Warsaw, 21 April 1948. Judge Halina Wereńko, a member of the District Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes, interviewed the person named below as a witness, without taking an oath. Having been advised of the criminal liability for making false declarations, the witness testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Edward Szczepański|
|Parents’ names||Franciszek and Katarzyna, née Pietrzak|
|Date of birth||4 October 1907, in Warsaw|
|Education||five classes of secondary school|
|Profession||clerk at the municipal gasworks|
|Citizenship and nationality||Polish|
On 3 August 1944 a detachment of German police led me out in a group of civilians from the house at Matejki Street 7, and delivered me to the parliamentary hotel together with the men from this group. Other groups of men were also gathered there, and soon we numbered some 400. I don’t know the surnames of the detainees, although I managed to establish that there were a few university professors present. We were crowded into cramped rooms in the hotel building, and a few days later into the carpenter’s shop in the courtyard. Only after three days did we first receive food: dried cabbage boiled in water and a loaf of mouldy bread for 16 people. Once the mould had been removed from the bread, we found that only a piece weighing some twenty grammes was edible. One of the men who ate the bread and cabbage fell ill with bloody dysentery. The Germans took him away, and he never came back. We were guarded by the German police and the "Ukrainians".
The day after we had been placed in the parliamentary hotel, a sergeant in a green- coloured uniform with black lapel badges, a Czech in the German service (I don’t know his name), declared that the next day we would be shot. Following this statement, two men in our group went mad. The German police led them away, and we never saw them again. A few days later we were put in groups to work on the construction of barricades on the premises of Parliament. After two weeks (I don’t remember the exact date) a lower- ranking police officer (I don’t know his surname) took our group to aleja Szucha. We were led through Łazienki and Agrykola Street to aleja Szucha, to the Gestapo courtyard (aleja Szucha 25). A large group of SD officers met us on arrival in the courtyard. We were then segregated. This task was performed by an SD officer who checked our documents through an interpreter who spoke Polish well. We were divided into three groups:
I. the young, more or less up to the age of 40; some men in particular with calf-length boots were allocated to this group,
II. older men, aged above 40,
III. the elderly and infirm. I found myself in the first group.
All of a sudden Georg Kulig, the German commissar from the gasworks, entered to the courtyard from aleja Szucha and recognised me as a company employee. He approached me and said that it was no good that I was in that group, and that he was afraid that a tragedy might befall me. At this moment I realised that the group of younger men was to be executed by firing squad. Kulig reached an understanding with the SD men and after a while I was taken to an isolation cell in the cellar of the Gestapo building. Through a barred window that opened onto the courtyard I saw how the group of elderly men was loaded onto trucks. As early as 1945 I met a Czech man (I don’t know his name or address) whom I had left in the second group (middle-aged men) in the Gestapo courtyard. He told me that this group had been distributed within the General Government. However, I didn’t meet anyone from the group of younger men from which the gasworks commissar had taken me.
On the ninth day of my confinement in the isolation cell I was transferred to a general cell, where I found myself amongst a group of some 50 men. On the same day we were taken from the cell to the courtyard, and from there a detachment of technical police escorted us to the camp at Litewska Street 14. The camp occupied two halls on the first floor of the main building and on the ground floor. Only six or seven prisoners were present in the camp, among them the opera artist Cezary Kowalski. All were civilians who had been ejected from their homes. There were no criminal prisoners (dressed in striped uniforms) in the camp. I performed work within the camp premises. My longest period of work was in the kitchen. Our camp was sometimes visited by an officer of the technical police, Krüger (he had two or three stars on the epaulettes of his uniform). I know that Krüger was in charge of the detachment that burned down houses in Warsaw. I saw for myself how such a squad burned down houses standing opposite the camp on Litewska Street.
In October (I don’t remember the exact date) the camp was transferred from Litewska Street to Chałubińskiego Street, to the building of the Ministry of Communication.
At this point the report was brought to a close and read out.