization, a few dozen people were again detained. Of these, many were shot dead, while the rest were deported to camps. In the autumn of 1942, the Germans held public executions throughout the city. They set up gallows at three points and hanged a few dozen people on them, including women brought in from the prison. The victims were left there for public viewing for a few hours, and I also heard that youths were stopped in the street and ordered to assist in the execution. That year, the terror heightened. We kept on hearing that this and that had been arrested, and that people were being transferred somewhere from the prison. All this indicated that fresh arrests should be expected soon. On 11 November 1942, I was arrested once again. At 5.00 a.m., my flat was entered by a few Gestapo men dressed in civilian clothes, who after carrying out a cursory search and sealing the office led me out of the house, threatening that I would be shot if I tried to escape. On that day they also arrested my brother, Stanisław,
After we were arrested, we were taken to the Gestapo building at Kościuszki Street and placed in a barn. We were stood face first against the wall. There were a few dozen of us, women included. I saw engineer Kurcz, engineer Łuczak (both perished) and many, many others standing next to me. In the evening, we were visited by commissar Fuchs with his translator, who gave us a speech more or less along the following lines: “You are all guilty, and all of you will be interrogated. In particular, I advise the women to admit their guilt, for in this way they will be able to save their nearest and dearest”. He also mentioned the bacteriological war that the organization was purportedly waging. He didn’t mention the name of the organization. After he spoke, he read out 10 or so names, and ordered these people to step forward – their guilt, as he said, was established beyond a shadow of a doubt. From amongst my acquaintances, he called forward Doctor Metera, my brother Stanisław, engineer Kurcz, Judge Dankowski, and a few others, whose surnames I have forgotten. All these men were taken down to the cellars located under the Gestapo building. The rest of the detainees were taken to prison and placed in the Sonderabteilung [special unit]. The head of the Sonderabteilung was Koch, known for his cruelty. Usually, he would greet new prisoners with blows of his leather whip. But this time we didn’t have to pay our footing, as the beating was known to prisoners. The discipline in the ward was strict, and you would be beaten for even the slightest infringement. Food: sweet cabbage, coffee, and a piece of bread. The parcels sent by our families went through the hands of the SS men, and they would take the better items for themselves, giving us the remnants if and when they saw fit. Every day, we would be forced to perform so-called gymnastic exercises – jumps, races and frog leaps – in the secret courtyard. We were supervised by an SS man with a bullwhip, and he would beat and kick those who dallied. Already on the second day the first group was summoned for interrogation. The sight of these people returning from the examination distressed us, for all of them had been beaten with lesser or greater ferocity. The doctors detained in our cell used the primitive means at their disposal to help the sufferers, however they had no dressings, and organized medical assistance was not available to the Sonderabteilung. But this didn’t prevent the victims being summoned again. And thus a young co-prisoner from Góra Puławska, unknown to myself, the back of whose head was no more than a pulp, was interrogated – and beaten anew – repeatedly. I shared my cell with Doctor Głowacki, Tomaszewski, the administrator of the Borkowice estates – Weber, Kozera, whose entire family had been arrested at the time, some Soviet paratrooper, and others, whose surnames I don’t recollect. Every day in the morning, at around 5.00 a.m., Gestapo men would arrive from Kościuszki Street to collect people for examination. You would hear the clang of the door being opened and the sound of handcuffs, whereafter the cell doors would be opened and people called forward. Having been led out of their cells, they were stood face first to the wall and cuffed in pairs. Sometimes the whole group, some 10 – 12 people, would be cuffed together. This made it particularly difficult to get up onto the truck, for if you pulled your forearm, the handcuff would tighten on your wrist. Upon arriving at Kościuszki Street, the prisoners would be taken to the bathroom on the second floor, where they were chained to radiators and had to wait their turn. Sometimes it happened that an arrestee was taken there a few times and not interrogated at all. He only sat for 12 hours, listening to the groans and screams, and looking at the brutalized people returning from the examinations.
