Warsaw, 25 July 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||Jan Marian Rogalski|
|Parents’ names||Piotr and Stanisława|
|Date of birth||8 January 1924|
|Citizenship and nationality||Polish|
|Place of residence||Warsaw, Dembińskiego Street 2/4|
When the Warsaw Uprising broke out, I was in the Marymont district, in the house at Dembińskiego Street 2/4. Throughout August and in the first days of September, Marymont was being held by the insurrectionists. The Germans only occupied the Central Institute of Physical Education, the barracks at Gdańska Street, the “Blaszanka” (Metal Products Factory), the “Śmigłówka” (the Propellers, Wood and Metal Products Factory), the oil mill (subsequently abandoned), and the Gasworks School (abandoned in the beginning of September). The insurrectionary forces were small, and the fighting was largely small-scale. The Germans had not been fired upon from our house.
In the beginning of September (I don’t remember the date) I remember reading German leaflets in the Marymont area calling upon the civilian population to leave Warsaw. In the morning of 14 September 1944 the shelling grew stronger. I went with a few other people to the second floor, from where we saw the fighting taking place around the oil mill. Around noon I heard the sound of artillery fire and the clatter of tanks. At around 3.00 p.m. the door to our house was broken down, I think by a panzerfaust, and the stairs and cellar entrance caved in. Next, grenades were thrown into the cellar simultaneously from several sides. I heard someone calling from the door: – Raus, schnell! The people then started to exit.
Our cellar was a refuge for the residents of our house and for those from neighbouring wooden houses, some one hundred people in total, the majority women. Soldiers, who were talking with each other in Russian or Ukrainian, were milling about the cellar windows. I left with the last group. When I passed the entrance door, I saw bodies lying in front of the house, a dozen or so. A German officer (I didn’t recognise his unit) stood before the entrance, while soldiers armed with rifles and machine pistols stood near the walls of the house. The officer ordered all the men to the right, and the women to the left. The men walking to the right were shot at by the soldiers standing near the walls of the house. Since the shots could be heard from all around, I was unable to determine whether the people were being fired at from automatic weapons, or just rifles. I started to run through the square opposite the door. I jumped over the fence into the neighbouring property, and walked to Marii Kazimiery Street, where I saw Germans and withdrew. Until nightfall I hid in a bunker opposite our house. Near this shelter the Germans shot Tokarski, who had previously been hiding in the cellar of our house.
At night I returned home, crawling through the square. I saw more than 30 bodies in front of the house. In Dembińskiego Street I also saw a few single bodies. I saw more bodies the next day, when I was hiding in the house with one Wacek, a baker (I don’t remember his surname), who was also hiding in our cellar and had saved himself by playing dead. Together, we stayed in the house until November, I don’t remember the date.
After more or less two weeks I saw how a group of civilian men, escorted by German soldiers, were burying the dead. The majority of the bodies lying in front of our house were buried in a pit opposite the entrance.
During the exhumations some 40 bodies were dug up from various graves in this area.
On 14 September 1944, when the murders were being committed in front of our house, I saw that the neighbouring wooden houses were burning. During the next few days, the soldiers set fire to all of the other houses. They set fire to our house on 17 September. I didn’t see the unit that did this.
In November the baker and I left Warsaw, and I managed to evade the camp in Pruszków.
At this point the report was brought to a close and read out.