Warsaw, 16 March 1946. Judge Stanisław Rybiński, delegated to the Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes, interviewed the person specified below as a witness. Having advised the witness of the criminal liability for making false declarations and of the gravity 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||Jakub Wiśniewski|
|Date of birth||25 July 1902|
|Names of parents||Jan and Maria née Tomczak|
|Education||seven grades of elementary school|
|Place of residence||Warszawa, Bema Street 65|
|Religious affiliation||Roman Catholic|
On the day when the uprising broke out in Warsaw, that is on 1 August 1944, I served in the fire brigade of the Lilpop, Rau & Loewenstein company. From the very beginning of the uprising, I was on duty in the factory. The Germans ordered our team to guard the warehouses located in this area, where they had various property brought from all of Warsaw – fabrics, clothes, furs etc. – in storage, and to protect them in case they were in danger from fire. Sitting on the roof the entire time and pouring water over it, I saw what was happening around. During the first couple of days the Germans were executing the entire population of Wola, whoever fell under their sway, men, women and children. I saw that happening in the garden near Sowińskiego Park.
Only on 6 August did the Germans begin to expel the people who fell under their sway from the city, directing them down Bema Street in the direction of the West Railway Station [Dworzec Zachodni]. They would usually herd two or three hundred people, while those who were tired and unable to walk were shot with pistols by the gendarmes, and their bodies were taken to a wooden shed located on the corner of Bema and Prądzyńskiego streets. The gendarmes allowed the weaker people to stay in a wooden house located right by the abovementioned shed, which was in good shape. On the following day, the Germans put up a sign saying: “Shelter for elderly and disabled”, and to this house they started bringing the elderly and weak people, as well as people carried on stretchers [selected from among] the groups herded towards the West Railway Station.
I saw a tall, thin priest leading his elderly mother by the arm. The gendarmes halted them, separated the mother from the son, took her to the wooden house, and the priest, who was pleading with them not to take his mother away, was brutally shoved by a gendarme in the back. The priest, weeping, had to go on his way alone. And so the Germans were gathering the elderly and the disabled there for a few days, up to 11 August. In total, around five hundred people over five days.
On 11 August, half an hour before midnight, two gendarmes approached that house and threw incendiary grenades into it. I could hear shrieks, moans and shouts from the inside. The fire was spreading quickly, however, and soon it engulfed the entire house. All the people who had been put in there compulsorily by the gendarmes were burnt alive, and those of them who somehow managed to get out of the burning house where shot dead by the gendarmes.
I did not know any of the German gendarmes who committed this crime, and I am not able to state their names.
The report was read out.