A few days after being arrested, I was summoned to my first interrogation. This took place in the room opposite the entrance from Kościuszki Street. I was examined by an interpreter, Manowski, and a red-haired man whose surname, as I later learned, was Schwiecker. Following the interrogation, which lasted a few hours, I was led out and chained to the radiator in the bathroom. Some two days later, I was summoned again. My interrogators were the same two men. During the examination they declared that since I didn’t want to admit that I was a member of the Union for Armed Struggle, they would be forced to apply repressive measures. After the interrogation, I was returned to the prison. When they took me to Kościuszki Street for the third time, the interpreter – Manowski – brought me to his office, cuffed, and then led me to the third floor, to a small room in which there was a dentist’s chair, with canes, bamboos sticks and whips lying around. I also noticed that a rope had been pulled through a ring attached to the ceiling, and it hanged right down to the floor. I was ordered to lie down, whereafter they started beating me with whips. Next, they cuffed my hands behind my back, connected the chain to a hook dangling from the end of the rope, and started pulling me up. This was done by Manowski, while at the same time Schwiecker would hit me with a whip, repeating after each blow: – Will you admit, or
no? After receiving a dozen or so strokes, I was let down and led to the interrogation room. There they told me to think things over by tomorrow, for if I gave a negative reply once more, I would be whipped again, only this time better than before. Next day I was taken to Kościuszki Street once more, but I spent the day without being interrogated. The same happened the day after. On that day I saw Mrs. Szczepanik from Radom, terribly battered and bruised, who told me that they had beaten her in the presence of her husband. Finally, after a few more days of rest, I was summoned to Kościuszki Street again, only this time I was taken to the upstairs room and received a few dozen blows, whereas they lifted me up and let me down in such a way that I got severely contused. After this interrogation, I was summoned to the Gestapo a final time. If I remember correctly, it was Fuchs who – sitting in the company of a few Gestapo men – told me through his interpreter that I would be sent to a concentration camp, however not to Oświęcim, which was a death camp. A few days after I was last interrogated by Fuchs, the guards summoned me to the transport cell, where Koch himself tied all the prisoners’ hands behind their backs. On the morning of the next day they drove us to the train station, where we were loaded onto a goods wagon and – forced to maintain a kneeling position throughout the journey – transported to Oświęcim exactly. Upon our arrival, we were greeted with a beating – SS men battered us with sticks while we jumped out of the wagon. In Oświęcim, before we received prison garb, the whole transport was ordered to undress – keep in mind that it was December 1942, and the weather was five degrees below zero – and run to the bath, which was located a few hundred meters from the spot where we had taken off our clothing. After a hot shower, we returned the same way and then received our prison clothing. My personal details were then written down at the Politische Abteilung and I was given number 83,824. I was incarcerated at Oświęcim for two years, whereafter they transferred me to Oranienburg, where I was assigned to the Heinkel factory, whence as an older inmate I was sent to the so-called health camp of Belsen. The latter was intended for those who were unfit for work, the elderly, and inmates from camp hospitals. The climate was terrible: rain, followed by sun. The mornings were frosty. And the living conditions were terrible. A hundred or more people would be crammed into a single barrack and forced to sleep on the bare muddy ground. Recidivists in the block, Germans, would systematically rob prisoners of food and personal belongings. In the morning, the barracks would be emptied and we would stand around all day, or walk to and fro across the yard, in turn getting drenched by the rain and drying off in the sun. The majority of prisoners didn’t have overcoats, while their jackets quickly became soaked with water. For this reason, the mortality rate increased dramatically, and not a day passed without a few or a dozen or so bodies being removed from each barrack. If you went to the so-called rewir [sick room, hospital – from the German Revier], you were done for, for the personnel would use truncheons to make sure that no one who was unfit for work survived. Therefore people preferred to die in the blocks. Two months before the liberation, we received a small piece of bread (called a sznytka [in the Silesian dialect]) and a watery soup twice a week. A typhus fever epidemic broke out, and people died in their hundreds. Bread rations were suspended just a week before the liberation. At the time, the entire camp was one enormous graveyard. There were instances of cannibalism. The camp was supervised by SS men from Oświęcim, who were led by commandant Kramer. When British military units arrived, they found 15,000 unburied bodies. A further 10,000 prisoners died of emaciation and exhaustion immediately after the Allies entered. Some 6,000 died because they ate tinned food – [too] heavy for their impoverished stomachs – which the soldiers gave us in large quantities. The camp had approximately 42,000 inmates, both women and men. It was a mix of nationalities – including a large number of Poles – herded together from camps all over the Reich. Another camp had just been set up next to ours. It was located in Bergen, in the former German army barracks, and had been partially filled with prisoners from various camps in the last weeks of the War. Both facilities were liberated by the Allies on 15 April 1945.