In Warsaw, on 27 March 1946, Helina Wereńko, regional investigative judge of the 2nd region of the District Court in Warsaw, delegated to the Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes, interviewed the below-mentioned as a witness. After advising the witness of the criminal liability for making false declarations and of the meaning of the oath, the judge took his oath in accordance with Article 109 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, following which the witness testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Roman Kazimierz Kamiński|
|Parents’ first names||Antoni and Elżbieta (née Szulkowska)|
|Date of birth||9 July 1906 in Warsaw|
|Occupation||Tailor by trade, without work|
|Education||Did not attend school; can read and write|
|Place of residence||Warsaw, Ogrodowa Street 50|
|Religious affiliation||Roman Catholic|
During the Warsaw Uprising, I was living at Wolska Street 143 in Warsaw, where I ran a tailoring workshop. Also living with me were my wife Julianna, née Majewska who was born in 1904, and daughter Elżbieta who was born in 1942.
On Saturday 5 August 1944, at around 10.00 a.m., I was with my family on the second floor, in my flat, when we suddenly heard numerous shots from the street. The windows of our flat looked out over the backyard. At around 3.00 p.m. I heard some more shots. When we heard shots for the first time at around 10.00 a.m., my wife grabbed our child and went to our neighbor, residing on the first floor. Later, I began cooking dinner and didn’t hear anything until 3.00 p.m., [and then], having heard shooting, I looked out of the window. It looked out over a garden, behind which was a passage to Jana Kazimierza Street. There, in the passage, I saw my wife lying dead with our child, as well as our neighbor Mrs. Koprowa from the first floor, dead, with two children. Apart from them, Szanda, the owner of a monumental masonry shop, also laid there dead. When I saw my wife dead I wanted to escape by the window, because it was too late to leave by the door. There were German military police in the courtyard with rozpylacze [submachine guns]. The soda drinks shop opposite our house was in flames, and the fencing was also ablaze. I went down to the flat on the first floor, with the intention of escaping through a window. A moment later German military police burst into the building to pillage it before setting it alight. I went down to the ground floor, and hid in a recess, behind a curtain. I was discovered there by one of the pillaging parties of Germans. They ordered me to put my hands up, and led me outside, where I was taken by other Germans. I said that I wasn’t a guerrilla, resulting in one of the Germans hitting me in the head with his rifle. [Another] led me to the burning soda drinks shop and ordered me to walk into the flames. I refused, and the German began pushing me into the fire with the rifle butt. I pushed it back with my hand, which lasted for a moment, until a German in civilian clothes came up to us [and] asked what the soldier wanted of me. I said that I wasn’t a guerrilla, to which the German in civilian clothes asked me: “Didn’t you hear them shouting ‘Raus!’ – come out of your homes? And why are you barefoot?”. I answered that I hadn’t heard the call to leave the building, and that I was barefoot because when I saw my wife’s dead body through the window I wanted to save myself. The German in civilian clothes then led me to the side where our building’s caretaker Stanisław Raczyński, currently living at Wolska Street 143, was already standing with his son-in-law (I can’t remember his surname); like me, they had been pulled out of hiding by the Germans. Military police with rozpylacze stood around us.
After some time the Germans directed us towards the Orthodox cemetery. We thought they’d shortly shoot us, but they led us around the Orthodox church and out through the gate, then again took us back to Wolska Street, where at number 129, by the Hankiewicz building, they ordered us to dispose of the corpses, to carry them to the piles [of bodies] in Sowiński Park. Near the Hankiewicz building I came across 20–30 laborers already taking the bodies away. It was nearly evening by then, about 4.00 or 5.00 p.m., when I saw the Germans leading a dozen or so men from the Hankiewicz building; I think they’d hidden there in the morning and avoided execution. However they were found by the Germans, led to Sowiński Park, and shot dead there. I also carried those corpses to the piles of bodies.
I collected the corpses together with Raczyński and his son-in-law, Kucharski, whom I’d lifted as a corpse from the execution of the residents of the municipal building, but who having survived joined us and cleaned away the corpses, as well as with others, whose names I can’t remember.
We carried the corpses to two piles, each 2 meters high, 12 to 14 meters long, 8 meters wide. There could have been over a thousand bodies, I’m unable to say exactly how many there were. We carried the corpses from in front of the Hankiewicz building, from Wolska Street near the net fencing bordering Sowiński Park, from the corner of Elecyjna and Wolska Streets, where corpses lay next to the building standing there. There could have been around 50 bodies on Elekcyjna Street. There were most corpses lying by the net fencing of Sowiński Park, on the Wolska Street side. Most of the corpses lying on Elekcyjna Street were charred. The Germans ordered us to throw the charred bodies into the cellar of the burning building on Elekcyjna Street, on the corner of Wolska, near Sowiński Park. We cleared the corpses away until 6.00 p.m. and then the Germans led us to St. Lawrence’s Church.
We cleared away the corpses around Sowiński Park for three days. On Monday, on the third day since we’d been thrown out of our homes, when the work of carrying the corpses to the piles of bodies in Sowiński Park was finished, the Germans led us to the Orthodox cemetery They led us into St. Lawrence’s Church, where they set us in a line and ordered us to light a cigarette, to kneel, to turn our heads the other way, and to say our farewells. We waited to be executed. We were kneeling like that for at least half an hour. My blackout applies to that time. I didn’t hear the order to stand up, but stood automatically when I saw one of the others standing. A German ordered us to finish the cigarettes that, before the order to kneel, we’d smoked halfway.
I’ve just remembered that apart from those already mentioned, Zygmunt Fryszke was also with me then; currently he’s in Warsaw. I don’t know his exact address, I think it’s Redutowa Street but I can’t remember the number.
Getting back to the description of events on 7 August 1944: after the execution that didn’t take place the Germans put us together with other Varsovians in the church, and packed us off with them to a transit camp in Pruszków, and from there to Germany.
I returned to Warsaw from Germany on 24 May 1945. Upon my return, I found graves in Sowiński Park. I never did find my wife’s remains. In our building’s basement I found one arm and a leg – and those fragments were buried in the Orthodox cemetery. Exhumations were conducted next to our building.
During the Uprising my father was at Sienna Street, in my sister’s flat. He died from grenade shrapnel. My sister, Eugenia Kamińska, residing at Jerozolimskie Avenue 37, told me that the Germans weren’t as cruel at Sienna Street as they were in Wola, that there were no mass murders.
The report was read out.